Ever been concerned about inconsistencies or discrepancies in the Bible? I’ve recently come across a memorable quotation from Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444). Interesting how he connects the ethic of the Sermon on the Mount to the hermeneutics of biblical interpretation:
“The peacemaker is one who demonstrates to others the symphony of the apparent conflict between the Scriptures, as between the Old and the New, the legal and the prophetic, or between the Gospels. For this, as one who imitates the Son of God, he will receive a spirit of adoption and be called a son of God” (Comm. Matt. frag. 38, on Matt 5:9).
I have found that people tend to approach the Bible with either an attitude of complete skepticism or uncritical naïveté. Much better, methinks, is an approach that recognizes that tensions and problems do exist, but that seeks to give the texts some benefit of the doubt before dismissing problematic differences as irreconcilable.