“Scripture is full of contradictions,” we have heard people say. They don’t seem to realize that scripture is a multifaceted diamond.
We are told : 2 Tim. 3:16, 17 “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Scripture does not contain teachings that are contradictory. God cannot contradict Himself!
If that is true, what do we make of the following:
Matthew 23:9 “Call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.”
Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
Luke 14:26 “If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father … he cannot be my disciple.”
God tells us that no one on earth is to be called Father, and then He calls a human being “Father.” And this earthly Father we must honor—and we must hate.
Words, words, words. Were we Angels we would understand these and other apparent contradictions, with perfect clarity. But we are human, so read on.
God is constantly teaching. Repeatedly in scripture He attempts to paint a divine concept with human words. He presents facets of the underlying concept using words that need to be linked to other scriptural concepts, not viewed in isolation from the rest of scripture.
It is as though God wrote each of these three statements on a separate sheet of paper: Statement A was placed on the floor in the far left corner, the second, B, in the upper right corner, and the third, C, along the bottom wall. Standing by each of the above three statements, the other two do not make sense.
But there is a balance point. If we move around the room, seeking spots where we can see all three and hold all three in our heart and mind, the Holy Spirit will move us to the exact vantage point and reveal the unity between A, B, and C. We come to see each in a new light. Suddenly, A makes sense, so does B when viewed from this point, and so does C. Now there is harmony in our heart and a profound new insight. We realize that it is very difficult to clearly verbalize the insight, but now we understand some of what God is saying.
When we encounter contradictory statements, we don’t stand on any one of them, but move around seeking spots where we can see all three– or more. The Holy Spirit can move us to the exact vantage point and reveal the unity between A, B, C….
How does one find the exact balance point? We don’t. The Holy Spirit finds us.