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We had the first Bible reading from Acts 1:15-26 today and in that reading it states: "(With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.)" How does this fit in with Matthew's account that we are all very familiar with, that Judas went out and hanged himself? I am confused!! Answer: Imagine how two different people might approach your question. One person believes that the Bible is filled with errors and contradictions. That person looks at your question and says, “Well, what do you expect? Here is one of those contradictions in the Bible.” Another person has been convinced by the Holy Spirit to believe what Jesus says, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). That person looks at your question and says, “Since the Bible is true and does not contain contradictions, both accounts are true. It’s just a matter of me trying to understand how they can both be true.”When we take that latter approach, we can make sense of the two accounts. Judas did hang himself (Matthew 27:5), but it looks from the Acts 1 account that he hanged himself in a location and in a manner whereby his body became detached from those items that he used to hang himself and his body fell down a cliff. Both accounts are true. Understood together, they provide the complete picture of what happened.Answered by James Pope, professor at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Pope is a contributing editor to Forward in Christ magazine. He writes the monthly “Light for our path” question and answer column.
John 12:47-48 “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day. 1 Corinthians 6:2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? John 5:22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son 1 Peter 1:17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially The above passages are pointed to as an example of contradictions in the Bible. Are they? To a layman, they are certainly confusing. Thanks Answer: You question illustrates how important context is: the immediate context of a given passage and the wider context of Scripture.In John 12:44 and following, Jesus explained his connection to his heavenly Father and the gospel. He said that people’s attitudes toward him were a reflection of their attitudes toward his heavenly Father and the gospel. When Jesus said that he “did not come to judge the world, but to save it” (John 12:47), he was highlighting the reason why he came into the world: John 3:16. Jesus came into the world as the fulfillment of all the prophecies of the Messiah. He came to “seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). Because Jesus will be the judge on the last day (Matthew 25:31-46), he can accurately say that his “words” (John 12:48) will judge people, because his words—the Bible—clearly portray him as Savior. People who have been led to believe God’s word about Jesus will enjoy eternity with God. People who rejected God’s word about Jesus will bring down condemnation on themselves.1 Corinthians 6:2 – The context here is that some of the Christians in Corinth were taking each other to court in lawsuits. The apostle Paul instructed the Corinthians to settle their differences peacefully because, after all, they were dealing with trivial matters. In the future, on the last day, they would be involved in a greater “court case,” the judgment of all people. They—and all Christians—would be involved in that judgment in the sense that as God’s children his will is their will. As the Lord renders his verdict, his people will participate in that judgment. Jesus even spoke of his disciples “judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30). John 5:22 – The Father has entrusted Jesus with the final judgment. That is appropriate since it is people’s attitude toward Jesus and his gospel that determines where people will spend eternity.1 Peter 1:17 – Judgment belongs to God: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. While the Father has entrusted judgment to his Son, the Father is still involved in judgment. The passages you selected look at judgment from different angles; there is no contradiction. Collectively, they tell us that God, through his Son, will judge all people on the last day. Judgment will be based on people’s attitude toward Jesus and his gospel. When it comes to the judgment of the condemned, Christians will participate in that judgment. How wonderful to know and believe that “since we have been justified [declared ‘not guilty’] through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).Answered by James Pope, professor at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn. Pope is a contributing editor to Forward in Christ magazine. He writes the monthly “Light for our path” question and answer column.
Pastor Timothy J. Winkel
2651 Shettler Road
Muskegon, MI 49444
Telephone: 231 777 3011