Knowing vs Knowing – Sep 23, 2022

Forty years ago I wrote a research paper on Plato, the Greek philosopher.  I remember that he lived in Athens and was the student of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle.  I remember he wrote “The Cave” and, with a little review, I could list his other works.  I believe there are three primary works that have stood the test of time.  So it’s fair to say I “know” Plato.  Four years before I wrote that college paper I started dating a girl in high school.  Forty-four years later she is still the central (human) player in my life.  So it’s also fair to say that I “know” Kelly.  Readers, you probably recognize that there is a qualitative difference between the way I know Plato and the way I know my wife.  Context, and a little knowledge, is what clued you in.  It would probably be grammatically accurate to say that I know about Plato and I know my wife, but often we only get context, not grammar clues.

Attached is a great article about the Hebrew word for “knowledge” (Da’at).  Turns out that in most cases when speaking of knowledge of God (as in Proverbs 1:7), or knowledge of the Bible (as in Psalm 119 where David uses “keep,” “meditate” and “understand” long before he uses da’at in verse 66), we are instructed to know experientially!   Consider that definition of “knowing” as you contemplate your knowledge of God and His Word.  It’s great that I can recite Genesis 1:1; it’s even better that I talked to my Creator just this morning! 🙂 

Blessings,

Pastor Scott

Cultural Interpretation – September 16, 2022

Had a great text question two weeks ago when I was preaching on the Ant & the Sluggard in Proverbs.  At some point in the message I must have discussed saving for retirement, because the texter wondered if that was just us reading American values back into the biblical text.  The short answer was yes, but from whence were those values formed?  It seems to me that saving in a time of plenty against a time of want isn’t just in Proverbs; it was exemplified by Joseph’s management of the famine in Egypt.  Perhaps as those teachings, of frugality and saving for lean times, passed from the Old Testament practices to the New Testament believers they were incorporated into the culture.  On the one hand it can easily be seen that it’s wise to have something put away for tomorrow.  On the other hand, the Bible is rife with warnings about loving money and trusting in it, about discontentment, and about being uncharitable in the face of another’s need.

How each person balances all those scriptural admonitions is up to them, but I’m also sure it’s heavily influenced by their culture.  When I was in the Canary Islands I witnessed many generational homes.  Each family built on according to their income and ability, while taking care of their parents and children, with the certainty that their kids would do the same.   So the wise thing for them was to invest in the family homestead. In America, as we have moved into the city, it’s considered responsible to save something so as not to be a burden (2 Thess 3:10), but that cultural interpretation doesn’t mean that an American Christian should fail to honor his Father and Mother, nor does it mean that the Islanders should be sluggards.

Never stop learning!  Explore other (traditional) cultural views of Scripture to see how they might add to understanding, but don’t forget that translation and interpretation is the Holy Spirit’s primary function.  Trust Him to handle your understanding as you dig into the whole of Scripture*  and don’t discount our traditional understanding unless there is a clear contextual reason to do so!! 

Remember when the Holy Spirit translated in real time?  

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.  And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.  Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?  And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?  Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”  So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”
Acts 2:1-12 NKJV
Thinking about Babies and Bathwater,
Pastor Scott

*Remember context is king!

The Problem of Sin – September 2, 2022

“Why didn’t God just create me ‘good’?”  Have you ever felt that way?  Questions like these come up when we’re witnessing.  C.S. Lewis had a great answer.  Spend a few minutes internalizing his logic so you are more ready next time someone asks for the reason you have hope!  ~Pastor Scott

God created things which had free will. That means creatures which can go either wrong or right. Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible. Why, then, did God give them free will? Because free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having. A world of automata—of creatures that worked like machines—would hardly be worth creating. The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 47-48.