The Sum of Thy Word
There isn’t a single verse in the Bible that says that Peter, who was with Jesus Christ at the time of His arrest, cut off the right ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest, and Jesus healed it. Nevertheless, the Bible teaches it!
According to Matthew 26:51 and Mark 14:47, somebody with Jesus pulled out a sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Luke 22:50-51 says that it was the right ear, and Jesus healed him. John 18:10 adds that Peter was the one who drew a sword, and the servant’s name was Malchus.
Some people would look at these four passages and claim that there is some kind of a contradiction, since they don’t all say the exact same thing. There would be a contradiction if one account said that Malchus’ left ear had been cut off. All four accounts are correct, but each contains additional details. There are no contradictions in the Bible, just passages that people don’t know how to put together.
Many false doctrines come about because people look at a single verse, without looking at all the other verses that speak on the subject. Martin Luther latched on to the verses that spoke of salvation by faith, like Romans 5:1, without looking at supplemental verses like 1 Peter 3:21. Premillennialists look at Revelation 20 without looking at the supplemental information in John 5:28-29. Sabbatarians teach from Deuteronomy 5:12, where God commands to keep the Sabbath day, without looking also at verse 15, where God specifies that the command was given to the Jewish people as a reminder of the time when they were slaves in the land of Egypt.
“The sum of thy word is truth; And every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth forever.” (Psalm 119:160). We need to look, not just to God’s Word, but to the sum of God’s Word, in order to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
By Timothy W. Carignan