How does a man/woman of faith responds to apparent contradictions in the Bible?
Published August 1st, 2016
What happens when you get stuck on two truths of Scripture that appear to contradict each other? Perhaps your antagonistic friend pointed them out, or perhaps you ran into them during your daily reading. Now what? A fool will just “jump ship” and abandon his faith in God's word. A coward will push it out of his mind and do all he can to avoid the issue. But not so a man of firm faith in God. This man has no fear that God's word will let him down and so boldly presses deeper. Isn't this what Paul demonstrates for us in Romans 9-11? Verse 1-5 setup the problem. On the one hand, the Jewish nation as a whole is accursed and a cause for great sorrow to those who love her. On the other hand, Paul recalls the nation's incredible privilege which includes adoption by God, covenants of grace with God and promises from God. How can these two realities both be true?! To answer this, Paul dives deeper and in the rest of chapters 9-11 goes on to explain the faithfulness of God and his word in the present reality, and in what yet lies ahead. It is not simplistic, and there is not a single verse proof text to solve it for us. This one requires wide reading of God's word (Paul references at least 11 different Old Testament books in these three chapters) and sound reasoning of the texts considered. The result, a glorious revelation of the wisdom of God that demands nothing short of doxological worship! Try it out yourself. Give a thoughtful reading to Romans 9-11 and see if your heart does not resonate with how these chapters end: 33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36 ESV The lesson for us is this: Don't miss the doxology in your life—dig deep when you meet biblical difficulties.
Main point summary
Despite the great advantages of the Jews, the present [accursed] state of corporate Israel gives me (Paul) great sorrow.
a I am speaking the truth in Christ—
I am not lying;
my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—
that I have great sorrow
and unceasing anguish in my heart.
For b I could wish that I myself were c accursed and cut off from Christ
for the sake of my brothers, 1 my kinsmen d according to the flesh.
They are e Israelites,
and to them belong
f the adoption,
g the glory,
h the covenants,
i the giving of the law,
j the worship,
and k the promises.
To them belong l the patriarchs,
and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ,
m who is God over all, n blessed forever. Amen.