Wheat and Weeds in the Bible

The Bible was canonized by the Council of Laodicea in 363 AD. Later the Councils of Hippo (393 AD) and Carthage (397 AD) reaffirmed the 27 books of the New Testament. (The canon of the Bible compellingtruth.org ) These scholars had a difficult task reviewing the numerous scrolls and pages of texts gathered after the resurrection of Christ and cross comparing multiple passages was not practical. They did the best they could, relying on their short-term memory to compare and cross-check numerous theological tenents presented in so many documents. Such a task may tend to be more inclusive than exclusive, to be sure nothing is overlooked that might be considered the words of God. It wasn’t until centuries later that some of the books of the Old Testament and passages in the New Testament were removed from some Bible versions.

Throughout history the Bible has been modified many times. Some writings were considered apocryphal, lacking full authenticity, and were excluded from some versions of the Bible. Protestants left out the books of Tobit, Judith, Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch and Chapters 11 and 12 of Esther and 13 and 14 of Daniel. These are in the Catholic Bible, which some consider the original Bible. Some Bibles omit 16 passages as explained in Why does the NIV Bible omit verses? | Biblica – The International Bible Society.

Some say that any errors in the Bible are caused by the translation of the Bible from its original languages. That is bunk, because every version is carefully translated by teams of Biblical scholars trained in the original languages. Different Bible versions say the same thing using slightly different words and you can compare over 50 versions at https://www.biblestudytools.com/. Well-meaning scholars have edited portions of the Bible to present what in their opinions are the true words of God. Since the Bible has been edited, modified, passages and books deleted in the past, I have no reservations in proposing something similar with the books in the New Testament. I used both the Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE) and the New International Version (NIV) for this article. The RSVCE is a more a traditional version, while the NIV is written in plain English and is the middle ground for a word-for-word-literal translation and one that conveys the intent of the original writings. You can view the RSVCE online and the NIV online.

Some say the Bible must not be criticized because it is the inspired by God Almighty. Regardless, every word in the Bible was written by a person, except for the Ten Commandments. It is possible that some words in the Bible are lies, inspired by the devil. Examples are in the lectures given to Job by his friends, in which God condemned their lies (Job 42:7). These lectures to Job were Satan inspired to lead Job to curse God to his face (Job 1:11and 2:5). Even Job’s wife told Job he should curse God and die (Job 2:9), which is exactly what Satan wanted.

The lectures of Job’s friends deviously mix the truth and lies about God and Job, which helps to disguise the lies. Eliphaz speaks the truth that God does uncountable miracles (Job 5:9-10). While in Job 4:8-9, Eliphaz lies that those who plow evil and sow trouble reap it and are destroyed by God’s anger. He states that Job and his children are being punishing because of their sins. This lie is repeated several times in Job. However, we know that God, Himself, says Job is a righteous man (Job 1:8 and 2:3).

Danny was diagnosed with cancer and his preacher told him it was because of his sinfulness, just like  it says in the book of Job. I had to enlighten my friend that his preacher had read but blindly misunderstood the lessons found in Job. Two of the truths from Job are: (1) bad things happen to righteous people and (2) good things can happen to evil people. This is discussed more in Chapter 7 of my book, The Bible’s Hidden Treasure – James the Precious Pearl.

Let me be clear, I absolutely believe that God is perfect, always truthful, trustworthy and eternally consistent (not changing like shifting shadows, James 1:17 ). Thus, God cannot and will not contradict Himself. As a devout Christian I believe God is One, consisting of God the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit. Again, being a perfect God, He will never contradict Himself and any person, prophet or god who contradicts themself cannot be trusted.

When two statements contradict each other, one or both statements must be false. However, two contradictory statements cannot both be true. For example: (a) God is perfect and (b) God is not perfect. These two statements are absolutes and there is no middle ground or shades of grey for these two statements and if one is true the other must be false and vice versa. A second example is: (a) the element iron has only 2 protons and (b) the element iron has only 1 proton. Here both statements contradict each other, and both are false because the element iron must have 26 protons in its nucleus.

Any contradictions found in the Bible can only be attributed to the imperfect men who wrote the contradictory statements. It may be considered blasphemy to claim that some Bible passages contradict each other, unless the contradictions are clear and self-evident. These contradictions need to be exposed to the light, so that the truth can be clearly seen and understood. Many of these contradictory passages are seeded in the Bible in the writings of Paul, which led me to write Chapters 1 and 16 of The Bible’s Hidden Treasure.

It took me years of research and re-reading the Bible several times to discover these contradictions. Bringing contradictory passages to light is now easier with the assistance of keyword and phrase searches using a digital Bible. This allows topically related passages to be grouped to contrast and compare the many different passages dealing with the same subject. An example is on the topic of God judging a person’s soul after their time on earth. This was addressed in my article published in the Catholic Stand on March 9, 2021, Are You Saved by Faith Alone or by Your Good Works?.

Weeds and Wheat – Lies and Truth

The parable in Matthew 13:24-30 tells of God’s kingdom being like a landowner sowing good wheat but his enemy sowed weeds in the same field. The owner tells the servants to leave the weeds until the wheat is ready for harvest. At that time, the weeds are collected and burned before gathering the wheat. A parable can have different meanings to fit different situations. The enemy could be the devil, who is sowing lies among the true words of God, just like what we see in Job. Jesus explains that the enemy is the devil, and the weeds are the devil’s people (Matthew 13:36-43). The native language of the devil is lies (John 8:44) and people, like Job’s friends, would be sowing the devil’s lies. Is it time for the harvest and pulling out the weeds or lies in the Bible?

Martin Luther and James have two contradictory massages. Luther’s message is that we are saved by faith alone, while James’ contradictory message is that we are not saved by faith alone (James 2:24). One of these absolute statements is true while the other false. Luther’s thesis is based on cherry picking passages from the letters of Paul and from selected gospels. Being saved by faith or grace alone means that God does not judge your sins and good works to allow you to enter heaven. Does simply believing, having faith, that Jesus Christ is God exempt us from His judgement? Faith that Jesus is God is good, but even the devils believe this (Matthew 4:1-11) and shudder (James 2:19). Are the devils exempt from God’s judgment of eternity in hell simply because they know (more than believe) that Jesus is God?

Some may fear that not being saved by faith alone is bad news, because that means that God holds us personally responsible for our sins and lack of righteousness. Having our sins and works judged by God is totally consistent with the New and Old Testaments in:

 

People may panic at being judged by our perfect and holy God and not being allowed to go to heaven by faith alone, grace alone (a free gift of God), by the blood of Christ or the crucifixion of Christ. This panic is bolstered because we are conditioned to think we are all sinners (Romans 3:10) and as such will never be worthy of heaven. However, this contradicts what is said about both Elijah and Job (1 Kings 17:18-24, Job 1:1). I contend it is great to not be saved by faith alone and to get to heaven based upon God judging both our sins and our righteous acts. This is consistent with that of Elijah going to heaven (2 Kings 2:11) because he was a righteous man of God, long before Christ was crucified. Matthew Kelly’s book The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity tells us that we can become righteous, one step at a time. So, confess your sins to one another (James 5:16) and go forth and sin no more (John 8:11).

Conclusions

Why is it great to not be saved by faith or grace alone and ultimately be judged by God? Simply knowing we are held personally responsible for our sins and righteousness is an extraordinarily strong incentive to try our best and grow more righteous every day. Even if we slip and fall back into a sin, we can learn from our mistakes, gain in wisdom (James 1:5-8) and do better each day. We can be forgiven our sins, provided we truly repent, confess our sins to each other, forgive others, and cease sinning (Isaiah 59:20, Jeremiah 15:19, Matthew 6:14-15, John 8:11, James 5:16, 1 John 1:9).

Imagine if everyone conscientiously strived every waking moment to be more righteous, knowing that God knows our every thought and sees and remembers every sin and righteous act in our life. Nothing can be hidden from an omnipotent God, so for heaven’s sake go forth, become more righteous and teach others this truth. If you turn sinners from their errors, it will help save them and cover over a multitude of your own sins (James 5:19-20). You can discover more priceless lessons that you need to become more righteous in the epistle of James and in my book, The Bible’s Hidden Treasure: James: The Precious Pearl: John Hageman: 9781973692850: Amazon.com: Books or https://www.jamesbibleshiddentreasure.com/.

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