The Bible is Confusing!

Some people suffer for the wrongs of others -, this is what happened to Jesus. He did no wrong. They had to hire witnesses to lie against him because there was no one who could bring any truthful accusations against him. He suffered on the cross for the wrongs of all of us. He answered for the crimes and lies for all the different of God’s broken commandments. He was God’s perfect intervention on our behalf.

But there are times that other people have innocently suffered for the wrongs that some have done. This was a case of Abraham. He lied saying that his wife was his sister two times against two different kings. That set the kings in jeopardy from God. Fortunately, for them they discovered the truth before they committed sin by taking Sarah as a wife.

Peter did this when he said that he and Jesus would pay a temple tax that was not rightly due from a rabbi. He put himself and Jesus under obligation to people estranged from Christ’s good news because he felt backed into a corner. Under other circumstances, this would put Jesus in jeopardy. Peter was rescued by Jesus who told him to go catch a fish and find a coin in his mouth to pay the tax for both of them.

We do this to each other. We make decisions. We take steps. All of these are in our own self interest without regard of how it will affect other people. The consequence may be immediate. It may be eventual. It may soon be to those close to us. It may be to those we would never meet.

Terms and Names are confusing – this could be a problem for some people who were casually reading the Bible. Sometimes the answer is in other portions of Scripture. For instance, in Jeremiah many kings are named. To understand who they are, other scriptures explain that some people were given a second name or a nickname.

When the Bible says that Joseph and Mary were married as husband and wife, this can be confusing unless you research the ancient wedding customs. In short, they pledged to each as spouses, but did not plan to consummate the marriage for a year later. In the case of Joseph and Mary, their custom was interrupted by the Holy Spirit performing a spiritual insemination so that the body of Jesus could be created in her womb without any form of consummation with a man.

If you read the King James version of the Bible, you might easily come across words that seemingly have no meaning to you. If you look elsewhere on the page, you might see that term explained with a better word or better translated word. In Leviticus 11;20 is a phrase, “fowls that creep.” Another translation of the word fowls is winged insects.

The word love in the Bible has many meanings. To us in our language, there is only one word that we use to express feelings of affection and that is the word love. However, the original Greek has separate words for brotherly love, erotic love, divine love, and so forth. All of these translated to the one simple word in English of love.

After Jesus was crucified, the Bible says that he preached to those that lived and died at the time of Noah. This is a case in which we must be very careful. There are several Greek words that are translated into English to say preach. The word used in the case of Jesus was not expected to gain converts. Instead, the word means more of an announcement. He announced himself as the Messiah and Savior to those of the worst time. The ship that Noah built was a spiritual type of Christ because it saved Noah and his family. If anyone will “get on board” with Christ, they too shall be saved.

Customs are alien to modern life – this could be true of sayings or parables that Jesus spoke. He talked about a robber digging into a house to steal. The houses that they built in those day were made of clay. Therefore, a robber could actually dig into the wall of the house. At another point, Jesus talked about a man going to a friend for help asking for food to feed his guest. The man replied that he was not willing to help because he was in bed with this family. In those days they all slept together on mats laid out on the floor. This was not to indicate any form of incest. It was merely to say that the family had no separate bedrooms as we do today. The Sabbath was held so strictly that a person was only permitted to walk a short distance on that day. Should a man walk further, he was breaking the Law. When Jesus told the disciples to find a room where they could observe the Passover, he said to look for a man carrying water. To us that would not be strange. In those days only women carried water. A good book on manners and customs of the Bible would be helpful for anyone who wanted to follow Scripture.

It seems like most of the Old Testament books are saying the same thing -, in some cases the prophets are repeating themselves. However, looking more closely at the context of Scripture, the reader can understand better that the writings of the Old Testament were penned to address a progression of history when Jerusalem was destroyed and later rebuilt. Jeremiah warned his people that unless they got right with God and were obedient, they would face serious consequences. Other prophets discussed their experience while living either in Jerusalem or in Babylon after their captivity because of a military defeat. This means that certain books of the Bible were warnings to others related to the experience after defeat. Some of the remaining prophecies tell us about the repopulation of Jerusalem and rebuilding the capital city after all the Babylonian captives were allowed to return home. As we read the Bible, there is a lineal telling of the story of the Jews

Jonah seems to have a bad attitude – Jonah was both a prophet and a patriot. He was told to go to the city of Nineveh in Assyria to preach warnings against the populace for their wrongs. At that time the Assyrians were vicious and cruel warriors. He was afraid of them on behalf of his  country. Jonah would rather God destroyed the people but knew if they were converted God would spare their lives. The way Jonah viewed the situation was that this kept his own people in constant jeopardy from the Assyrians. In rebellion, he boarded a ship sailing to Tarshish. That destination was considered the most distant point of the known world. On his way a terrible storm broke out on the Mediterranean Sea which resulted in him being swallowed by a divinely created fish. After learning his lesson, when the people of Nineveh did listen and convert according to the words of Jonah, he further demonstrated an attitude. The lesson we can learn from this is that God is merciful to us even though we may not have the best personality in the world. The key point is for us to be constantly making efforts to improve the persons that we are.

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