Today’s blog post is a little different from usual. Rather than taking a topic and doing my best to think around it, like I normally do, I’m going to give you a selection of Bible verses that I personally find difficult or challenging and ask questions. They are questions that I ask myself, questions that, to varying degrees, I am looking for the answers to. Maybe you know some of the answers, or maybe they’ll prompt you to do some digging yourself, but I hope this is helpful. I just feel that everyone now and then, it’s good to take a step back and just ask questions, rather than trying to come up with the answers all the time.
1) John 13:3-4 – Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning too God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel round his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped round him.
• The word ‘so’ in this passage indicates that Jesus was in a position to be humble because he was powerful.
• Is humility born out of power? Is it possible to be humble without previously having power? Do you need to be coming from a position of power to make humility meaningful?
2) Hebrews 2:10 – In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.
• Why did Jesus have to be made perfect if he was already fully God (and therefore perfect).
• This passage almost makes it seem as if God made Jesus perfect as a reward for the sacrifice that Jesus made. This seems inconsistent with what is said elsewhere of Jesus being ‘fully God’.
• Does this affect the traditional view of the Trinity?
3) John 14:21 – Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.
• I have a lot of questions regarding the idea that God’s love is completely unconditional and equal for every person ever, and this verse is one that has encouraged me to raise some of those questions, particularly that of the ‘unconditional’ nature of God’s love.
• Is having Jesus’ commands and keeping them a condition for God’s love? The most straightforward way of reading this verse suggests that it is.
• As a more general question, what form does the popular idea of ‘unconditional love’ take? What does that love look like for someone who doesn’t care about God?
4) Romans 9:15-16 – He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.
• I do not consider myself a Calvinist, or even a believer in predestination, but verses like this force me to ask questions.
• A lot of Christians accept that it does not take a great deal of effort to be saved, but many would assume that it at least takes desire. This verse says otherwise.
• What of verses that say we need belief/faith to be saved?
• Is faith in God different to a desire to be saved?
I hope those 4 verses and their questions have given you something to think about. I know that some of the questions concern established beliefs, but remember that I am asking them only because of what is in the text. There are issues to be resolved here, and I don’t think that anyone will have all the answers this side of the second coming.