G.K. Chesteron defined biblical paradox, or “God thoughts”, as “truth standing on her head to attract attention”. Paradoxical statements capture our attention because of their apparent contradiction – and motivate us to resolve the contradiction by learning and reflection.
A “paradox” is defined as a seemingly self-contradictory declaration but is in fact true. There are several interesting paradoxes in the Bible. Here are some examples:
EXALTATION THROUGH HUMILITY
James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.
STRENGTH THROUGH WEAKNESS
2 Corinthians 12:10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
FREEDOM THROUGH SERVITUDE
Romans 6:18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
LIVING THROUGH DYING
John 12:24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
FINDING THROUGH LOSING
Matthew 10:39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
God’s wisdom seems “backwards” and counterintuitive to us. WHY is this? According to the Bible, this is because OUR way of thinking is so backwards. WOW!
When God’s wisdom seems weird, or even foolish to us, it’s a sign that we believe in humanity’s ability to solve life’s deepest problems without the help of God and His revelation. His ways have not yet become our ways. But when we allow God to diagnose our deepest problems, the message of the Cross becomes both profound and wonderful.
One very important paradoxical lesson I’ve learned in my journey is not to apply worldly wisdom to my Christian walk. I must lean on His understanding. I must ask for His wisdom. And, when we are wholly His, walking and trusting in His ways, we are more ourselves than ever.
Laura serves on staff in the area of Partner Care. If you would like to communicate with Laura feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org