I hate gossip, but so often we believe the gossip about God instead of getting to know Him for ourselves. People hear something they don’t like and it begins to act like a barrier keeping them from wanting to know who God really is. We can’t always believe what we hear. We need to get to know Him for ourselves in order to make an educated judgement about Him. Just because one Christian (or group) believes something, doesn’t make it right. With the coming of the internet, biblical research is at its heyday. Searching for one specific word takes seconds instead of a year of research. Where doctrines in the past might have been looking at one scripture and not another similar one, now we can look at all of them; where they could have been missing the full story, we now have full access.
And so, we interpret the Bible with the Bible; we get to know God in the context of God. Not taking any preconceived doctrines (gossip) to heart until we know Him fully and personally. People like to say that the Bible has contradictions, but if you are only going to look at it on a surface level, then yeah, it will look that way. Scriptures can seem contradictory if we don’t dig a little deeper to look for all the pieces. And what’s the point of starting a puzzle if you know you are missing pieces? God has put everything we need in His word. When we find contradictions, it is an invitation to dig deeper and get to know Him better. ‘For its the glory of kings to search out a matter’ (Prov.25:2).
Example Contradiction #1:
– Gen. 3:9 – ‘Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you‘
– Deut. 14:8 – ‘The pig is unclean for you; You shall not eat any of their flesh’
If we stop here, we will get confused because a pig is a moving thing… so can we eat it or not? However, the Bible says, ‘God is not a God of disorder but of peace’ (1 Cor. 14:33), so if we read those two scriptures, and do not have peace about them, we can guarantee we’ve yet to find the truth. When we keep searching, we find our resolve:
– 1 Cor. 10:23-31 – “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial…30If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? 31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
– Deut. 4:40 – If you obey all the decrees and commands I am giving you today, all will be well with you and your children. I am giving you these instructions so you will enjoy a long life
Now I’m not in a spirit of confusion, but in the Spirit of peace. I can see that He said we can eat anything, but that not all of it is beneficial for me or nutritious for my body. In order to sustain my health, I should follow his guidelines.
I often talk to my friends about what I’m reading because talking about it helps me understand it better. This friend did not like the idea of giving up bacon, and I don’t either! In fact, we had just eaten a meal wrapped in it! They pointed out the fact that some dietitians think its healthy to eat shrimp, pork, and other things that God calls unclean. But there is always a difference of opinions on earth… some say dark chocolate is good for you, then next year they say its bad. Make up your mind! And that’s the point I tried to make. We don’t know it all, and our opinions change as we learn more. If we believe God made everything, knows everything, and has our best interest at heart, then I should have no problem trusting his ‘opinion’ over a humans, who hasn’t come to a complete understanding of it all.
Example Contradiction #2:
Some people may think God wants to hide things from us. They read, ‘It is the glory of God to conceal a matter’ (Prov. 25:2) and they stop there. One of the acts of the flesh is defined as ‘suspicion or assumption’. We can guarantee that assumption will lead us the wrong way. The suspicion, that God meant He didn’t want us to know something, could make us quit looking. When we choose to do away with suspicion, and act in the fruits of the Spirit, we start to find other parts of the puzzle, leading to the truth:
– 1 Tim. 2:4 – God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth
– James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you
– Prov. 8:17 – I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.
One of my friends set up this elaborate scavenger hunt for his girlfriend. Each clue was a beautifully written poem giving her clues to the next item. She ran into people along the path that encouraged her and spurred her on, until she finally made it to the end of the hunt where her beloved presented her with his love, a proposal for marriage, and a wedding ring. I’m sure along the way there was mud, a little confusion, joy in the puzzle, excitement about what lies ahead and what she’d already received. He knew some people would distract her, or turn her away, so he went ahead of her and prepared their hearts, and they came into unity to help! I think of their story when I read this verse, and how God loves it when we seek him out. He guarantees us that we will find him, and all good things, if we follow the path.
– 1 Cor. 2:7-16 – we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began… these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us… we have the mind of Christ.
– 1 Cor. 6:19 – Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
If we have the Spirit of God, the mind of Christ, then all knowledge is accessible for us. God, the creator of everything, has given us access to his mind… the mind of the all-knowing. If all mankind truly sought him out over the ages we would have been living on Mars long ago and dreamed of even bigger things.