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Friday, May 13, 2016

Contradiction Options

Yesterday I asked if there was a contradiction in the thread about Paul purposing in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem and the disciples telling him through the Spirit not to go there.  Chuck suggested in a comment that this was the Spirit in a sense testing Paul for the purpose of making his decision stronger.  That is an option.
Contradiction Options
There are others.  But first we have to set some ground rules.  In his excellent book, How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler tells us rightly that when we read sacred literature we have to read it as it expects to be read (by the way this is the best book I have ever read on how to learn).  That is, as it presents itself.  For the Bible that means no contradictions.  Why?  God is immutable, unchanging, error free, Hebrews 13:8 tells us this about Christ, who is God incarnate.  So the working presupposition with this scenario is that there is not a contradiction.  So what are the other options?

One option may be that Paul was mistaken or overzealous in his purposing in the Spirit.  He really did not purpose in the Spirit, he just thought he did.  He made an error.  While the Bible does not err, it reports errors, so this may be an explanation.

The same may be true of the disciples in Tyre and Agabus.  They may have erred in their understanding of the Spirit.  Their warnings could have been driven by emotion that they read as the Spirit’s leading.  I have personally committed that error.  I suspect there are others who have as well.

A third option is the one that Chuck suggested.  This was the Spirit preparing Paul for the difficulties that lie ahead.  Strengthening his resolve, preparing his soul for the upcoming battle.

Perhaps it would be helpful to look at Paul’s relationship with the Spirit throughout Acts.  Here are the references: Acts 13:2, 4, 9; 16:6, 7; 19:21; 20:22, 23.

Which of these do you prefer and why?

I will evaluate each of these tomorrow.