When I first became a Christian I thought that I knew it all.
The Bible was without contradiction and
the church I attended was the closest thing to the first century church and
the most important thing, in fact that only thing that mattered, was that I saved souls and
not to worry about things like poverty, the poor, literacy, hunger, or even the environment since the world is going to be burned up anyway and the “Rapture” was coming at any moment and we would get out of here.
But I was wrong.
The Bible, while the inspired Word of God, is not without contradictions and
the church is not a “bit of Heaven on Earth” but rather it can house some of the most nasty, critical, and ungracious people in the land and
while I believe that Jesus is the center of the Kingdom of God and the center of the restoration of relationship between humans and the Creator, I have also come to see that the Kingdom of God is not just “up there” in the Heavens but rather it is right here and now in the world and Jesus’ restoration was to restore all of creation to it’s previous state. ultimately melding the Kingdom of God in Heaven and on earth.. And you and I play a part in it all.
And since I have seen that I was wrong I have changed how I approach things.
One way was how I used the Bible to support my particular point of view on any number of issues. For example there was a time that I would point to particular passages of Scripture and boldly assert the reason I was a Republican was because Republicans line up with God’s truth found in the Bible. Of course in many cases I was parroting back only what I had heard from conservative Bible teachers in church or on the radio. I didn’t really put the “support” passages in their true context. But that is how most of us in the Evangelical world operate.
Let me give you a real example of Bible verse twisting.
Psalm 139:14-16 is used by people in the pro-life movement to support the idea that we are created human in the womb and that abortion kills a human life. But that is not what that Psalm is saying at all. So we have to leap into an assumption and make it say what we want it to say. Conversely someone in the pro-choice movement could use the following passage in Exodus 21 to bolster their point of view…
“22 If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.” In some translations “fruit depart” is rendered “miscarry”
So we can assume from this passage that since that man that caused the woman to miscarry only needs to pay a fine and does not lose his life because God does not view what she was carrying as human yet.
Sadly, we do this all the time with any number of passages. And multitudes of lives have been harmed, damaged, or destroyed.
Perhaps we all are getting it wrong.
10 thoughts on “Getting It Wrong.”
So sad that my story is so similar to yours. I wonder how many people were hurt by my self righteous pursuit of “truth”? Unfortunately for so many “born againers”, their pursuit of understanding the Bible leaves them no time to really pursue understanding other human beings. People cease being people, they are just issues (i.e. gay rights, abortion, etc.) to be debated, causes to rise up against, a rallying cry to get more money! They de-humanize the very same types of people Jesus hung around with, and the devil wins. I didn’t see that when I was in the church, but the longer i’m away, the clearer it all becomes! When we make an idol out of the Bible, we end up on the wrong side of God!
Yeah! Once again, you validate that I am not the only one who feels this way. Would love to return the favor and have you “follow mine, as well. http://jesusseeds.blogspot.com/
I think the church in the USA needs to discover a theology of humility. We see things now dimly and all find ourselves trusting that God is gracious and merciful. Because if it requires me to believe the right interpretation of each verse of the Bible to be in the Presence of God, I am hopelessly lost still. A theology of humility frees me to embrace the mercy of God and release the legalism of having to be “right”.
“The Bible, while the inspired Word of God, is not without contradictions”? That’s just plain false and potentially damaging to so many people who may read your blog and are looking to God and His Word for direction, comfort and encouragement. Do people misinterpret the scripture routinely and take it out of context routinely? Yes, absolutely because of sin. But, without a doubt, the Bible does NOT contradict itself. That does not mean at all that some passages aren’t difficult to reconcile but, in the end, it is man’s limitations and sin that prevent seemingly contradictory passages from being reconciled.
In fact, if the Bible does truly contradict itself, why do you bother with it? If you believe God is perfect is it a stretch to think He would make certain that His Word to man is perfect? Is God perfect yet His Word is not? THAT would be contradictory. Your statement “The Bible, while the inspired Word of God, is not without contradictions” is contradictory. If God is perfect, than every Word that proceeds from Him is perfect.
Is God out to confuse us by giving us His Word and then inserting contradictions so we can never really be sure what is true and what is not?
No, God is not out to confuse anyone. Are you?
There are many small contradictions in the Bible. To claim that is not is false. But the main themes are intact. But this post is not about arguing about the Bibles inerrancy. It is about how so many use it to justify their own agenda and sometimes to even subjugate others and to condemn still others. And since, as you point out rightly, because we are all sinners, how can we know without a doubt that how we interpret a particular passage is the correct way?
No, there are not contradictions in the Bible – small or otherwise. It is absolutely false to say there are. Moreover, perpetuating that lie can cause folks truly seeking God through His Word to stumble. God does not contradict himself.
I understand the point of the post is not Biblical inerrancy however, that does not mean your claim that the Bible contains contradictions should go unchallenged – especially considering how serious a claim that is.
As far as your last question, I think you’re familiar with the Westminster Confession and chapter 1 of that document does a much better job answering that than I could.
And there are many scholars that would disagree with you. Peace to you.
Perhaps it would be easier to live with the contradictions if we were more careful in labeling the bible as “The Word”, when the bible itself uses that term for the Logos or Jesus. When people try to trap me into this silly inherency babble, I respond by saying that I believe the Word is without error. Of course I’m referring to Jesus, but it allows them to move on to other issues like Armageddon or liberalism.
I found your solution extremely practical…Jesus is the Word. And I love your comment too about them moving on to other issues very funny. Thanks for reading and posting too
I think the only thing there is to get absolutely right is to love God, and love others. Everything else, I believe God puzzled on purpose. It really is pretty simple. Love!!