The Puzzle


Hello friends,

I am knee deep into Term II of Seminary, taking a course on the New Testament. Specifically, the Gospels, Acts, and John's letters. The course is set up as an introductory class, meant to teach us about the history surrounding the Gospels, how they hold up to other literary works of their day, how to read certain passages, etc. So far, I've really enjoyed it.

I just wrapped up reading a (rather long) chapter on the way scholars view the Gospels today. Some people have come before, reading this material, and have lost all their faith. Some scholars do an amazing job of breaking things down and claiming they are worthless, and these scholars take great joy in some of the issues presented within the Gospels.

One approach to fight these scholars off is to claim that there are no issues presented within the Gospels. That's just silly to me. There are some issues we need to take a pretty hard look at. Matthew and Luke present two totally different genealogies for Jesus. The details of certain parables, or even the interpretation of some of those parables, varies from author to author. John is all by himself when it comes to placing certain events in the life of Jesus in the same order as everybody else. There are issues.

But this does little to rattle my faith. In fact, it just makes me want to fall in love with the Word even more! Why are they different? Are the authors trying to tell us something? Do the differences actually point to something important themselves? What if Jesus told the same story a bunch of times, but used it to mean different things (a technique I employ ALL THE TIME!)? When was the last time you could get four youth pastors to watch an event and then recall it later exactly the same? Does it make the story and less credible?

Jacob wrestled with God. God broke his hip. But at the end of the day, Jacob was rewarded for wrestling with the Lord. May we never stop wrestling with God, especially with God's word. May we never try to avoid having our hip broken by ignoring the difficulties of our faith. May we with childlike wonder approach the scriptures with curiosity and desire!