It is interesting that in debates over biblical truth, we so often hear someone try to refute someone else by saying, “Yes, I know what your verse says, but I have a verse that says just the opposite.” This seems to be especially common when the debate is over “Calvinism” and “Arminianism.”
When we analyze such debate tactics, we must either conclude that the Bible does, in fact, have contradictions, or that the Bible is truly consistent and must be allowed to interpret itself. If the first is true, then we have nothing and all debate becomes meaningless. However, if the second is true, which it clearly is, then the Bible is a complete presentation of all that God intends for us to know about Him. In some cases, we must work at the process of understanding rather than expect our English translations to just spoon-feed to us every nugget of truth that is there.
The truth is that there is no such thing as a passage of Scripture that “says just the opposite” of another passage. God, who is always consistent with Himself, would not, did not, and could not tell us opposite things in His Word. Such would be contrary to His very nature. If we think there is a contradiction, then the problem lies with us, not with the character of God. We are limited and finite. He is infinite and all-wise.
We must not attempt to negate Scripture with logic or even with other Scripture. Such is a fool’s errand. Instead, when we come across something that confuses us, we need to dig a bit and determine how the Scripture in question fits with the rest of the Bible. For example, in the
It is necessary to note that, while the
The wording of
As we study the Scriptures, it is important to rely on the Holy Spirit to instruct us and to do the work of studying diligently, comparing Scripture to Scripture. Isolated verses can often only give us questions, but the whole of Scripture will give us answers. The Bible never contradicts itself; it complements itself.