Recently I was presented with a series of Bible verses as a way to present that either the Bible has contradictions or, AT FACE VALUE, they seem contradictory.
Perhaps people don’t understand, even in our own churches, how damaging to our faith it would be if the Scripture has errors. It would mean that we are worshipping an imperfect God. If God mess up with his Word, then his Word is not inherent; that means that he has lied to us; that means that we can add and take from His Word.
How can we follow errors? We would have to identify those errors and not follow them. That leaves the Bible open for all kinds of foolishness.
The most minimal suggestion of the inerrancy of Scripture is indeed a dangerous proposition. I want to make it clear that there are no such things as divergent ideas of Scripture; what we have are, in one hand, accurate interpretations of Scripture and, on the other hand, bad interpretations of Scripture; period!
The Bible is not the problem, we are. Our bad translations, bad interpretations and personal agendas have gotten on the way of The Message.
These were the verses I was presented with to prove that some verses states that God can repent and some that he cannot or at least appear to. I use the King James Version for all of these verses:
- For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Malachi 3:6,
- Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17
- And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people. Exodus 32:14
- And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent. 1 Samuel 15:29
- The Lord repented for this: It shall not be, saith the Lord. Amos 7:3
To question what we know about God and interpretations of Scripture is a healthy exercise. However, to question the character of God and the inherency of his Word is sin.
When I look at all of these verses I see the character of God; a righteous judge, inerrant and unchanging in who HE IS. But I also see something else; it does not push me to see contradictions; for in my own imperfection I am set in two things, the goodness and perfection of God.
These Scriptures should not be reasons to arrogantly question the inerrancy of Scripture, but rather, to look at the character of God in a more profound, intimate and deeper sense. When I look at these Scriptures I see the mercy of God on display. How can a perfect judge, judge imperfect people? He can, because he is also love and that love releases the quality of our God that keep us alive… MERCY!
The reason we are not consume is because of His mercies; Malachi 3:6 clearly establishes that reality. Mercy is the power of God to hold back the judgment that we truly deserve. Nothing releases God’s mercy more powerfully than true repentance; but in case repentance does not take place, God self imposed something called Covenants. It is because of His covenants that, after all that have taken place, God still have not given up on Israel, on you and on me.
So this unchanging God, for the sake of his love for us, has giving us a spirit of repentance that releases His mercy, that causes himself to hold himself back from releasing the judgment that we deserve. This unchanging God has self impose covenants that are sustained by, primarily, Him. This proves to be not a contradiction, but the rules that God imposed to himself to prove himself not as a lair, but to prove his goodness.
I can hear David saying amen to these words, for he states, “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17 (KJV)
God has proven himself not be an unfair judge or an emotional one, judging one way today and a different way tomorrow just because. But the consistency of his mercy has been seen since the beginning of times. Salomon put it this way, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” (KJV)
Look at the balance as God formally introduce himself to Moses,
6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. Exodus 34:6-8 (KJV)
You see words such as merciful, gracious, longsuffering, goodness and truth highlighted. But also a fair God who will, by no means, clear the guilt, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children up until the forth generation.
Beloved, thank God for his self imposed system of mercy. Who are we to question the way He does things? How dare we yell contradictions in Scripture? Do we not know that the Scripture is God’s Word? This is a Holy Book! Without the Holy Ghost it will be impossible for us to understand. Still, even when we don’t understand, we must face the reality that we know in part.
For now, let us remember the seriousness of this book as the Apostle John states,
“And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:19 (KJV)