The dispute is an illustration of the history of the Church

We have had the Word of God available to us in many translations. We have concordances, word studies, lexical aids, volumes of commentaries and historical data to help us. Yet we are unable to agree on what it says and on what it means.

The written word is contrasted with the spoken word. They knew what he said [past tense] but could not agree on what he says [saith, present tense].

So it is with us. We know what the Bible says, but continually argue about what it means. You may at times hear someone begin his remarks with something like "The Bible clearly teaches ' Prepare yourself to take it with a grain of salt. In spite of all the great things about the bible, clarity is not one of them. I've never heard anyone admit this, especially to a non believer. But lets face it. The bible is unclear on many things. In fact, the bible is deliberately written to be vague, confusing, and open to multiple interpretations. It is full of parables, contradictions, inscrutable proverbs, riddles, dark sayings, and complex structures. It is chock full of symbolism, numeric clues, types, shadows, allegories and mind boggling passages that constantly change subject and point of view. It has numerous mysterious passing references; it's constantly quoting other parts of itself producing volumes of cross references; many actions and events make no sense and it has a great amount of stuff that seems totally useless. It often raises more questions than it answers Yet it tells us that all scripture is given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and is profitable to us. So all of it has meaning and purpose, but unless the Spirit gives you some light on a passage of scripture, it's just the dead letter of the law. The letter kills but the Spirit brings life. This is because the Word is spirit and must be understood by the help of the Spirit.

God wrote out his word is such a way that to understand it we constantly have to go to Him to seek explanation. We are continually faced with the choice between the tree of knowledge and the tree of life. The written word is the tree of knowledge, the spoken [by the Spirit] word is the tree of life. Choose life.

I once heard a minister say he didn't need faith any more because he knew what the word said. All he had to do was go by what it said in the bible. That sounds great but we seldom agree on what it says in the bible! Perhaps he forgot that it says without faith, it's impossible to please God! Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God. That is spiritual hearing. Let he that has ears to hear, hear what the Spirit is saying!

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