Tag: Old Testament

Supposed Bible Contradictions – Was Abraham Justified by Faith or by Works? (Rom. 4:2; Jas. 2:21)

For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. (Rom. 4:2-3)

Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? (Jas 2:21)

If someone isolates these verses outside of their context they could understandably say, ‘It looks like the Bible is saying in one place that Abraham was not justified by works and in another place that Abraham was justified by works.’ As is the case with many of these alleged discrepancies the issue concerns isolating Bible verses and setting them against each other as opposed to realizing that sentences fit within paragraphs, paragraphs fit within chapters, chapters fit within books, and when contexts are examined verses like the ones above are seen to be complementary not contradictory.

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The Siege Before Christmas (Micah 5:1)

Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops; They have laid siege against us; With a rod they will smite the judge of Israel on the cheek. (Mic. 5:1 NASB)

Before we get to Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2), we must stop and hear this oracle against Jerusalem (vs.1). If you were a Hebrew reader of Micah’s prophecy, the moment you heard “Now” (Heb. attâ), you might have gotten another ‘lump in your throat.’ That word had been used previously to introduce prophetic glimpses of situations Judah wouldn’t have exactly looked forward to (4:9, 11), and this one wouldn’t be the desire of the nation either. First, the call, “Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of troops,” wasn’t an inspirational, pre-battle call-to-assembly. It is likely an ironic call to futile preparations. The Hebrew verb in that expression can connote either ‘slashing’ or ‘gathering.’ In the case of the former, some translations have opted for ‘You have slashed yourself in grief’ (HCSB). But most opt for the latter – a call to marshal the troops. Interestingly, when you look at how the word for “troops” is used, it most commonly refers to ‘bands’ or ‘raiders,’ and so the irony may be something like this – Israel is besieged by an army and all they can muster is the comparative equivalent of a band of raiders. 

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