Friday, October 02, 2009

Second Juxtaposition

The following set harkens back to, but it also presents its own challenge:

Revelation 2.20: “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”

1 John 3.9: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

The challenge for biblical inerrantists is to come up with a truly plausible explanation of the seeming contradiction. The challenge for errantists includes this and their civil obligation to give the benefit of the doubt and not to jump the gun. Any thoughts?


D.B. said...

Without looking into it too much- I checked a Matthew Henry commentary on and looking at the way some of the other versions translate it, it (1 John 3:9) seems to suggest more of a habitual committing of sin.

Now how many times must you commit sin to be habitual? I don't know. I think our repentance and/or acceptance of our sin as ok seems like it could be an indicator of where that person stands.

My two cents,

Kwame E. said...


Well, here's the thing: Habituality admits of degree, but the English language (apparently classical Greek also) makes no special indication of the differences but uses a common form of expression for all sorts of habitual action.

If you commute to NYC everyday, then the statement *Derrick goes to NYC* is fair to say. On the other hand, suppose that you don't go there everyday but rather you have a pattern and intention of going there once a year to celebrate the new, coming year. Well, in the latter case again it is fair to say *Derrick goes to NYC.* The statement is true in each case, yet notice the difference of frequency of the two actions.

All told, it seems entirely fair to suggest that what the apostle John has in mind is habitual action of some relatively large degree. Considering the Revelation passage I mentioned, the frequency that John has in mind in the likes of 1 John 3.9 is probably rather great while in Revelation a lesser degree is mentioned. So voilĂ : bad behavior doesn't necessarily mean that one is unregenerate, which is good news for those of us who aren't perfect!