Jehovah`s Witness/THE LIVING WORD AND THE WRITTEN WORD
QUESTION: Hello. I have a very interesting topic here.
Mr Hepburn to tell you the truth, Im confused with biblical topics. I believe there are set of scriptures that can justify any interpretation, to be honest CONTRADICTORY interpretations.
There are scriptures used to prove man has a soul instead of flesh, there are these that are used to prove mas is only flesh plus an impersonal living force. There are scriptures used to prove there is a tormenting destiny for the wicked, there are scriptures used to prove theres no life and consciousness for the dead. Theres room for everyone.
As Im reading more books from theologians of universies, Im loaded with more and more contradictions.
Look, I believe there are many things that can be explained, but I honestly see contradictions because the Bible is written by people of different times and cultures and also DIFFERENT CHURCHES. Church of Peter, church of Paul, church of Mark, Luke, Matthew, John etc. Everyone has a slightly different view for Jesus. Right from the start there was division in thought.
Do you believe that ALL seeming contradictions can really be explained?
Maybe I could be wrong, but I tell you Im really confused and I see lots of contradictions. But I have a solution in our problem, that you will find interesting.
A christian told me that the Living Word is the salvation, not the written Word. He said the Bible is a map, a road for Jesus. We must not put it above Jesus, it leads to Jesus. So the contradictions are various human assumptions on religious subjects, they dont come from God. Not everything there comes from God. The important is that the Bible contains the plan of God for the restoration of mankind and a renewal of relationship with God.
I think its vain to discuss about what comes or doesnt come from God in there. There are many views and probably wrong or contradictory. These are human. But the plan that is contained in the Scriptures is divine.
Do you understand what Im trying to say? I think we have looked to much into the Bible as a book that contains absolutely no mistake, because we think everything in there is FULLY inspired by God. Apostles were imperfect men and had many disagreements. The absolute Truth is Jesus.
I think that even Derrick has fallen in the same trap. He gives a lot of emphasis to Jesus as the Ultimate Savior, but then he also gives a lot of emphasis to everything we read in the Bible as absolutely unquestioned truth. He puts the Written Word in the same fate with the Living Word.
Jesus said you read the scriptures because you think you have life from them. People give more attention to the written Word rather than the living Word.
I dont know if you get me. I think the Bible contains the Word of God and that is the plan of restoration. But I also think that it contains a lot of mistakes and contradictions and these are not God's words but human views and ideas.
Is this tragic? Should everything we read in there be 100% correct, or we should assume that only Jesus is the Truth?
ANSWER: G'day Christaras,
I can understand why people feel that there are contradictions in the Bible. Many Bibles are poorly translated due to theological influences and thus will render words differently, and the different renderings may lead to different understandings.
Personally I see no contradictions in the Bible at all. Any seeing or supposed contradictions have an explanation. And, yes, I do believe that everything
in the original writings
that make up the Bible are inspired. As I have said before we do not have a 100% exact word for word copy of the original writings. Even though (in comparison to he whole)some minor corruptions have appeared in many of he copies of the Hebrew, and Greek manuscripts, by careful comparisons we now have as accurate a manuscript that can be without having the originals to very from. Even the best manuscripts do not agree 100% of the time but these are on so minor details as spelling.
My personal opinion is that to many theologians gave started to try to understand the Bible form the wrong place. They start in the NT without having accurate knowledge of the OT. Understanding the OT and words used in the Hebrew is paramount to understanding many of the things taught in the NT.
It is also important to weed out the ideas that have have crept into the Christian theological thinking after the apostles died and the great apostasy happened. Many pagan ideas were slowly introduced into the christian thinking and this affected the way some words and texts have been translated and carried forward.
If you really want to understand the truth of the Bible you need to start at Genesis and come forward blocking out any theological preconceived ideas and looking at meaning of words and word usage, seeing how and what was taught and thus how the truth slowly comes to light
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Excuse me, I made a mistake.
I wanted to say that different writers of NT are accustomed to use a specific title for Jesus. These titles do not contradict, for example prophet, Son of Man, Son of God etc. Its not a progressive understanding for Jesus, Jesus is the cornerstone of NT. Critics are wrong to assume that Jesus was exalted to God after some time. People came from Judea to teach His Resurrection. He was already considered as the Divine Savior, thats why Christians didnt care about persecution and death.
You speak about OT, you say that people must first read the OT to understand the NT. I'll tell you the truth about what I think.
As I said I dont think that the Scriptures provide an exact answer of God about what happens after death, what makes up man, if there is a tormenting or blissful place etc. I think all the opinions come from human. The role of the Bible is to drive to the Living Word, in relationship with Jesus.
I know that most christians will disagree with this, but as I said there are contradictions in opinions inside the Bible.
I believe JWs are right on OT and Evangelists are more right on NT. This sounds strange but I'll explain. In the OT the Jews believe that man is nothing more than this flesh enliven by God's spirit(as most nations of the same time) and they have no hope for a life after death, except for a future judgement. They have no concept of tormenting places for the wicked.
But in the NT there are passages that support other ideas, a few of them contradictory. NT presents a dichotomous man, not just flesh. It also talks about punishment through fire. Many attribute this to the hellenistic era and influence, this was very early not after the death of Apostles. I dont say that NT writers have different ideas than OT writers, but they seem to add a lot of hellenistic influences.
The evangelists try to explain the OT problems with the famous "from a human perspective" argument. They dont convince me, using the same logic if Solomon talks from a human perspective, then Paul does too. The JWs avoid the NT problems using the OT.
I sincerely think that we mustnt look too much into the differences, I believe these are various human opinions and views. I think God doesnt teach cosmology, anthropology, theology in the Bible but Salvation.
If you disagree that there is no contradiction in the thoughts of NT writers with the OT writers about the nature of man and life after death, I can provide you some passages.
But I generally think this is not the purpose of God as I said.
G'day again Christaras
I personally know of no contraction in the Bible,especially on the make up of what a "man" is. The Bible is consistent all the way through on the matter. The NT writes did not change what was taught by the OT writers.
Understanding Gods purpose from the start (creation of Adam) tells us what
tells us that it is impossible for God to lie. All of the Bible is beneficial for teaching (2 Timothy 3:16
) and is in pure harmony. It is because of this harmony from some 40 different writers over a 2500 year period that gives me confidence in what is said.
It is important to know what the differences are between what people think. Yes God does teach what is required for salvation. Part of those requirements, is, that we must come to an accurate knowledge of God and of Jesus and serve God with truth (John 4:24
) Because God is looking for those that are willing to know truth and serve him with truth (John 4:23
How can we serve a God when we do not know him? What sort of God would he be to leave us wondering about the future? He has communicated with us via what is written in the Bible to explain what we are made from, why we are here, why there is troubles in the world, what his plan was to fix it, the steps taken so far in that plan and what the rest of the plan is.
So yes the Bible does provide an exact answer to what happens after death, and how that fits into his original plan for the earth and mankind.