Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Biblical Paradigms are Persistent...

I was reminded again yesterday how hard it is to gain a historical sense of the books of the Bible. We are so programmed growing up to read the Bible as one book from God to me. And that "one book" tends to be whatever version we grew up with with whatever meanings we grew up hearing. Half of what we call "the Bible" is inherited tradition about the Bible.

People get upset when you mess with stuff they think is the Bible, whether it was really the Bible or not. Take the three wise men. The Bible doesn't say there were three, period. But some people will fight you tooth and nail on this one.

I'm not quite sure how to create "aha" moments. For example, although I don't mind if someone uses the King James Version, I would like a person to do so in a way that actually makes sense. As hard as it is to believe, there are actually Christians who do think Peter and Paul wrote their parts of the King James. It is flabbergasting to me how difficult it can be to help someone understand how much work has gone into trying to figure out what the "first editions" of the Bible might have said.

Concepts like "original meaning" or "original manuscript" are incredibly hard sometimes to get across. I'm not quite sure how to do it. We are so thoroughly unreflective and pre-modern in the way we read the Bible. We throw all the normal common sense of reading something out the window. Instead of following the way one sentence leads to the next, we rip sentences out and put them on a poster.

Some of the things people believe in the name of the Bible are almost unimaginable...

3 comments:

Mike Holmes said...

One way of creating "aha" moments is to teach the history of the English Bible, from Wycliffe on. "Wycliffe" is usually a recognized name (if only from Wycliffe Translators), and to hear that "there was no Bible in English prior to Wycliffe in the late 1300's" often gets people to thinking--and learning that the KJV is a revision of a revision of a revision of Tyndale's work is another eye-opener. Doesn't always work, but usually works as a way to open up the topic.

Mark Kennedy said...

'We are so thoroughly unreflective and pre-modern in the way we read the Bible.' This is one of the things I appreciate Barth and Thielecke for--not afraid to be modern, yet take Scripture seriously. Americans might be Bloesch and Ramm.

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