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Archive for the ‘bible interpretation’ Category

face of skeptic when another bible contradiction answered

This is a look at another alleged Bible contradiction from Luke 9 according to the Skeptic Annotated Bible.

Today’s question: Who is for or against Jesus?

Those who are not with Jesus are against him.

He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.” Luke 11:23

Those who are not against Jesus are for him.

for he who is not against you is for you.” Luke 9:50

I think when we examine the passage carefully this will be shown to be not a contradiction.  Let’s take a closer look:

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Preti John the Baptist before Herod

Within the last six months I’ve looked at some alleged Bible contradictions in Luke 9.  I’ve considered “Did or did not the Samaritans receive Jesus?” and “Burying and Saying Bye to Parents in Luke 9:59-62.”

Here’s another question that allegedly shows a Bible contradiction: “Did Herod think Jesus was John the Baptist?”

Yes

Herod thought that Jesus was John the Baptist reincarnated.

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.  (Matthew 14:1-2)

But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. (Mark 6:16)

No

People were saying that Jesus was John the Baptist who had risen from the dead, or Elijah (Elias), or one of the other prophets. But Herod didn’t believe Jesus was John the Baptist, saying, “John I have beheaded: but who is this?”

Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him [Jesus]: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him. (Luke 9:9)

Here’s my thought on this Bible contradiction:

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contradiction

Luke 9:59-62 states:

59 And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” 60 But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.” 61 Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

From this passage the Skeptic Annotated Bible states:

Jesus won’t even let his followers bury their dead parents or say farewell to their families before abandoning them.

They also marked this passage as a Bible contradiction specifically for violating verses like Exodus 20:12.

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.

Is this a Bible contradiction and is Jesus really prohibiting His followers from burying and saying farewell to their parents?  Let’s take a closer look.

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question mark

I found an internet discussion surrounding a post that’s been generating some discussion and I find the post to be filled with a lot of things I want to respond to but don’t know if I have all the time to go through everything.  So I begin with a quote:

There are also times that Paul gave dated instructions in his letters, which we have to admit are not the inerrant words of God (2 Tim 4:13)!

According to this individual if one read 2 Timothy 4:13 we would have to admit that this is an example of a passage in Paul’s epistle that is not the inerrant words of God.  2 Timothy 4:13 is suppose to be an example of a passage that contradict the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.  The case is suppose to be so obvious that “we have to admit are not the inerrant words of God.”

Whenever people engage in doctrinal disputes it is imperative of Christians to think biblically and think through logically the arguments presented.  Sometimes that careful look at a verse require us to avoid rabbit trail and thus this post will narrow it’s scope only to the passage of 2 Timothy 4:13 and the examination of the logic of the immediate argument at hand.  So let’s take a prayerful closer look.

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Lego time puzzle

Did the Samaritans receive Jesus?

A site skeptical of the Bible says yes.  That’s what John 4:39-40 teaches:

39 From that city many of the Samaritans believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all the things that I have done.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to Jesus, they were asking Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.

At the same the same skeptic says the Bible teaches no according to Luke 9:52-53:

52 and He sent messengers on ahead of Him, and they went and entered a village of the Samaritans to [a]make arrangements for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because [b]He was traveling toward Jerusalem.

How do we respond to those who claim this is a Bible contradiction?

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Cole Thomas Expulsion from Garden of Eden

Two weeks ago I responded to a troll in a post titled “Troll on Veritas Domain: Jesus didn’t have any requirements about belief in Himself?”  Here in this post I want to tackle another point with the troll’s comment here.  I’ve already responded to the first half of his comment over there but I thought I take on the second half as a blog post in hopes that the following response would illustrate the importance of contextually driven interpretation in refuting an erroneous interpretation.

The troll have an interesting take on the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3.  In his own words:

in fact, in the garden, why was god pissed? what was he angry with? what was his first comment?

he was angry at adam and eve believing (because now they judged) they were not worthy to be in god’s presence! his only following comment was deducing why they now thought their metaphoric nakedness (ie insufficiency) … “ah! you ate from the tree, eh?”

Nothing speaks more of the height of folly of the ungodly gospel of self-esteem than to see this troll reinterpret the reason why God was upset in Genesis 3.  He thinks God was upset with Adam and Eve for thinking they were not worthy of being before His presence!   Our troll rejects the traditional interpretation that the reason why God was upset with Adam and Eve is due to their disobedience in eating the prohibited fruit.

But is our troll’s interpretation defensible from the text of Genesis 3 itself?  Let’s take a closer look.

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A Brief History of Old Testament Criticism From Benedict Spinoza to Brevard Childs

Mark S. Gignilliat. A Brief History of Old Testament Criticism: From Benedict Spinoza to Brevard Childs.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, June 10th, 2012. 186 pp.

The author made it clear in the beginning that the intended audience of the book was for “anyone who is in interested in the Bible, its history of interpretation, and the particular problems and approaches to Old Testament studies in the modern period.”  Thus book wasn’t just written for scholars and seminarians in mind but for the larger Christian lay readers although the author admits that as he writing this his inclination was to make the work more technical.  As a result the author himself explicitly explain that he needs to write this book with more of a biographical sketch of important figures of Old Testament scholars in light of the general public’s interests for human stories.  Thus the book is divided into seven chapters with each focusing on one particular modern Old Testament scholar.  I think the book might be more appropriately titled “A Brief Survey of Old Testament Scholars” instead, lest people think it is a survey of the history of Old Testament Criticism so no one is fooled by the title since some chapters focused on more biographical contents than descriptive details of the scholar’s academic contribution.  I suppose one shouldn’t really blame the author for doing so if he can successfully get the readers to know more about these scholars rather than have the readers be bored in seeing these men as another group of dead unknown Germans scholars.

Readers of the book will notice right away how early in the history of modern Old Testament criticism that it is driven by presuppositions and philosophies that is foreign to Scripture.  The clearest and worst example of this given in the book was Spinoza (although I don’t think the author intended to do that).  I was surprised to read about how bright Spinoza was but sadden to see how far he veered away from biblical orthodoxy even among his fellow Jews.  The book noted how Spinoza’s motivation in his approach towards the Old Testament was one that began with human autonomy and the assumption that reason is in conflict and above faith, etc.  While the other scholars the book survey is less overt than Spinoza in undermining the Bible nevertheless I would say one see in varying degrees the compromises and the import of bad philosophical starting points among various scholars’ approach to the Old Testament.

The author however makes it clear that he wants Evangelicals to have a greater appreciation for these scholars and their contribution even if one disagrees with them.  In that vein I appreciated the chapter on Julius Wellhausen and the author explaining Wellhausen’s documentary hypothesis clearly and simply for the lay reader.  I learned that Wellhausen’s formulation of his documentary hypothesis was in the context of his attempt to reconstruct the original historical setting of Israel in light of naturalistic presuppositions and not just merely to break up the Scripture into parts per se.  Although I have misgivings with the documentary hypothesis I think a strength of the book is the presentation clearly and accurately of what these scholars believed.

The chapters that really stood out to me were the ones on Gerhard VonRad, William Albright and Brevard Childs.  While I have been cautious and continue to be discerning when I read anything from VonRad (or anything that others attribute to VonRad), nevertheless I have a deeper sense of respect for VonRad the man and the scholar.  I never knew until this book of the courageous stance he took against the Nazis when he was a German Old Testament scholar at the universities.  His courage is inspiring when one consider the anti-Jewish climate in Hitler’s Germany.

It was also neat to learn of biblical scholars that was shaped by the polymath William Albright whose impact on Old Testament studies is his use of archaeological findings.  By far my favorite chapter was on Brevards Childs whose canonical approach has more use for Evangelical students of the Old Testament than some of the other approaches mentioned in the book.

I must say that Christians must read this book with discernment.  I think at times the author could have been explained more of the problems with some of the scholars surveyed.  Nevertheless I felt that all these scholars has things we can learn from; the biggest encouragement from these men lives was that I want to continue to be diligent in my study of God’s Word with all my mind, strength and soul.

I recommend the book, and rate it 4 out of 5.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Zondervan Academic and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

Purchase: Amazon

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