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In examining those things which some claim are contradictions in Scripture, we have stuck mostly with seeming contradictions between the gospels. This is because in the gospels, we have cases of the same story or similar stories repeated from multiple authors, so discrepancies between the stories seem obvious. In examining these discrepancies, we have found answers to many of them. However, the gospels are not the only source for seeming contradictions in the New Testament. Some differences seem plain in other parts, such as in the books of Paul. Let us examine some of these, and see what we can discover about contradictions between things that Paul wrote. First of all, we will consider “The Marriage of Widows.”

In I Corinthians 7:8, Paul declares, “But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am.” We know that Paul was unmarried, whether that means he was single or a widower, so the clear implication here is that the unmarried and widows should remain single. However, this is in stark contrast to what we read in I Timothy 5:11-14. Read the rest of this entry »

wed02I received the following question:

If you would have time to chat about “marriage” if you have time this next few days. Yes for me, cause I am struggling with what God says about it in some areas and what you said in one of your comments on your Precepts Blog.
One of your comments of when you marry it is in front of God, family and friends, I just cannot wrap My head around this in this day and age. Are you talking the Wedding Ceremony here?
You have some very good things to say and I am “struggling” in the sense of studying the Word to know all what the Bible says about the subject, and obviously would love to have an enjoyable marriage.
Thank you for sharing the word, you do challenge me to think allot and my brain is hurting on this subject of marriage, and exactly what it is in all its details.
As you say…..”Keep studying the Word”!

I agree that marriage is a difficult issue, and I am not in any way certified as a marriage counselor! But I could offer you my thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

How many wives did Saul actually have?  In 1 Samuel 14:50 it only says “wife” yet I always had thought before that there were others.

I Samuel 14:50 does, indeed, only list one wife for Saul.

50. The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the commander of his army was Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle.

While we would like to say that in this, at least, Saul excelled David, yet a closer examination will reveal that Saul was not a “one-woman man.” II Samuel 3:7 reveals the truth of this.

7. And Saul had a concubine, whose name was Rizpah, the daughter of Aiah. So Ishbosheth said to Abner, “Why have you gone in to my father’s concubine?”

So Saul had a concubine (one of those “slave-wives” so common in those days) besides his wife Ahinoam. It is her children, not those of Ahinoam, whom David turns over to the Gibeonites at their request in II Samuel 21:8. She protects their bodies, and again is called Saul’s concubine in II Samuel 21:11.

11. And David was told what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.

So while we can commend Saul for having only one wife, he did add to her a concubine. Other than these two, I can find no other mention of wives for Saul. He at least stuck much closer to the command not to multiply wives than David did.

I received the following question:

Is Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, who’s David’s wife, the same wife Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz, who’s Saul’s wife?  (Due to 2 Samuel 12:8)

II Samuel 12:8. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!

This seems doubtful. First of all, I think that what is said here is that Saul’s wives and his house would be given into David’s keeping, as the New King James has it. It does not say that David would marry any of Saul’s wives. I know the King James says “into thy bosom,” and the NIV “into your arms.” But the NASB says “into your care.” The Hebrew word is “bosom,” as the KJV. The idea of “bosom” is used for children in Numbers 11:12, Ruth 4:16, and of a pet in II Samuel 12:3. In Isaiah 40:11, it is used of the LORD’s tender care for His sheep. It does indicate closeness, but here it seems to indicate control over them more than anything else. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

I have a question. This has to do with a notion that seems to be gaining popularity with unmarried Christians, in that they believe they are ‘called’ to be single. How one decides they are called as such I am not sure, other than the observation that many Christian young people seem to expect God to deliver a chosen spouse to their doorstep. No pre-packaged spouse at the ‘door’ thus leads them to believe they are called to be single. I find this whole pop idea unsettling in that it shifts responsibility for one’s marital status from the choices made by the individual Christian (which are supposed to be made through prayer and supplication) to a decision made solely by God.  This whole idea when taken to an extreme seems out of context with Grace.  Any ideas You might have on the matter would be appreciated.

First of all, one would have to ask what it means to be called? If being called means nothing, then anyone can claim to be called. If, however, being called really means something, then we had best be careful to know what it means before deciding to claim to be called. I personally do not believe that any believer today is called to anything that any other believer is not called to. For example, if one believer is called to salvation, then all believers are called to salvation. If one believer is called to live a holy life, then all believers are called to live a holy life. There are no special, individual callings today.

The idea of being “called to be single,” or “the gift of singleness,” as I’ve heard it described, seems to be a lot of hogwash to me. It seems to be crafted to pander to the feelings of the growing number of singles in our Christian circles. However, many of these are single through a fault of their own (either divorce or unmarried sex.) To suggest that singleness is a calling or a gift in these circumstances is ludicrous. If anything, it is a result of your own actions or your own sin. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

Numbers 5:31 “Then the man shall be free from iniquity, but that woman shall bear her guilt.

Why does it seem unfair that it could be a man who was unfaithful to his wife or if the wife was jealous suspiciously?

Your question is worded rather strangely. It probably seems unfair because our culture is different from theirs, and so we don’t understand the issues. If we lived in their culture and knew more about the way things worked, it would seem perfectly fair to us. But I think the question you were trying to get at is why this was the way the LORD set things up. I will answer that question as well.

First of all, make no mistake that in the matter of adultery, both the man and the woman were guilty, and they both were to receive the same punishment. This is made clear in Leviticus 20:10. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

I tried that interpretation of “doesn’t marry nor given to marriage” on some people, where the view says that given to marriage means someone else decides your mate, and marry means you decide for yourself.

They said that given to marriage means how a woman marries.  We even have the carry over in our weddings where the prospective groom asks the father for permission to give his daughter.  And in the wedding itself we have the minister asking who will give the bride.  From looking at it – they seem to have a point.

Do you have anything to back up the argument you told me years ago that I don’t know about.

The passage we were discussing occurs in three of the gospels, the most complete example of which is found in Luke 20:34-36:

34.  Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage.
35.  But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
36.  nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. Read the rest of this entry »

There probably hasn’t been a loving spouse who has faced the death of a beloved husband or wife who hasn’t been consoled by the thought of seeing that precious loved one again some day. Those of us who believe in the Word of God and have the hope of resurrection can know that the end of this life is not “goodbye forever,” but only a waiting period until we meet once again in the glorious life to come. And yet this hope is somewhat tempered for the grieving widow or widower by the commonly held belief that there is no marriage in the afterlife. This view is based on the statement of Christ given in the story in Matthew 22, Mark 12, and Luke 20. Yet is this really what Christ was saying? Will those whose marriages were such a success and whose love and devotion to each other mirrored the love of Christ for His people not be allowed to restore that marriage and continue that love in the life to come? Will they be forced to relate to and treat each other just as they would everyone else? This doesn’t seem quite fair, and raises a significant question about the resurrection. Read the rest of this entry »

kissIn my first message on “Sex Before Marriage,” I discussed what the Bible has to say about sex before marriage. I pointed out that the purpose of sex before marriage was that two people should be joined together and become one flesh. God desires that we only have one sexual partner because He wants us to have godly children. He desires us to remain pure until we can create a permanent, committed union with another person. Vague promises of future marriage are not enough, because they often end up in our defrauding the other person.

But now we consider the question from a different point of view. We consider the question: what about sex itself? Is sex better before marriage or after marriage? Can sex before marriage affect or damage my sexual fulfillment after marriage? Is there any way that ignoring God’s commands about marriage can ruin my chances to have a happy and fulfilled sex life after marriage and for the rest of my life?

I am not going to answer these questions from the Bible. Rather, these are things I have read, have heard in classes on this subject, or just picked up over the years. Yet I think that these things I am about to warn you about are real, and can and will affect you if you ignore God’s commands and indulge in sex before you are married. Let’s look at these things together. Read the rest of this entry »

kissA few years ago a friend wrote to me and asked an important question. What does the Bible say about sex before marriage? He was an 18-year-old, and was no doubt struggling with this issue as he got more serious with his girlfriend.

The topic of sex before marriage is a difficult one for many in our day. Teenagers and singles in their 20s and beyond face sexual pressures undreamed of a century ago. Many consider premarital sex to be fine as long as it is consensual, and some believers go along with this mentality. But it is important for the believer to consider all that God has said on the matter and all that is relevant before deciding what to do and how to behave in regards to this important issue. I have written this message to help those singles like my friend who may be struggling with this issue and desiring to know what the Lord would say on the matter, as well as what would really be best for them to do. Read the rest of this entry »