- The Bible Must be Interpreted by the Inspiration of the Holy Spirit
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, so the readers must read in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to understand the true, spiritual meaning (2 Timothy 3:16). If we interpret it literally or in our own thoughts, we might misunderstand God’s will. Also, the Bible records the same event differently in some parts. In these cases also, we must not interpret it with human thoughts. Then, we might think, ‘the person who wrote it made a mistake’, and mistrust the Bible.
Isaiah 34:16 says, “Search from the book of the LORD, and read: Not one of these shall fail; Not one shall lack her mate. For My mouth has commanded it, and His Spirit has gathered them.” As said, the Bible was written without any error by the work of God.
Therefore, if we do not understand some parts of the Bible, we must pray with good heart so that we may understand the reason why God recorded it in that way and the true meaning of God that is hidden in there.
- God Perfected the Bible Through Various Writers
The event recorded in Mark 14:30 and 71-72 are mentioned in all four Gospels. Although it is the same event, it is recorded differently. The reader might wonder why. What, then, is the reason that God allowed this event to be recorded in different way?
The four Gospels are about Jesus’ ministry and His teaching and the things that happened around Him. But each Gospel has a certain characteristic and they focus on slightly different parts. It is because those who wrote them had different characters although God Himself gave them the inspiration to write them. The reason why there are four Gospels, not one, lies here, too.
If we read the four Gospels carefully, we can see that the focus was different, and the ways to describe, the words used, and the styles were different even about the same thing. We can also see some parts were portrayed in detail while some others were just briefly mentioned because the characters of the writers were different,
Therefore, God let four Gospels to be written so that the different Gospels would supplement one another. In this way, we can learn about Jesus’ ministry and teachings and also about the disciples’ ministries in more detail and more clearly. We can feel the atmosphere of the scene as if we ourselves were in that place.
- Examples of Different Records on the Same Event
First, let us look into the two criminals who were hung with Jesus. Matthew 27:44 and Mark 15:32 say both the two criminals cursed at Jesus while Luke 23:39 onward tells us that one criminal cursed at Jesus and the other one repented and received salvation. Why, then, two Gospels say both criminals cursed at Jesus while one Gospel says only one criminal cursed at Jesus and the other criminal rebuked the first criminal?
At that time, around the cross of Jesus, the chief priest, the scribes, and a lot of crowd were saying evil words against Jesus. In that situation, because it was hard to hear the voice of the criminals, Matthew heard one criminal cursing at Jesus. But he wrote that both the criminals cursed at Jesus.
But Luke clearly saw the situation and wrote it. He even recorded the conversations between Jesus and the two criminals. One criminal did not curse at Jesus but rebuked the other criminal for his cursing at Jesus, and said, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Likewise, if we realize why there is difference in the record, we can feel the atmosphere and situation at that time more clearly.
As another example, in Numbers 25, people of Israel committed adultery with Moabite women, and 24,000 people died due to plague. But in the New Testament, the apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:8, 23,000 people died. There is a difference of one thousand people. We might think one of the records was a mistake, but it is not true. It is because the book of Numbers includes the number of Gentile women who died along with the people of Israel whereas 1 Corinthians only mentioned the number of people of Israel.
Likewise, God’s Word is errorless, and when God gives us understanding through His inspiration, we can get the clear answer even for the things that cannot be understood with human thoughts.
- The Four Gospels, Making Perfection Supplementing One Another
Also, all four Gospels write about Jesus telling Peter beforehand that he would deny Jesus three times.
Let us compare this scene in four Gospels. Matthew 26:34 says, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” But Mark 14:30 says, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.”
Next Luke 22:34 says, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” Lastly, John 13:38 says, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.”
What, then, is the reason that there are slight differences in the four Gospels about this event?
John was a short-tempered person even as to be called a son of thunder. So, when he recorded something, he had tendency to record the most important point rather than recording everything in detail. Therefore, on this event also, John focused on the fact that Peter would deny Jesus three times, and he did not pay much attention to whether it was before the rooter crows once or twice. So, he just wrote ‘before the rooster crows’. Also, Matthew and Luke did not really focus on the number of times the rooster would crow. That is why they just wrote ‘before the rooster crows’ or ‘the rooster shall not crow this day’.
On the contrary, Mark had a calm and delicate character rather than active one. That is why he recorded what Jesus said in detail and wrote ‘before the rooster crows twice’ even the number of times the rooster would crow.
But we should know that these things are not errors although the writers’ characters were different. It is just that their emphasis was a little different from one another, and they supplement one another with their respective advantages to make one perfect record.
Some might wonder whether God could not let one person write the whole Bible perfectly. But there is a reason in God’s letting many people record the Bible with their own characteristics. It is to let us understand the ways of God in which He accomplishes His works.
Human beings, who are God’s creatures, have the limits of body unlike God. Thus, even though God gives us inspiration of the Holy Spirit and controls us, we cannot show God’s works 100% due to our limits.
God knows this fact, and that is why He let four persons who had different advantages write each of the Gospels supplementing one another to make it a perfect record, because the part about Jesus is the most important in the Bible. Therefore, in order to learn fully about Jesus’ ministry and teachings, we should not incline to one side but we should learn all four Gospels.
- God Works For the Good of Everything
God does not use only particular people but many kinds of people who have different personalities and talents to work for the good of everything.
For example, some people have accurate and careful characters, some others positive and active characters, still others simples characters. Some have virtue, some others knowledge, and still others loyalty and faithfulness. God loves all these parts and that is why He uses not only those who have great ability but also everybody’s good points although some still have shortcomings. In this way, all members become one and supplement one another to fulfill God’s work.
But we still have to remember, even though God loves all of us and uses us according to our characteristics and talents, we can be used for more noble purpose to the extent that we accomplish goodness in our heart.