Thursday, April 26, 2012

The eyes of a stranger

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I believe that in learning to read the Bible we need to learn to read it through Jewish eyes. I wanted to elaborate on that a little more.

While I was taking the class with Professor Robison, not only did I learn about how deep the Old Testament was engrained in the Jewish culture, but I also learned that in order to fully understand what is going on in scripture I must try to understand how they saw life. 

I can get really wordy and sometimes have a hard time expressing exactly what I want to say so to help me I will quote James Jefferes,

"One can always read some kind of meaning into a verse of scripture.  But those who understand that the books of the New Testament were written to specific people, in specific places, nearly two thousand years ago, know that this is not a good idea. If the New Testament texts were written to make sense to people in the first century, then we must try to put ourselves into their places in order to determine what the writers of the New Testament intended their readers to understand by what they wrote. If we try to make sense of the Bible with no knowledge of the people who wrote it, those who read it and the society in which they lived, we will be inclined to read into Scriptures our own society's values and ideas  This would be a major mistake since our culture is very different from that of the ancient Romans."

My wife and I discuss this quite frequently.  I do believe God's word is for us today the same as it was for them.  I believe those who don't know anything about scripture can get meaning, strength, and knowledge from it by the power of the Holy Spirit.  However, I think as we mature as Christians in order to fully understand what those teachers before us meant, we must try to understand them in a way outside ourselves...outside our church....outside our culture....outside our "religion."  We need to understand it in the way and in the context in which it was intended.

I have a few examples I want to share, but if I try to tack one on this post would get rather lengthy.  I have one started for tomorrow already.  Hope you check back then.

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