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Contradictions

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POSTED: August 10, 2008 5:00 a.m.

I am often amazed and amused by those who say that the Bible "contradicts" itself.

The plain and simple fact is this: When you consider that there are 66 books, and probably 40 or more authors, you would think that there would be conflict. But the many books that make up the one book flow together so seamlessly that it is miraculous. Clearly there is one guiding hand behind the entire book.

What happens so often is that someone takes a saying out of context, and then find another verse that seems to say something different. My first piece of advice for someone trying to understand the Bible is that you must understand this simple truth. Just as the three most important rules in real estate are location, location, and location, so the three most important rules in Bible interpretation are context, context, and context.

Take this one passage in Paul’s letter to the Galatian church. In chapter six he has two statements that catch you off guard. Verse two says, "Carry each other’s burdens…"And then three verses later he writes, "Each one should carry his own load." A skeptic would declare, "Clearly you have contradiction here." But do we?

Think about this. The Bible does remind us to do our own part. The Bible says that work is good. Adam was doing work before the fall. If I am correct, there will be work done in heaven. God has equipped us all to work, thus the call to "carry our own loads" remains in effect today.

At the same time, we have been instructed throughout Scripture to help each other. God wants us to love each other, to treat others as we would want to be treated, to treat others as if they are our neighbors. Clearly there is the call to "carry each other’s burdens." That is the Christian thing. That is the loving thing.

So as we read these verses it is clear that there is no conflict. Every Christian is to try and do our part. We are to work. We are to serve. But there will be times when someone is unable to do all that is necessary. They will need help. And it is fellow believers who are to step forward and offer that help.

Paul closed this particular section of his letter by writing, "As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of the believers."

That summarizes it all right there. When you have the chance, do good.

God give us the grace to do just that.

 

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