Wisdom-Trek / Creating a Legacy
Welcome to Day 1226 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.
I am Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom
Mastering the Bible – Let It Be – Worldview Wednesday
Wisdom – the final frontier to true knowledge. Welcome to Wisdom-Trek where our mission is to create a legacy of wisdom, to seek out discernment and insights, and to boldly grow where few have chosen to grow before.
Hello, my friend, I am Guthrie Chamberlain, your captain on our journey to increase wisdom and create a living legacy. Thank you for joining us today as we explore wisdom on our 2nd millennium of podcasts. This is Day 1226 of our trek, and it is Worldview Wednesday. Creating a Biblical worldview is important to have a proper perspective on today’s current events.
To establish a Biblical worldview, you must also have a proper understanding of God and His Word. This week we begin a new series to assist us in building our Biblical worldview. Our focus for the next several months on Worldview Wednesday will be Mastering the Bible through a series of brief insights. This is another book from one of today’s most prominent Hebrew Scholars Dr. Micheal S. Heiser. This book is a collection of insights designed to help you understand the Bible better. When we let the Bible be what it is, we can understand it as the original readers did, and as its writers did. Each week we will explore two insights.
Mastering the Bible – Let It Be
Insight One: Let the Bible Be What It Is
Dr. Heiser unpacks that statement a bit. Letting the Bible be what it is means interpreting the Bible in its own context. Bible students talk a lot about interpreting the Bible in context. When most readers consider context, they think about the verses preceding and following whatever passage they happen to be looking at. Context involves much more.
There are many different contexts that, even today, dictate how we should understand what we read. For example, the world in which we live provides a context. If I wrote the word “text” on a blackboard today in a room full of college students and asked what the word means, I would hear very different answers than I would have heard twenty years ago. Students today would immediately think of a wireless, electronic message. Their worldview is dominated by technology. That wouldn’t have been true a few decades ago. That was a different world.
The type of writing or document dictates how we should understand what’s written. In literary terms, this refers to a genre. If I was looking at the word “court” in a legal document, I’d interpret the word much differently than if I was holding a tennis magazine. The word “treat” in a doctor’s note means something different than it would if you found it on a grocery list. Genre is a context that is crucial for interpretation.
There are many other examples. Your culture, religious thinking, political system, family unit, and social structure all influence how you process the Bible. We might know that intellectually, but we often fail to embrace the fact that the Biblical writers wrote for their immediate audience, who had contexts quite different than our own.
Interpreting the Bible in context means interpreting it in light of the worldview in which it was produced. Filtering the Bible through our worldview or any worldview that came after the biblical period means altering how the Bible was originally meant to be read. We need to let the Bible be what it is, an ancient work from another time and place. To apply the Bible to our lives accurately, we need to know what it actually teaches.
Insight Two: Don’t Second-Guess God’s Decisions in Inspiration
In Dr. Heiser’s experience, some Bible students are concerned that the worldview disconnection between us and the ancient biblical writers means that the Bible can’t speak to issues of our time. That isn’t the case. While the Bible is a premodern and prescientific book, the truths it asserts are timeless.
We need to trust God’s wisdom in inspiration. If God had wanted to inspire Scripture in a modern age, he could have done so. It was God who decided to prepare men living between the second millennium BC and the first century AD to produce the books of the Bible. It was God who decided that they were ready for the task, despite cultural attitudes that we would deem backward. It was God who didn’t require the writers to have the advanced scientific and technological knowledge to write everlasting truth. These were God’s choices.
God’s choices were good choices. God is not incompetent. God intended Scripture to be applicable to people who would live well beyond the first century. He also intended Scripture to be understood by the people who received it originally. Since God is omniscient, he could have given writers living thousands of years ago advanced knowledge without their knowing it. But that knowledge could not have been understood by anyone reading the text until millennia later. Millions of people living prior to our time would have had no hope of understanding their Bible. That would have defeated the communicative purpose of the Bible. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Acts 20:27, “for I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know.” If that were the case, the Bible would not have been comprehensible, which undermines inspiration’s purpose as stated in 2 Timothy 3:17, “God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
God in his wisdom prepared ancient people to express truths that are independent of the knowledge base of one particular time. Ancient people were entirely capable of communicating fundamentally significant ideas that are absolutely relevant today, that God is creator, that people were created as His image-bearers, that human life is sacred, that people cannot provide their own salvation from sin, that there is good and evil, and so on.
As we’ll see later, this perspective is important for understanding what the Bible says in certain places. It’s also critical for apologetics. Hostile critics of Scripture often belittle it for being premodern. But this criticism only has weight if the Bible was intended to contain modern knowledge but falls short. Nothing about inspiration presumes this, and so the criticism amounts to being angry with the Bible for not being what it was never intended to be. That’s deeply flawed logic. But we play into the hands of the antagonist when we try to make the Bible something it isn’t. We must honor God’s wise choice to inspire it in the time and place he did.
That will conclude our lesson on the first two insights from Dr. Heiser’s book “Mastering the Bible.” Next Worldview Wednesday, we will continue with two additional insights. I believe you will find each Worldview Wednesday an interesting topic to consider as we build our Biblical worldview.
Tomorrow we will continue with our 3-minute humor nugget that will provide you with a bit of cheer and help you to lighten up and live a rich and satisfying life. So encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along with us tomorrow for another day of Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
If you would like to listen to any of our past 1225 treks or read the Wisdom Journal, they are available at Wisdom-Trek.com. I encourage you to subscribe to Wisdom-Trek on your favorite podcast player so that each day’s trek will be downloaded automatically.
Thank you so much for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most of all, your friend as I serve you through the Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal.
As we take this trek together, let us always:
- Live Abundantly (Fully)
- Love Unconditionally
- Listen Intentionally
- Learn Continuously
- Lend to others Generously
- Lead with Integrity
- Leave a Living Legacy Each Day
I am Guthrie Chamberlain reminding you to Keep Moving Forward, Enjoy Your Journey, and Create a Great Day Everyday! See you tomorrow!