Theo Todman's Web Page - Notes Pages
(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)
Variations amongst the different parts of the Bible with respect to message or emphasis are not necessarily discrepancies. It is possible, indeed likely, that these differences were intended by the respective authors. For instance, God's ways of dealing with men (or the situation of the times generally) may have changed in the interim between the instances in question.
- Hence, one passage (Isaiah 2:4 & Micah 4:3) may quite validly urge the beating of swords into ploughshares while another (Joel 3:10) urges the reverse, because the occasions differ. Where the occasions are the same (as in the swords of Luke 22:36 ff as against Matthew 26, Mark 14 & John 18) we encounter problems, however.
- This is the claim of the New Testament as against the Old. It is the claim of dispensationalism to explain these differences further and to explain the differences between various parts of the New Testament.
- However, it is remarkable that it is the later documents that take pains to distinguish themselves from the earlier. Little warning of an impending change is given in the earlier documents and, where it is, the change is not always what would have been expected.
- For instance, the "New Covenant" prophesy of Jeremiah 31 is used by most Christians to justify the term "New Testament". However, ultra-dispensationalists cannot accept that the New Covenant, in the sense intended by Jeremiah and therefore (they submit) by Jesus, is yet in force, because its promises do not yet seem to have been realised.
- Similarly, there is little in the Synoptics of the main theological thrust of John's Gospel or of Paul's Epistles. Even John's Gospel, which is replete with popular evangelical passages (even though John 3:16 is worked to death in popular preaching) has a different overall slant to Paul.
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