The Bible doesn’t try very hard to answer our philosophical questions. In Genesis, where is the proof for God’s existence? What are his origins? Why isn’t God explained theologically? Knowledge of God in the Scriptures comes from personal encounter, not through human reasoning.
When I first read the Shema, the Jewish profession of faith, I assumed it was their Apostle’s Creed. I was shocked because I was looking for doctrines like the “communion of saints” and “forgiveness of sins,” not mundane realities like grass, fields and cows.
The modern Western worldview is far from the norm compared to the rest of the world. Could it be that our culture’s “uniqueness” also prevents us from understanding our Bibles?
I’m always fascinated by the question of what we need to know, culturally, to understand our Bibles better. So I enjoyed the essay at this link by James Kugel, a Jewish biblical scholar, about a fundamental disconnect between the worldview of the Bible and of our Western world today. It’s from an essay on Psalm […]
I used to think that Jesus’ command to make disciples simply meant teaching people certain beliefs about God, helping them to accept Christ as Lord, and then educating them in doctrinal truth later on. Though all these are important, this way of defining discipleship showed that I, like many westerners, approached the gospel primarily as […]
We modern Christians struggle more to understand our Bibles than many people throughout history.
Many of us miss the fact the flood story gives a profound answer to one of the most difficult questions posed by philosophers today: how a good God can tolerate human evil in the world.
In Walter Ong’s classic book Orality and Literacy, he shares a fascinating theory about why our modern Western culture thinks so differently than the way the Bible does. Eastern thinking, like what you find in the Old Testament, is very concrete and image-oriented, and it uses stories and parables to explain rather than abstract logic. […]
What our eyesight can teach us about having a biblical perspective.