Jeremiah 13:23

Jeremiah 13:23 – Proof of Man’s Inability?

, posted by Matthew Murphy

Often cited as a proof text for the doctrine of Total Inability is Jeremiah 13:23, which reads,

Jeremiah 13:23
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.” (ESV)

The purpose of this post is to explain my reasons for rejecting Jeremiah 13:23 as a good proof-text for the doctrine of Total Inability.

I believe in the depravity of man, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t believe that Jeremiah 13:23 is the best proof-text for such a fundamental truth as this. When considered in context, I believe that this verse is not teaching that it is literally impossible for unsaved man to do any good. Needless to say, I don’t believe this verse is teaching mankind’s ‘Total Inability.’


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