Wisdom-Trek / Creating a Legacy
Welcome to Day 1246 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.
I am Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom
Mastering the Bible -Inspiration Timeline – 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 1246 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. Our focus for the next several months on Worldview Wednesday is Mastering the Bible, through a series of brief insights. These insights are extracted from a book of the same title 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 intended. Each week we will explore two insights.
Mastering the Bible – Inspiration Timeline
Insight Nine: The Setting of a Biblical Story Wasn’t Necessarily the Time Which It Was Written
Most of us who read the Bible with regularity consider its contents factually true. Because that’s the case, many readers are prone to assume that what they’re reading was written at the same time as the events described, or at least, very close to the time of those events. Sometimes that assumption isn’t far from reality, but in many instances, that isn’t the case.
For example, most scholars would place the earliest of the four Gospels within a few decades of Jesus’s life. The reason for that gap in time is clear from a close reading of the New Testament. The apostles thought that the Lord’s bodily return to rule and reign was imminent (Romans [13:11]; 1 Peter 4:7; James 5:8; Hebrews [10:25]-27). When it became apparent that Jesus might not return in their lifetimes, there was a sense of urgency to put what they had experienced and heard during their time with Jesus into writing for posterity.
As it turned out, the entirety of the New Testament was written by roughly AD 100, just over a half-century after the death and resurrection of Jesus. In comparison to other historical works of the ancient world, that’s a short span of time. According to the chronology that can be gleaned from the book of Acts, the epistles were written within a few months or years of Paul’s ministry in the congregations to which they were written.
When it comes to the Old Testament, things are different. Even if we presume Moses recorded the lives of the patriarchs in Genesis, he would have been writing several centuries after the fact. Many Old Testament books have unknown authors, which makes it difficult to align their events and their authorship. As we’ll see in later insights, the books that detail Israel’s story from the exodus to the monarchy (e.g., Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Joshua through 2 Kings) contain evidence that they were written several centuries after the events they describe.
The gaps between the event and its recording are no reason to assume inaccuracy. External sources and disciplines such as archaeology show that the contents of these books are coherent and in concert with the times they portray. Ancient societies had strong oral historical traditions. Present-day historians who study oral cultures tell us that the people of these cultures can memorize prodigious amounts of material with exactitude. Modern cultures that adopt writing have no need for this discipline. So despite our unfamiliarity with oral history, it would have been commonplace in distant antiquity. Finally, the fact that parts of Israel’s history hadn’t yet been written in a book doesn’t mean that it wasn’t written elsewhere. We know Old Testament writers had sources. The absence of one doesn’t require the absence of the other.
When it comes to understanding Scripture, we need to educate ourselves on both timelines, the events portrayed, and the time of writing. Understanding both will help us recover the perspective of both the biblical characters and the writers.
Insight Ten: Everything in the Bible Isn’t About Jesus
If you’ve been a Christian for very long or were raised in a Christian church, chances are that you’ve heard that the entire Bible is really about Jesus. That cliché has some truth to it, but it’s misleading.
Dr. Heiser explains it this way…The truth is that there’s a lot in the Bible that isn’t about Jesus. Procedures for diagnosing and treating leprosy (Leviticus 13:1—[14:57]) aren’t about Jesus. Laws forbidding people who’ve had sex or lost blood (Leviticus 15) from entering sacred space aren’t about Jesus. The spiritual, social, and moral corruption in the days of the Judges (Judges 17— 21) wasn’t put in the Bible to tell us about Jesus. The Tower of Babel incident (Genesis 11:1—9) doesn’t point us to Jesus. When Ezra commanded Jews who’d returned from exile to divorce the gentile women they’d married (Ezra 9—10), he wasn’t foreshadowing anything about Jesus.
The point is straightforward. No Israelite would have thought of a messianic deliverer when reading these or many other passages. And no New Testament writer alludes to them to explain who Jesus was or what he said.
So why is this idea so prevalent? In Dr. Heiser’s experience, the prevailing motivation seems to be offered to encourage people to read their Bibles. That’s a good incentive. But it may also serve as an excuse to avoid the hard work of figuring out what’s really going on in many passages. People are taught to extrapolate what they read to some point of connection with the life and ministry of Jesus, no matter how foreign to Jesus the passage appears. Imagination isn’t a good method for interpreting the Bible. Not only does it lack boundaries that prevent flawed interpretations, and even heresies, but it makes Scripture serve our ability to be clever.
Recognizing the inaccuracy of this assumption is important for a few simple but important reasons. First, if we filter passages that aren’t about Jesus through something Jesus did and said, we can’t hope to understand what those passages are actually about and why God had them in the Bible in the first place. Second, the assumption can lead to minimizing or ignoring passages in which we can’t clearly see Jesus. When Jesus isn’t “clear” in a given passage, and we’ve been taught that it’s somehow about him, it’s easy to just give up and let pastors and others tell us what they “see.” Every passage in the Bible is there for a reason. If we want to understand Scripture, we need to let it be what it is and discover its true context.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
That will conclude this week’s lesson on another 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 our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
If you would like to listen to any of our past 1245 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 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!