Archive for November, 2009

Giving Thanks In or For All

Are we to thank God for everything– or in everything? In Ephesians 5:20 the apostle Paul describes giving thanks for all things as one of four evidences of being controlled by the Spirit of God. By contrast to being under in influence of alcohol, Paul describes those who are filled with the Spirit as: Speaking […]

To Forgive or Not to Forgive

If the Bible is full of “studies in contrast” and “truth in tension” rather than “self-contradictions and discrepancies,” another example is what the Scriptures variously say about forgiveness. Some passages indicate that one mark of a follower of Christ is to forgive those who harm us (Matt 6:14-15; Col 3:13). Other texts make it clear […]

To Do or Not to Do

Another combination of statements that could look like a contradiction shows up in the Sermon on the Mount. First Jesus encourages his followers to “let their light shine before others” so that others can see the good that they do (Matt 5:16). But then a few statements later the Teacher begins an extended emphasis in […]

Studies in Contrast #2

Sometimes the apparent contradictions of the Bible happen in such quick succession that it is apparent that they are intentional devices to provoke thought. For example, in Proverbs 26:4, the person of wisdom says, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him.” The very next proverb in vs […]

Studies in Contrast

Does the Bible contradict itself? More than a few people have written books or hosted websites to say that they lost their faith after seeing how often the Bible contradicts itself. Some have spent a lot of time compiling lists of apparent discrepancies in both Old and New Testaments. Collections of alleged Bible contradictions are […]

Inexpressible Remembrance

Today is Veterans Day in the United States. Yet we meet here on this website from all over the world. So what I’m about to say has no regional or partisan intent. Regardless of our citizenship, political orientation, or national history of conflict, we all owe the veterans of our own countries expressions of appreciation […]

Let There be Light… and Darkness

Have been thinking that one way to understand the Bible is to see the way it tells the story of light and darkness. The first quoted words of the God who brought something out of nothing and order out of chaos are, “Let there be Light.” Then God divided the light from the darkness in […]

What Unites and Divides Us?

Sometimes I wonder what people who don’t believe in Christ must think when they see how many different denominations show up on the church page of the newspaper. Best case might be, “Wow, looks like a fight, maybe I ought to see what their issues are.” Worst case might be that they stay away thinking, […]

Why Didn’t Paul Quote Jesus?

Critics of the church raise an interesting question about the credibility of the apostle Paul. The query sounds something like this: If Paul represented Jesus as he claimed, why did he rarely quote Christ in his letters? If we haven’t heard anyone raise this challenge before, it might surprise us to know that Paul was […]

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