Skip to main content

Another semester down…

Well, it's official that I have finished another semester in my seemingly never-ending quest to get smart. I do not have grades yet, so I'm proceeding on a couple of assumptions: 1. I passed everything; 2. I could have done better. The latter is definitely true, and I hope for the former.

What did I learn these past 4.5 months?

I took the second semester of Hebrew. I learned that it doesn't get any easier in the second half. In fact, just like in football, if you dig too deep a hole in the first half, you can't come back. Other than that, I learned a great deal about the process and deep appreciation for those who translate the Scriptures into the common language of common people. Why? Because I'm not going to be doing my Old Testament readings in the original.

What did I learn for future reference? Cultural understanding is probably more important than pure language understanding: if you only grasp the English meaning of the Hebrew word, you haven't gained anything. You need to understand the way the Hebrews lived, what the land was like, what daily life was like. If you have that understanding in English that is better than a modern American life understanding in Hebrew. If you have an understanding of Israelite life in Hebrew, that's best.

I took Hermeneutics, which is the fancy word for the science of Biblical interpretation. There are principles of studying Scripture that can be learned and should be learned. I've been through this before, and it's a good study. It should be a part of what every church teaches in the process of discipleship---unfortunately we don't. The seminary coursework may be more detailed than everyone needs, but it's valid principles: try to understand what the words meant to the first people that saw them---then try to understand how that applies to us. Good stuff. Still waiting on my paper grade for that class, though. I may think I understand it and really don't.

Finally, there was the class that's right up my alley: History of Christianity. Really, any kind of history is fun. The truth is that I could study and read history all day, half the night, and then do it all again tomorrow. What did I learn from this? There's much of the heritage of where we have come from as believers that we just don't know. I'm not sure if being Baptist builds that ignorance or if it's just modern America, but we've got to get past this. It's fascinating to see that some of what we argue about today is the same stuff that was argued about years ago. And by years, I mean centuries.

One realization: Biblical Christianity has never truly defined a government---Constantine's Rome had to make immediate compromises, America was founded on a blend of Judeo-Christian Ethics and Natural Philosophy, and most other countries have flirted with blending religion and government. There's much more. Hopefully I'll get the chance to really chase the history studies as far as I'd like. We'll see.

That's this semester. In a few weeks, I'll be doing a one-week intensive in counseling. That'll be interesting….

Doug

Comments

  1. Congratulations on your progress, Doug! It can't be easy being a husband-dad-pastor-student all at once.

    Good work!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

To deal with SPAM comments, all comments are moderated. I'm typically willing to post contrary views...but I also only check the list once a day, so if you posted within the last 24 hours, I may not be to it yet.

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Independence Day 2017

I don’t know if Thomas Paine will be aggrieved that I paste his thoughts from Common Sense here, from the electronic edition. It’s a Public Domain work at this point, so hopefully none will be bothered that I am not paying for it...I think there is value in seeing the underlying reasons of Independence. I find a couple of things noteworthy in his introduction:First, he speaks of those who disagree and, while calling those out, holds the strength of his affirmative argument will be enough to straighten them out. We could do well to think more like that.Second, his final sentence should be a required view: the influence of reason and principle. Not self-interest masquerading as principle. Not party propaganda disguised as reason.That being said, not everything Paine said is right. If he and I lived at the same time, we’d argue religion over a great deal. However, the idea of “natural rights of man” follows from the idea of humanity as a special creation—that all are created equal and en…