Presentation on theme: " For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; (Romans 10:12) There."— Presentation transcript:
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; (Romans 10:12) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.(Galatians 3:28)
800 BC, Greek culture arose to the north. Around 200 BC the Greeks began to move south and the two vastly different cultures collided. Over the following 400 years finally the Greek culture won and virtually eliminated all trace of the ancient Hebrew culture. Greek culture in turn influenced all following cultures including the Roman, European and modern Western.
We read the Hebrew Bible as if a 21st Century Westerner had written it. To understand the mindset of the ancient Hebrew culture in which the Bible was written, we must examine some of the differences between Hebrew and Greek thought. This understanding will revolutionise the way we do church!
Greek thought describes objects in relation to its appearance. Hebrew thought describes objects in relation to its function. E.g. Deer and Oak Long Yellow Pencil I write words with it
The Greek culture describes objects in relation to the object itself. The Hebrew culture describes objects in relation to the Hebrew himself. Greek: Pencil is yellow Hebrew: I write Greek: God is love Hebrew: God loves me
Greek nouns refer to person, place or thing Hebrew nouns refer to action of person, place or thing, e.g. Greek: knee Hebrew: part of body that bends Greek: present Hebrew: what is brought on bent knee In Hebrew, knee and present are connected
Greek: father Hebrew: the one who gives strength to the family Greek: mother Hebrew: the one that binds the family together
Characteristic of Greek thinking Static, peaceful, moderate Characteristic of Hebrew thinking Dynamic, vigorous, passionate, explosive
Hebrew world is changeable and in motion Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. (Isa. 41:15)
Even stones and rock are movable and externally alterable: The mountains skipped like rams, The hills, like lambs. (Ps. 114:4) For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken, Says the LORD who has compassion on you. (Isa. 54:10)
Greek View of God Argues the existence of God Attempts to explain inconsistencies and harmonize contradictions systematically Understands God philosophically Considers God as pure being or in a static sense Tries to box God into limited human scope of things Tends to confine God to limited human definitions and descriptions Concepts: God is love
Hebrews’ view of God Assumes the existence of God Thrives on the inconsistencies and contradictions of the one awe- inspiring God Filled with wonder at the mystery of God, the vastness of God and his uninvestigatible ways leaves them awestruck Understands God functionally and pictorially, in terms of personality and activity Open and expansive. Verbs: a God who loves Focuses efforts on pursuing God and the character and qualities that determine His makeup. Pursues life and God to the fullest, rather than spending time passively trying to define Him.
Hebrew - primarily a language of senses. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither. (Psalms 1:3) Anger means "nose", a concrete word. Slow to nose!
look is to lift up the eyes (Gen. 22:4) be angry is to burn in one’s nostrils (Ex. 4:14) disclose something or reveal something is to unstop one’s ears (Ruth 4:4) have no compassion is hard heartedness (1 Sam. 6:6) stubborn is stiff-necked (2 Chr. 30:8; Acts 7:51) get ready or brace yourself is gird up your loins (Jer. 1:17) to be determined is set one’s face (Jer. 42:15, 17; Lk. 9:51) nothing is breath or wind (Ps. 62:9; Ec. 5:16)
Using anthropomorphisms (representations of God with human attributes) Ten Commandments are said to be ‘inscribed by the finger of God’ (Ex. 31:18) ‘Surely the arm of [YHWH] is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull too hear’ (Isa. 59:1) ‘The eyes of [YHWH] are everywhere’ (Prov. 15:3) Using Theriomorphisms (representations of God with animal attributes) YHWH is described as having wings and feathers (Ps. 91:4).
In the entire Old Testament we do not find a single description of an objective ‘photographic’ appearance. Noah’s ark the Tabernacle Solomon’s Temple and Palace
When considering man, the Israelite first seeks his qualities But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)
Anthropomorphic (e.g. man of war in Exodus 15:3, Lord, king, father, etc.) Theriomorphic (e.g. having wings and feathers in Ps. 91:4). These descriptions of YHWH are not actual descriptions of God’s physical form but figurative expressions which describe his qualities with poetic licence.
One third of the Bible is poetry. Poetry requires the reader to enter into a linguistic and artistic relationship with the author. Poetry is a means for YHWH Elohim to engage and connect intellectually, emotionally and spiritually with His chosen people.
The Greek mindset results in passivity and apathy. TV-obsessed entertainment-prone spectator-minded watching life rather than living it. truth an idea to be contemplated
Dangers for the Western Church: church becomes a spectator sport chairs (or pews) arranged theatre-style facing a stage where the ‘hired holy man’ titillates emotions and tickles ears of their fans for an hour or two on Sunday morning churchgoers receive their weekly fix of religio- entertainment their lives remain largely prayerless, biblically illiterate and evangelizingless they become spiritual “couch potatoes.”
The Hebrew mindset tends towards engaging with life. energetic living life to the full truth an experience to be lived, a deed to be done
Martin Luther : “a special energy” in Hebrew Bible. In his struggle to translate the Hebrew Bible into German, Luther discovered it is impossible to convey so much so briefly in any other language. Luther said, “In it [the Hebrew language] we hear God speak…”
To the Hebrew mind, everything is theological. Hebrews make no distinction between the sacred and the secular areas of life. It is all God’s domain. ‘I have set YHWH always before me’ (Ps. 16:8) ‘In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make our paths straight’ (Prov. 3:6).
Western mindset. Religion is seen as a system of ethics, a code of conduct, an ideology, or a creed. Hebrew mindset. Religion is a daily life of faith in terms of a journey, the way in which a person chose to walk. Enoch and Noah ‘walked with God’ (Gen. 5:24; Gen 6:9).