Countering Alleged Bible Contradictions IV

31 . Improvidence enjoyed

[Matt 6:28,31,34/ Luke 6:30,35/ Luke 12:3]

Improvidence condemned

[1 Tim 5:8/ Prov 13:22]

I believe that this is a case of both/and, as neither extreme is good. These teachings serve to balance each other.

MaryAnna observes:

"Improvidence enjoyed" Matt. 6:28, 31, 34 - these verses tell us not to be anxious. They don't tell us not to work for our living.

Luke 6:31-35 tell us to give to those that ask, and to lend without expecting any return. This again is not telling us not to provide for our own needs. If we didn't have it in the first place we wouldn't be able to give or lend it. And it doesn't say that the borrowers or askers are approved by God. The reward mentioned here goes to the givers, not to the takers. This is made obvious by verse 29, which says to turn the cheek to those who smite it. Clearly the Bible is not meaning that we are supposed to go around slapping people in the face.

Luke 12:3 says "Therefore what you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in the private rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops." What this has to do with improvidence, I have no idea, unless it is meant as an example of condoning of eavesdropping and gossip. That would be a really strange inter- pretation of this verse, looking at the context.

"Improvidence condemned"

1 Tim. 5:8 says we must provide for our own. (Doesn't say we need to be full of anxiety, just do it.)

Proverbs 13:22 - a good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children... Yup. --MAW

32 . Anger approved

"In your anger do not sin: do not let the sun go down while your are still angry." [Eph 4:26]

Anger disapproved

[Eccl 7:9/ Prov 22:24/ James 1:20]

I do not view Paul's admonitions as being approving of anger. In fact, the advice about not allowing the day to end while you are angry is anything but an approval of anger.

33 . Good works to be seen of men

[Matt 5:16]

Good works not to be seen of men

[Matt 6:1]

Here is a case where context matters. In Mt 5, Jesus is speaking in the context of being the salt of the earth. It is by allowing Christ to work through us that people will be drawn to Him. That is, one does good works to glorify God. In Mt 6, Jesus is talking about doing good works in a self-righteous sense, where one draws attention to self. Consider a very practical example - a Christian who serves by feeding the poor ought to do so humbly and quietly. They will eventually be noticed, if only by those they serve. The same Christian shouldn't be bragging about his work among acquaintences, where a "holier-than-thou" sense is evident. The former approach draws people to God, the latter repels them.

34 . Judging of others forbidden

[Matt 7:1,2]

Judging of others approved

[1 Cor 6:2-4 / 1 Cor 5:12]

This is a commonly employed 'contradiction' which also ignores context. Mt 7 is not dealing with judging in of itself, rather, it speaks of hypocrisy - judging others by standards that one does not live by.

35 . Christ taught nonresistance

[Matt 5:39/ Matt 26:52]

Christ taught and practiced physical resistance

[Luke 22:36/ John 2:15]

Since using a scourge to drive out the animals and overturn the tables is not as case of "physical resistance," the verse in John is irrelevant. In Luke, it appears as if Jesus is teaching the disciples that in their changed circumstances, self-defense and self-provision might be necessary. The very fact that two swords was "enough" indicates a restrained theme to this teaching. Mt 5 is where Jesus teaches that one ought to "turn the other cheek." This is a hyperbole used to teach a moral lesson - do not set yourself against those who have injured you (does anyone really think that Jesus would have us expose our chests and invite the mugger the shoot us?). In Mt 26, someone with Jesus struck out at the legal authorities. Here the context is different from that of Lk 22. I read this as saying that those who raise the sword against the legal authorities can expect to die by the sword (and of course, this in of itself is not necessarily a moral principle). Then again, in light of vss. 53,54, one cannot establish that this teaching goes beyond the immediate circumstances. That is, if the disciples had fought, they would have been killed, and Jesus had better things in mind. That's why he told them He could summon supernatural aid if need be.

36 . Christ warned his followers not to fear being killed

[Luke 12:4]

Christ himself avioded the Jews for fear of being killed

[John 7:1]

Luke 12 is a generalized teaching which states that one ought to fear God more so than men (read vs. 5). John 7:1 says nothing about Jesus being afraid that the Jews would kill him. It simply mentions that He avoided them since they wanted to kill Him. It wasn't His time to die yet.

37 . Public prayer sanctioned

[1 Kings 8:22,54/ 9:3]

Public prayer disapproved

[Matt 5:5,6]

Mt 6 (not 5) does not as much focus on public prayer as it does on hyocritical prayer - "And when you pray, you are not to pray as hypocrites." Jesus condemns the prayers designed to gather favor in the eyes of men. Nothing contradictory here.

38 . Importunity in prayer commended

[Luke 18:5,7]

Importunity in prayer condemned

[Matt 6:7,8]

The vain repetitions ("as the heathen do") Jesus speaks of in Mt hardly seem to me to be the fervant supplications that Luke relays. Put simply, there's a difference between fervant, real prayer and repetitive chanting or mouthing some memorized prayer.

39 . The wearing of long hair by men sanctioned

[Judg 13:5/ Num 6:5]

The wearing of long hair by men condemmed

[1 Cor 11:14]

Judg. 13:5 the Nazarite is not permitted to cut his hair. Num. 6:5 teaches the same thing. 1 Cor. 11:14 teaches that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him.

Yes, true. The Nazarites kept long hair even though it was a dishonor to them. 1 Cor. 11:10 tells us that long hair is a sign of submission. So the Nazarites submitted to God even though it meant suffering some shame, for the duration of their vow. They also stayed away from dead things and any product of the grape, I think. --MAW

One could also note that national customs furnish an explanation here. 1 Cor was addressed to a Greek audience, where long hair on men often indicated effeminacy and indulgences in unnatural vices.

40 . Circumcision instituted

[Gen 17:10]

Circumcision condemned

[Gal 5:2]

Gen. 17:10 God institutes circumcision to set His people apart. This is in the Old Testament where God would use a special people through which His Messiah could be brought forth.

Gal. 5:2 Spoken to ones who already believe in Christ but were not circumcised - if they go to be circumcised, they are going back to the law. This means they are denying the effectiveness of Christ's death... so they lose out on the benefits of being a believer.

This is not the only such verse. Paul says elsewhere that we should beware those of the circumcision, also calling them the concision and even dogs. This is referring to the Judaizers who were trying to get the believers to be circumcised as a condition of their salvation.. among other things. They were trying to bring the believers under the law, even though these believers had been previously Gentiles and not Jews.

Paul tells us - it is not that all who have been circumcised are condemned, but rather that circumcision is no longer necessary in the New Testament because it has been replaced by the cross of Christ. -- MAW

Indeed, here is another case (like #1) where the critic ignores the intervening events between the Scriptures cited. He/she may as well argue that the existence of a OLD and NEW covenant is a contradiction. And that exercise would be futile.