Upon reading the question in the title you probably immediately thought – ‘That’s easy. Of course not!’ And you would be correct in that assumption. Be that as it may, there are some who contend that the Bible contradicts itself on this subject. They argue that the same God who orders people not to steal encouraged the Israelites to steal in the Old Testament. Let’s look at the verses they use and see what’s going on. First, here are two Old Testament texts that instructed the children of Israel not to steal:
One of the supposed Bible contradictions that people use to denigrate the Bible’s authority is centered on the question, “Is God peaceable?” Detractors will cite verses like Romans 15:33 where God is called “the God of peace” and hold that against Exodus 15:3 where it is said, “The LORD is a man of war”. The question then becomes, “Which is God? A God of peace or a God of war?” The answer, however, is a relatively simple one: God is both.
Does the Bible contradict itself as it relates to the punishment of adultery? Is it a contradiction that under the Mosaic Law the penalty for such a sin was death (Lev 20:10), while in the New Testament Jesus let a woman who was caught in the act of adultery go away free and uncondemned (Jn. 8:3-11)? Manuscript issue aside, the answer is – no, this would not be an example of a Bible contradiction, but now let’s see why not.
49 Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.” (Lk. 9:49,50)
“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” (Lk. 11:23)
Shortly after the familiar apostolic debate – ‘which one of us is the greatest?’ (Lk. 9:46) – and shortly after Jesus perceived the thoughts of His disciples and gave them an illustration, along with some instruction, about true greatness (vs.47-48), John, for whatever reason, called Jesus’ attention to something He and the others had seen at some earlier time; namely, a man who wasn’t among them but was casting out demons in Jesus’ name (vs.49). A quick glance at the verse reminds us that this guy was being used in this way. This was not a case like in the book of Acts where the seven sons of Sceva tried to cast out a demon in the name of “Jesus whom Paul preaches” and it didn’t work (Acts 19:13b). Here, the guy was actually casting out demons in Jesus’ name. So all we know about this man, which is very little, suggests that he believed in Jesus and was being used by God to advance the kingdom of God.
History is full of infamous betrayals. Although the relationship between Brutus and Caesar was likely not as close as depicted in Shakespeare’s play, and although the famous question that Caesar posed to Brutus – ‘Et tu, Brute?’- likely didn’t happen, nonetheless, the betrayal of Brutus and the other Roman senators engaged in Caesar’s assassination is legendary in its infamy. Then there’s the man whose name is virtually synonymous with betrayal – ‘Benedict Arnold’, the former American hero who felt under-appreciated by his countrymen, found some measure of the recognition he felt he deserved from the British, not to mention the prospect of quite a pay day along with the potential expulsion of his lingering financial obligations. He betrayed America and sought to give West Point over into the hands of the British. Then of course there’s the man whose act of betrayal was the most heinous and universally well known, Judas Iscariot’s kiss of identification in the Garden of Gethsemane when he handed Jesus over to His persecutors. And if the list were to go on and on one name that wouldn’t appear on it is that of the prophet Jeremiah – though a captain of the guard at the gate of Benjamin would have said differently. More about that shortly. First let’s create context.