Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. – 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
Great attention is going to be given to the part that says, “rightly dividing the word of truth.” Why would we need to rightly divide God’s word? What does it mean? The Bible is God’s word but it is not all God’s word. This probably doesn’t make sense right now but it will. There are parts that were inspired by God and then there are parts that were written by another perspective. We will look over 2 sections that appear that the Bible is contradicting itself because it says two different aspects of the same scenario.
And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. – 2 Samuel 24:1 KJV
When we read this scripture it appears as though the Lord moved King David to count the people of Israel and Judah. But now let’s take a look at another book that has an account of the same story but worded slightly different.
And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. – 1 Chronicles 21:1 KJV
So these two accounts are the same story but one shows the Lord provoked David and the other Satan provoked David. Occurrences like these are what cause people who don’t know God to think the Bible is corrupt. The answer is simple once we analyze it.
We should ask ourselves, Why would the Lord cause David to count the people when He specifically told him not to do it in earlier passages? Could it be that God changed his mind? Not likely! But this is where we must rightly divide the word of truth.
The truth is that it wasn’t God who tempted David. It was Satan. We know this because of “progressive revelation“. The people of the Old Testament did not always have the correct revelation of who God is. God spoke through prophets but they didn’t always get it right when they wrote the accounts.
The book of Job is another perfect example of not knowing who God is. There are so many times people like to quote what Job said but he actually said things against God in ignorance. He is often quoted, “God gives and God takes away.” This is not true about God. He is not flaky like this. He is faithful and loving towards us. He is not what James refers to as “double minded “.
So progressive revelation means that man slowly began to understand who God is as he progressively revealed himself to mankind. Jesus is found throughout all the Old Testament and he revealed himself to certain people. Several times He was known as the Angel of the Lord and Captain of the host of the Lord to name a couple.
The prophet Samuel wrote his account along with the memoirs of Gad and Nathan about the history of King David in a prophetic, moral and political view. But later in the book of Chronicles history was presented from a priest’s point of view, evaluating the nation’s religious history. As time went by they could see how God is and began to give an account from another perspective. We have the privilege of seeing everything all together where as they only knew Him little by little. Hopefully this brings some light as to why certain times you read a verse and later it is different.
The Bible is the Word of God but there are times when we must rightly divide the truth of it to understand it and apply it in its proper content.