Me: Help, please?
Understanding the Bible?
John 3:3-5 does not equal Acts 10:44-48
Matthew 18:1-4 equals neither 1 Corinthians 13:10-13 nor 1 Corinthians 14:20
I’m not trying to sound like an atheist it’s just that every single freaking time I read that Bible book, I get confused! Why couldn’t the church have put together a more consistent Bible? Tell me. “Help my unbelief.”
Fr. Kimel: Daniel,
If the Bible seems inconsistent, maybe you’re asking the wrong questions.
Instead of trying to harmonize the texts, just let them be. It’s precisely the differences and contradictions that generate insight and illumination.
Me: Inhale/Exhale…okay. I’m going to let them be.
John 3:3-5 – Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicode′mus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Acts 10:44-48 – While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, “Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.
Question being asked: How does God distribute the Holy Spirit to people? Baptism or not?
Wrong question obviously. Let the texts be and…God works different ways for different people it would seem, right?
Matthew 18:1-4 – At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
1 Corinthians 14:20 – Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; be babes in evil, but in thinking be mature.
1 Corinthians 13:10-13 – but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Question being asked: How can God say one minute we need to become children and then say the next minute that we’re not supposed to think like children?
Wrong question obviously. Let the texts be and…God does want us to become like children—babes even—when it comes to evil. Completely unaware of it. That doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to think like adults though. We need to be calm, not chaotic like the tongue-speaking Corinthians were being.
Okay, how’d I do? Did you learn something about the texts that you’d never thought of before? I’m just curious. Please do say so if you did, it would mean much to me to find out in seeking a priest for help that I ended up helping him! 🙂
I post this via his post-permission (the permission following the fact of my posting this) because of something I read in The Way of a Pilgrim.
‘Neither mental prayer to the Lord [i.e., interior prayer] nor contemplative illumination nor any means of elevating one’s soul should be hoarded in one’s own mind. They must be recorded, written down, and made available to others for the sake of love and the common good of all.’ The Scriptures themselves speak of this: ‘Brother hepled by brother is like a strong fortress’ [Prov. 18:19]. (The Way of a Pilgrim, 43)
And for those curious enough to ask…my lightsaber is orange.