Bible Contradiction: Should We Pray For Everyone?

Paul offers up instruction in the book of Timothy to give prayer and supplications to all men. However, critics note a number of verses in Jeremiah that appear to say otherwise.

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (1 Timothy 2:1)

In this verse, Paul gives a general instruction to pray, intercede, and give thanks to all men. This is “good and acceptable” in the eyes of the Lord, who “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).”

Critics have noted that the book of Jeremiah contradicts this instruction in 7:16 and 11:14 respectively.

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. (Jeremiah 7:16)

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble. (Jeremiah 11:14)

Should this be a cause for concern? Not at all. We can ask how this acts as a contradiction when the writings themselves are hundreds of years apart. The writers find themselves in different time periods, under entirely different circumstances and, most importantly, covenants. A change of conditions could very well happen over the course of hundreds of years as people change.

We can also address this the same way we addressed another popular contradiction (link below). Is God’s command not an exception to the rule? It is an exception and command only God can decree and He does so to the people of Israel in Jeremiah during a time where they were turning to false idols. At the same time, they were standing before God, thinking they were safe (7:9-10). Is God handing Israel this punishment today? Obviously not. There is, therefore, no contradiction between these verses.

Links

Bible contradiction: is long hair right or wrong?

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