Opinions on faith and life

Familiarity Breeds Content

2008-05-28

The recent post about Ephesians and interlinears, Dead Wrong, prompted me to say a little more about how much time we waste in the typical Bible study. I was in “Sunday School” for 43 years and really just kept getting the same set of lessons, over and over, filling in the blanks with all the rest. But not one of my teachers ever broke open an interlinear or did anything with the original languages beyond repeating the (alleged) many Greek types of “love”. It’s a terrible shame.

People wage war over which translation is best without having any clue what the issues really are, and even make bold pronouncements on which Greek text is the “right” one without even being able to so much as recite the letters of the Greek alphabet. They get their scholarship from other equally clueless people who sound authoritative and frequently don’t comprehend their own source material.

And I believe it all flows from a basic fear of personal study, especially the common idea that the average believer is not to be trusted with reading the Bible on their own. Elitism did not die out with the invention of the printing press which put copies of the Bible into more people’s hands. Many translators were burned at the stake because it was (and still is) believed that only a select few are capable of studying the Bible and therefore qualified to tell all the peons what it means.

Jesus bypassed the religious elite and went directly to the people. He only hid things from those who refused to see, especially those who thought so highly of themselves. He expressly stated, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children” (Mt. 11:25).

It does take expertise to make an interlinear, I don’t deny that. But it does not require such expertise to read it; otherwise, what’s the point? Yes, a person who reads an interlinear must understand parts of speech and all the basic components of grammar, and it certainly is a large part of the context to read up on the history and literature of the time. But those things are within the grasp of most speakers of English, which is why it’s such a shame that people aren’t being properly trained in these things. If we are ignorant, it is the fault of our teachers, who never saw to it that we learned these vital things, for the ultimate goal of digging into the scriptures.

Think about the possibilities! Can you imagine the revolution that would result from every believer being educated instead of merely being indoctrinated? Christians should be trained in the history of Bible times; they should be familiar with the important literature and idioms of the language; they should be told about religious concepts that the writers were talking about and opposing; they should understand grammar (blame the government indoctrination camps for that!); they should study the great difficulties involved in translation. So much to learn, so little time! Why are we wasting it all??

Basic stories that instill people with values such as compassion and honesty are fine-- for children. But with the writer of Hebrews we must lament the lack of maturity in many believers, their remaining infants who need to be spoon-fed. I don’t care how many years it’s been done, or how hard it would be to find qualified teachers. It’s a waste of time to put people in classes they never graduate from. Let’s change the curriculum, for Heaven’s sake! Where is the outrage over this school that trains no one?

Familiarity with the scriptures will not breed heresy but contentment; knowing the content of the scriptures will be the truth that sets us free-- free from the tyranny of elitism and sectarian bias. An army of believers isn’t an army unless it is armed and trained. What have our “generals” been up to all this time? Why are they continually sending us out to battle in diapers? What will God say to them as he reviews their “service”?

2 Comments

Lin

Paula, It is because it is the opposite of what we think it is. If the masses at church are seriously taught they will grow past the shepherd and that cannot be tolerated.

It fits in with the rise of authoritarianism we are seeing these days. (It has always been there but it is getting nastier) With more and more resources at our fingertips to study the Word, the rhetoric is getting louder and bolder about hierarchies, Patriarchy, eternal subordination of the Jesus Christ, headship in marriage, etc.

Check out this quote from Russell Moore a Dean at SBTS:

Moore: Feminism actually started in the Middle East between the Tigress and the Euphrates rivers when you have God saying to Adam, “Because you listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree which I have commanded of you you shall not eat, you have a man charged to protect his wife and provide for his wife who now abandons that protection and brings her into danger. That’s the beginning of feminism. That there’s no distinction of roles and instead there is this false equality.

(Why do pastors need to listen?) Because most of the people in the churches are feminists and most of the people in our churches are in same sex marriages right now, they just don’t realize it. Because you have people who have marriages that in which you do not have male headship. You do not have male protection and you do not have provision for wives. And so this isn’t a theoretical issue, this is something that is a Gospel issue. That’s why the Apostle Paul says, “A man who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel. He says that because the man is an infidel. He’s a blasphemer. A man who will not protect and provide is blaspheming the Gospel of Christ in his church.

Here is the source: http://resources.christianity.com/details/mrki/20070501/d2de20cd-e931-4593-9ba8-71907cc50ce0.aspx

Think about this! In the context of this panel discussion, he is saying that most comp marriages are like ’SAME SEX’ marriages! He is saying these COMP women are feminists and their husbands are wimps!

Think about this.... YOu really think this man wants EDUCATED Christians? The only way he can sell his view is to SHAME and insult people into thinking if they are not more Patriarchal they are in a SAME SEX marriage! I mean, this is over the top. These people are resorting to the most insidious tactics. Can you imagine how the ordinary, uneducated in the Word, male will take this?

You are right. The only hope for Christianity is for people to immerse themselves in self study of the Word with all the resources at our disposal for free. I tell my SS class this every time. We have NO excuses.

Paula Fether

Thanks Lin, that quote really does show how bad it is now. Many comps refuse to believe that their teachings lead virtually to Islamic or Mormon theology (or pretty much every religion in the world). Male supremacism is the "ism" that bows to society, since all of society for most of human history has been misogynistic.

Such pride! They are tearing the Body of Christ in half. And instead of endlessly arguing with these brainwashed, prideful churches, we need to form new ones that work as Jesus directed, where ALL obey his command "not so among you".

Somehow we need to reach large numbers of egals and get them trained.