A Study in Values and "Conflicting" Obligations and
Application of These Principles to the Bible's Use of the Words "Love" and "Hate"
Think about these verses. How do they apply to you, in your life? As you try to apply them, how can you avoid falling into the trap of "half-truths"?
Look at some of the other "negative" concepts, and see how these principles apply. (Don't ignore the "positive" concepts, though!) [You could start by looking at some of the verses that use the words "jealous" (or "jealousy") and "zealous" (or "zeal"). They are actually the same group of words, in the N.T. Greek!]
Explore some of the theological and moral issues found in the Bible.
Look for truths that complement each other - truths that are often
viewed as "contradictory" concepts. In what ways does the
Bible avoid the "half-truths" that people often hold to?
(In many issues, people will think from an "either-or"
perspective, while the Bible will proclaim a "both-and" perspective.)
You may wish to start with the focus of John 1:1, and ask the question, "Is Jesus God, or is he with God?" The way Scripture deals with this issue is typical of the way it deals with all other issues of this type. (An "either-or" perspective would result in all kinds of error.) Another major issue would revolve around the question: "Is God sovereign, or are people responsible for their actions?" (Most people view these two concepts as contradictory.) However, you don't need to start with a major issue: Just about any issue, large or small, can be instructive, for learning how to deal with complementary truths.
Look at various issues and conflicts in your life. Try to see beyond your own perspective, in order to discover if there are some "half-truths" in the opposing perspectives. Make it your goal to accept all the dimensions of truth. (This may also require you to consider the possibility that you may have inadvertently reached erroneous conclusions in your own perspective.)
Though it is not the main focus of this study, you may also want to
look for instances in which an "either-or" perspective is necessary
- specifically regarding the issue of compromise. You could
look in the Bible for instances in which the people took a
"both-and" perspective in the matter of truth and error,
where they compromised their actions (by tolerating sinful conduct),
where they tried to serve both God and idols, etc. What were the
consequences of their compromise - especially the long-term
consequences? What lessons can you learn from these examples?
Also, examine your own life, so that you can apply what you have learned. Are there areas in which you have made compromises, or are being tempted to do so? Do you "flirt" with sin? Give serious thought to what the Bible says about compromise (whether by example or by direct statement) and deal with it, before it destroys you.
* Some of the studies that are suggested above have already been done, and are available on this website. If you would like to read them before (or after) you study the topics on your own, links are given to them below:
A few misc. studies about values can be found at this link:
Also, links to various articles regarding the issue of understanding the Bible are available at this link, on the Journal home page:
Dennis Hinks © 2001