Paradoxes of Scripture

“There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” (Proverbs 11:24)

“To get, we must give.” This is not the world’s method for attaining prosperity, but it is the paradoxical message of today’s verse, as well as that of Christianity in general.

Note some of the many other paradoxes in the Bible related to this basic truth.

  1. To really live, we must die. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).
  2. To save one’s life, he or she must lose it. “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33).
  3. To be wise, we must become fools. “If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise” (1 Corinthians 3:18).
  4. To reign, we must serve. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things” (Matthew 25:21).
  5. To be exalted, we must become humble. “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).
  6. To be first, we must be last. “So the last shall be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16).

Finally, note the ninefold paradox of a truly Christian ministry: “In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God. . . . By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:4, 8-10). HMM

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