Re: 2:7-8 and Contradictions?

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Wed Sep 24 1997 - 01:12:55 EDT

Well, since I was the one who started this thread but had to miss all
the fun, being busy all day, perhaps it is only fair if I get the last

Thanks, Jim. Let me cite something from Barnes regarding the old/new
commandment controversy:

        It is called new, not because there was no command before
        which required men to love their fellow-man, for one great
        precept of the law was that they should love their neighbor
        as themselves (Lev 19:18); but it was new because it had
        never before been made that by which any class or body of
        men had been known and distinguished . . . Christians
        were to be distinguished by tender and constant attachment
        to each other . . . as I have loved you, that ye also love one
        another. (Jn 13:34)

So, in this sense it is both an old commandment and a new one, but
surely this cannot be construed as being contradictory, as Jim points
out. They are contradictory only if the existence of one rules out the
possibility of the existence of the other. They do not.

Furthermore, when John says, OUK ENTOLHN KAINHN GRAFW, in v. 7,
then, ENTOLHN KAINHN GRAFW, in v. 8, this would be contradictory only
if the "new commandments" were identical. Clearly, they are not. The
ENTOLHN KAINHN is explained as the law of love before Christ came; the
second as the law of love after Christ came.

Paul Dixon

Dr. Paul S. Dixon, Pastor
Wilsonville, Oregon

On Tue, 23 Sep 1997 17:26:28 -0400 Jim Beale <> writes:
>On Sep 23, 5:08pm, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>> To me, every paradox contains a contradiction, but truth is often
>> expressed in paradox.
>Properly, a paradox is a statement that only *seems* contradictory
>yet is not actually contradictory. There are plenty of things in
>the Bible that are paradoxical, mostly because of the relation of
>time and eternity. Paradoxes arise through the ancient yet new
>question of the One and the Many. This question is at the heart
>of every philosophical problem that confounds modern philosophers;
>it is at the heart of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. The
>great thing about Christianity is that it provides the framework
>within which to *resolve* those problems, but that discussion is
>for another time and another place.
>I'd be very happy if you would soften your stance to saying that
>such things as you adduced are paradoxical (seemingly but not
>actually contradictory). Our job is to try to understand them,
>not to declare that they can never be understood!
>In Christ,
>Jim Beale

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