2H. You Bet I’m Correct Approach

➡ Average Reading Time: 2 minutes

Our culture has taught us right and wrong. This is not bad, mind you. But when we take non-bendable sides as if we have the only truth and all other is false, we have placed ourselves in the seat of God. Because we live in the “cult of individuality,” we believe our individual interpretation is correct, which leads us to believe that everyone else who interprets differently is incorrect. There is another side. In 1624, John Donne wrote in Devotions, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent….”[ref]“John Donne, Meditation XVII: No man is an island…” Indiana State University [document online]; available from http://isu.indstate.edu/ilnprof/ENG451/ISLAND/; (accessed December 27, 2010).[/ref] He caught a glimpse of the fact that deep in the breast of humankind lies a desire to be a part of a community. God created it to be so. Our cultural selective value of individualism runs counter to what God created us to be a part of. This is why there is so much tension and frustration in today’s society. We seek what we were not created to be. This story tells us that humankind will only achieve its highest potential when it gives in to God’s creative forces and separates itself from the culture’s selective position.[ref]Winn Griffin. God’s EPIC Adventure. 62.[/ref]

Our cultural selective value of individualism runs counter to what God created us to be a part of.

So, in the age of individualism, which has created the “cult of individuality,” we have come to believe that we are the final decider of what is correct and what is not. And we bring that concept to our reading of Scripture. In doing so, we have forgotten the concept of community, which is the bedrock of the story of Scripture. We need to often remind ourselves that the “you” word in Paul is more often plural than singular. A person can only be the best individual that she/he can be inside a community. It seems to me that communities are not limited to a church at the corner of walk and don’t walk whose focus is Sunday meetings of the saints.

Reflective Thinking
Here are some thoughts to ponder:

  • What conclusion(s) could you draw after reading this section on individual devotional readings of the text?
  • Is all interpretative reading of the text correct? Why or Why not?
  • What parts of the forgoing section did you agree or disagree with? Why?

Well, if most followers of Jesus are not going to spend time learning the historical approach and the devotional approach has dangers that can lead to malnutrition, how do we read the text?


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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.)

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.)