Unity in Variety

Thursday, October 13, 2016

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire (Matthew 3:11 KJV).

Let us consult Mark, Luke, and John.

Friend, the Bible is truly a remarkable Book—yea, rather, the world’s greatest Book! If you carefully read its words, looking for related phrases and words elsewhere, you begin to assemble a giant puzzle. What was mysterious is now somewhat understandable. While absolute clarity is impossible in this life—for our flesh limits us—we can appreciate a wide range of contexts and concepts by simply comparing Bible verses. Unfortunately, most have resorted to comparing verses with commentaries and dictionaries. Eventually, the commentaries and dictionaries become believable and the verses become doubtful.

It comes as no surprise that Bible detractors usually dismiss the writers of Scripture as “collaborators.” They say that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were from one written source. However, that argument does not hold up. While we can study and compare those Four Gospel Records, and see how they do oftentimes agree, in several places, these four books starkly depart from each other. John especially stands almost entirely alone. All the more reason to believe them as true! Why?

Consider today’s Scripture (Matthew): “[W]hose shoes I am not worthy to bear….” Mark’s version (1:7) says: “And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.” Finally, Luke’s version (3:16): “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose….” (John does not record this at all in his book!)

Notice how they do not read word-for-word. They are not supposed to read verbatim, either—that would certainly merit suspicion of collaboration! These accounts read differently… but, friend, fret not! They are four different men looking at the same John the Baptist (although, actually, the same Lord Jesus Christ) from four different perspectives. And, yet, the same Holy Spirit leading them all! Such unity in variety!