(Matthew 5:22 KJV) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.We have a problem here. Jesus says don’t call people fool. Solomon does it repeatedly. This would seem to qualify as an inconsistency in scripture.
My point today is not to try to work out the inconsistency. It has been done. Maybe some other day.
My point today is to say that working seeming inconsistencies out is not compromise or backpedaling. It is the heart of understanding what the Bible teaches. There are three places you look to understand the place a verse of scripture has in teaching its truth. You start with the verse itself. What does it say and what does it mean? Then you look at the immediate context. How does the chapter and book explain what is being said. Then you look to the total witness of scripture. What does the whole Bible say?
Take a simple example. Look at the segment of the Ten Commandments,
(Exodus 20:13 KJV) Thou shalt not kill.That seems simple enough. It is clear and concise.
But wait a minute. What about,
(Exodus 21:12 KJV) He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.This is the next chapter. In one chapter we are told not to kill. In the next we are told to kill. What gives?
A little research will show you that the proper word in the Ten Commandments is “murder” not “kill.” With a little honesty and thought you can work this out to the satisfaction of everyone except those who are against capital punishment.
In the course of doing this you apply a little logic and the ability to think. In most cases you can work out a solution to the inconsistency that satisfies most people. There are probably exceptions but I figure the answer is still out there.
Before you make a big deal of this, consider science and the scientific method. It is just this attitude which drives the mind of research in the physical world. A wobble in the planets did not work with the other known facts, leading to the discovery of Pluto. Einstein struggled for years trying to find solutions to his theories. Today the physicists still try to work out inconsistent results to data.
Christians accept logic and reason in both areas. The pagans and Xians reject it in theology but embrace it in science.
Who is being inconsistent?
homo unius libri