1 What Do You Do with What the Biblical Authors Taught?

➡ Average Reading Time: 4 minutes
About Silver Boxes…

A silver box like this one will appear in different sessions. The thoughts inside of the box will be reflections that:

  • might be a possible way of how we might live into the text today,
  • might be worth thinking about so that you might have a conversation among your friends.

Something To Think About…

Antinomian: Antinomians pushed an alternative belief system that Jude labeled as misguided. In today’s lingo, it would be called #FakeNews!. (See: http://wgriff.in/antinomianism)

A Way Forward!

Well, “What Do You Do with What the Biblical Teachers Taught?” is the $64,000 question. We have too often raced to the interpretation of Scripture as a one-to-one situation. Sometimes that is correct. Do not murder is pretty clear. It means do not murder. There are, however, other times when this one-to-one interpretation of a so-called application does not work. As an example, when in Leviticus 19.19 you read the following:

“Keep my decrees.
“Do not mate different kinds of animals.
Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed.
Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.”

The question expands. At first, we say, well, that’s in the First (Old) Testament and we are Second (New) Testament folks. This simplistic answer just simply doesn’t fly. When Timothy says:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” He was talking about what we now call the Old Testament.

That answer doesn’t fly either.

What to do?

Read the context. In the case of Leviticus, the context is about being holy, i.e., set apart for the purpose of God. So, in the passage quoted, it’s true to say something like the following:

Mating different kinds of animals, planting a field with two kinds of seed, and wearing clothes made of two kinds of material has to fit the context, i.e., being set apart to be holy.

It is probably fair to say that very few of us living in the modern Western world are mating different kinds of animals, planting with two kinds of seeds, but we most likely wear clothing with two kinds of material. So are we breaking the Old Testaments word? We should train ourselves to think a bit differently where a one-to-one literal application might not work. In those cases, and most of the time interpretation fits into this category, we have to think a bit more broadly.

How about this: mixing two kinds of animals, planting a field with two kinds of seeds, and even wearing clothing made with two kinds of material suggested to these Israelites a picture of making something unholy, i.e., mixed. So, for them, they may have physically done these things to remind themselves that they were to be holy, set apart to God.

An Israelite wore clothes made with one kind of material …

So what might we do with that passage today? Actually, the answer is easier than we think. Let’s take the last one of the three saying. An Israelite wore clothes made with one kind of material as a reminder that they were not to be fussing around with the gods of the land, but were to worship one God. The “one cloth” clothing was a daily reminder that they were to be a “one God” people.

All this is to say: as we interpret a New Testament passage, we try to interpret the text with its first hearer in mind thinking about the historical context. But, when it comes to living into this text today, we have a bit more lead way as the illustration from Leviticus may model for us.
We have too often raced to the interpretation of Scripture as a one-to-one situation. Should we? Click To Tweet So, in our work to interpret Jude, we will look at the passages with the first hearer in mind, but then we will ask how do we live into this text today as a Jesus community. It is at that point that it is fair within limits to look for a solution somewhat like the one I proposed above for the Leviticus passage. What can we see in our contemporary timeframe that the message of the book to its first hearers might allow? In this case, I think it is fair as one possible way of living into the message of Jude to see a coloration between the folks who had gained entrance into the early Jesus communities to provide an alternative message about Jesus and in today’s society the folks who live in the Jesus communities being invaded with those who are preaching a “different gospel,” a gospel of Fake News! being passed off as real news. At least that is the way in which I am going to present the material on Jude.

Hang on for the ride. I hope you find the material informative and useful to live into.

Keep these thoughts in mind as you begin your journey with this Jude series.


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Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)

Read Me First

 

Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.

 

I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Second

 

Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.

 

Happy Reading!

Read Me Third

 

The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.

 

Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.

 

Happy Reading!

Jesus Followers

 

There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.

 

(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)