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Written by Pastor Mike Campagna @ http://www.aheartforgod.org
Original post @ http://www.aheartforgod.org/2013/11/16/how-can-anyone-believe-the-bible-when-it-contradicts-itself/
How Can Anyone Believe the Bible When It Contradicts Itself?
November 16, 2013 By
And there are other Scriptures of “contradiction controversy” that become stumbling blocks for people and barriers to them believing the Bible.
But I want to just develop these first two Bible verses for now. And let’s look at them.
HONOR AND HATE YOUR PARENTS?
Deuteronomy 5:16 reads…
“‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you in the land which the Lord God gives you.’”
And then now here is Luke 14:26. Jesus declares…
“‘If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother (and He goes on) and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.’”
So what is it then? Are we to honor our parents or are we to hate them? It seems confusing.
And if we’re only supposed to do one to the exclusion of the other, is the Bible not contradicting itself ~ telling us to do one thing in one place and then changing its mind and telling us to do the opposite thing in another?
Is God schizophrenic or something?
THE BIBLE NEVER CONTRADICTS ITSELF
Well, the first thing I’d like to say in answering this question is this: The Bible never contradicts itself. And we must always approach the study of it with this fact clearly in our minds. If, therefore, as it is in the case before us, the Bible seems to contradict itself, the problem isn’t with the Bible; the problem is with our understanding of the Bible. (If I were preaching this, I would restate those last two sentences for emphasis.)
Now really the bottom line of all I’m saying here is that “God is not a man, that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19) and for Him to command one thing in one place of the Bible and just the opposite thing in another place of the Bible would be doing just that ~ it would be lying. But “[it’s] impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18) so there must be something else going on.
And that something else in the case we’re dealing with is this. God wants us to do both. God wants us to both honor our father and mother and “hate them” at the same time.
Now someone might be thinking, “I thought you were off your rocker before this, Pastor. Now you’ve completely confirmed it.” To you who might be thinking this way, I say, “Hang on a minute. Give me a chance to complete what I’m talking about.” Deal?
HYPERBOLE AND EXAGGERATION
Again, Luke 14:26 says…
“‘If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother … he cannot be My disciple.’”
Now in making this statement, Christ in no way was negating the fifth commandment, “Honor your father and mother.” What He really was doing was He was using a form of language referred to as “hyperbole.” It’s a figurative way of speaking where one exaggerates to make a point. Kind of like saying, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse,” or “This book I’m holding weighs a ton.” This is “exaggeration” (a language form) to make a point.
And the point Jesus was seeking to stress by using “exaggeration” ~ by using hyperbole in Luke 14:26 wasn’t that we shouldn’t honor our parents. But what He was saying was that we should love God and be committed to Him so much that in comparison it would look like we “hated” our father and mother (and family, etc.).
Of course, we understand that our Lord must be first above all. The statement, “Jesus is Lord of all or He isn’t Lord at all,” fits here. And this is what Christ was emphasizing with His statement Luke 14:26 through the use of hyperbole. I hope I’m making sense.
So we are to both honor our father and mother and “hate them” at the same time. This is what God commands us to do. And the Bible isn’t contradicting itself with these seemingly opposite commands.
And it never contradicts itself for that matter. As I’ve already said, if the Bible seems to be contradicting itself at some point, the problem isn’t with the Bible; the problem is with our understanding of the Bible.
And I think I’ve given you a good example of this.
(The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible picture above is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license: click here.
You might also be interested in:
- Can a Christian be Demon-Possessed?
- How Can a Particular Christian Denomination Be So Sure That Their Interpretation of the Bible is Accurate When So Many Other Denominations Have Contrary Interpretations?