Is It "Some" or the "Sum"?
William C. Sexton
It has been said that one can prove anything by the Bible. If such were true, then the book would not be worth anything to man. So, the charge is false. However, if one will take a part of it, twist, pervert, and distort, then it may appear to be such a book. Satan, of course should be expected to so misuse the book, and we see him so doing in Matt. 4:3, 6 in his attempt to lead the Son of God against His Father. However, the should be surprised to find one who claims to be a "believer in the Bible" to so misuse the Bible. Nevertheless, I suggest that we would do well to be on the look out for such misuse in our day. There is a group of people, who claim to be Bible scholars, who have no reluctance to saying that the Bible contradicts itself. In The Interpreter's Bible, Vol. VII, page 8, we have these words, "There is also a strange contradiction in Luke's account of the differing reactions in the mind of the spectators. In Acts 2:6 it is said that 'the multitude gathered in bewilderment, for each heard them speak in his own language'; and in vs. 11, 'We hear these men talking of the triumphs of God in our own languages!' On the other hand we are told immediately afterwards that all were 'amazed and quite at a loss. 'What can it mean?' they said to one another." He who sees a "strange contradiction" in those words, seems to me, was looking for one, already having his mind made up that such was to be found there. His reading only confirms his preconception.
1. Many people want to live by only some of the words-those that satisfy them. However, we are told "The sum of thy word is truth" (Pas. 119:160). The KJV renders it, "thy word is true from the beginning." The idea is the same as that expressed by Jesus, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4). If the Bible is the word of God, then all of it harmonizes and when seen in its proper setting, it constitutes one complete whole-there are no contradictions. We need to be honest with ourselves, with the word of God and take all of it rather than some. If we feel that the word does indeed contradict itself, then we ought to be honest and say that we do not believe that it is the word of God. I truly have no respect for the man who claims to be a "believer" and at the same time speak of the Bible as having "contradictions." I deny that it does, or that one can be found that a reasonable explanation cannot be offered for the apparent discrepancy.
2. By gathering the "sum" of what the Bible says on any and all subjects and properly arranging that sum total, one can see that there are no discrepancies. Also, by this method, one can understand what God would have man do to be saved and be fruitful in the service to God. One can, and many do, draw false conclusions from passages. The best way to avoid this, I believe, is to gather all that inspiration has said on the subject, then it can be seen that it all fits together perfectly. Many take the "faith" passages, without their associates, and conclude wrongly that one is saved at the poi~t of faith before and without baptism, which contradicts James (James 2:24). Such need not be; neither is such proof that the Bible does contradict. It only proves that many will believe what they want to, and take only that which fits in with their scheme. By taking Acts 2:36-41; Gal. 3:26-27; 2 Cor. 5:17 and other passages, one need not be in the dark about how to become a Christian.
3. By complying with all that the scriptures say relative to becoming a child of God and worshiping God and serving Him, one is living by the word of God, and thus he is alive spiritually (Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 8:10-17). He can know "of the doctrine" (J4, 7:17). However, if one is not willing to do the will of the .father (Matt. 7:21), then he can and will be satisfied to continue in disobedience (2 Thess. 2:10-12). We will have trouble with saying and doing not (Matt. 23:3), but if we do riot try to do what we preach, then we condemn ourselves and are not deserving of being heard.
So, in regard to your activities and dour treatment of the Bible: are you taking the sum of it, or, are you trying to get by with reading, believing, ~and obeying only some of it? If the latter, then I pray that you will understand that you are stopping short of the mask, and when the "deeds" are judged, you will come up short. If we make that mistake, we will have an awful lone time to think about it, but no time to correct it. Which is it?
Truth Magazine XXI: 32, p. 498