We have all at some point in our Bible reading come across a passage or verse that says something which seems to contradict something we’ve read in another part of the Bible (if you haven’t then you haven’t been reading your Bible). So what do we do with these frustrating passages?
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Firstly we must understand that all Scripture is inspired by God and is true; so we approach the Bible knowing that if it is all true then there can be no contradictions. So all of the Bible is equally inspired by God, but not all of it is equally clear to understand.
So there are some very clear parts in the Bible and there are some less clear parts in the Bible. What we do with these less clear parts (the parts that appear to contradict) is look at them in light of the parts that are more clear (for those of you who like big words this is called The Principle of Perspicuity).
Here’s what I mean; There is as passage in Matthew 12:31 that says “So I tell you, every sin and blasphemy can be forgiven—except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven”.
So it looks like we’ve found a verse that tells us that there is a sin that can’t be forgiven, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Here’s what we do with it – ask yourself “is this what the message of the Gospel says as a whole?”, the answer of course is no. The message of the Gospel teaches that Jesus died to cover all of our sin and that all sin can be forgiven. So does this verse contradict the Gospel message? No, it simply means something else (we’ll have some fun looking at this exact verse in another post) and that we need to find out what it actually means/ who it is referring to. This is our starting point. In the coming posts we’ll have a look at some ways of exploring what some of the harder verses we come across mean.