When I read I can’t help proofreading,
and it makes me cringe at some scriptures.
Why didn’t God write them plain?
So there wouldn’t possibly be any contradictions. The day when I write a book, if some guy named John W. Haley writes a classic about its “alleged contradictions,” I’d be mortified and go fix each one of the issues. I’d want my words of life to be understood by every reader.
I’d want people talking about the amazing way I caravanned Joseph from slave to the #2 man in charge in Egypt so I could then have Jacob’s family positioned in Egypt ready to be delivered from slavery via the Red Sea.
Instead they get sidetracked into worrying about just how many of Jacob’s family trekked to Egypt—70 or 75? Too bad we don’t have a selfie providing an indisputable count!
Since the Old Testament scriptures all agree on 70 (Gen. 46:27, Ex. 1:1-5 and Deut. 10:20), a believing proofreader would be tempted to change Stephen’s 75 (Acts 7:14-15) and wonder if that might have kept him from being stoned!
Alas, such a well-meaning proofreader would change an inspired reasoned defense as a stellar example of apologetics into never-ending apologies.
What?! And take away the need for all the interesting intricate explanations about how 70 and 75 were both right. It’s all great fun for those who love studying genealogies. Paul did his part to promote that, probably quite unintentionally, by mentioning “baptism for the dead” (1 Cor. 15:29).
Does it really matter: 70 or 75? Whoever went, went. The big deal is that then Jacob multiplied like crazy. Until it was time for God to deliver them from Pharaoh (representing satan) and Egypt (sin) and open up the Red Sea for their passage (baptism) to the Promised Land. Seventy or 75, Cecil B. DeMille makes his blockbuster.
But baptism is another matter. It does matter (John 3:5, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38). Paul everywhere in his many writings taught that baptism is an outward expression of a person changed inside. What good could it possibly do for a person to be baptized on behalf of another who by now could have no insides left!
So this proofreader would like to help out Paul and make it “baptism for the hope of the dead,” which of course is the resurrection, which is what Paul was expounding in 1 Cor. 15.
But beware! The author of the Bible ends His book by warning that He doesn’t want my help!! He promises plagues for adding to His book and blotting out of His Book of Life for taking away words (Rev. 22:18-19). OK, I put away my red pen!
God says He deliberately wrote His book so people would be puzzled by it “that they might go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and caught” (Isa. 28:13).
When His disciples asked Jesus why He spoke in parables, He didn’t agree with the common belief that He did it so people could easily understand his everyday stories. Rather, Jesus said “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” (Matt. 13:11).
Bottom line, God the Father controls when He decides it’s the best time to open our minds to understand His plan of salvation that’s revealed in His book (John 6:44).
Those who died unbaptized will have their chance to be resurrected and become a saint in the really latter days—called the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-12).
“All scripture is inspired by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). It is truth (John 17:17).
God is looking for those who
♥ tremble at His word (Isa. 66:2). Who don’t twist Paul’s writings and “the rest of the Scriptures” “to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:16).
♥ receive “the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). Not “not so.”
♥ prove all things and hold fast what is good (1 Thes. 5:21).
God wants prove readers not proofreaders.