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Source: (consider it) Thread: Cherry Picking
Andromeda
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Do you cherry pick from the bible? I find it virtually impossible not to. Take Isaiah, certain snippets of it come up regularly in daily readings etc, but other bits of it (for example chapter 13) never seem to make the cut!

Do you treat the bible homogeneously? Is all of it equally inspired? What do you do with the hard bits? Are we supposed to eat the cherries and spit out the pips? Some bits are easy to savour, while others turn sour in the stomach.

How do you approach the bible? I haven't been able to read it in anger for over a decade because I just struggle with is so much.

Sorry if this has been discussed before, or if this is the wrong forum. I wasn't sure whether to post in Purg or here.

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Moo

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The Bible is a collection of writings, written at different times by people with different histories. There is a longstanding thread where people complain about passages they don't like.

If I were you, I would read the parts that appeal to me and skip the rest until you become curious about it.

Moo

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Lamb Chopped
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Moo gives good advice!

I think everybody has their favorite bits and their non-favorite bits. As for inspiration, that's a different discussion from liking--I can think stuff is inspired even while I dislike it, and think other stuff (e.g. the deuterocanonicals) uninspired though I love the writing.

Somebody somewhere said "Eat what you can, and leave the tough bits on your plate." It helps me, especially since later in life sometimes the hard bits turn out to be surprisingly useful.

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Anselm
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A few random thoughts:

I think that context is very important for understanding the Bible - immediate context of a passage, context in the book, context in the wider Bible. I have very often found that my failure to understand a passage is linked to my failing to properly understand its context.

I also try not to presume that the Bible will be like a child's storybook that can be understood in one reading, but be open to accepting that there will be passages that I don't understand, that I will need to ponder, and research. The more I read and re-read the Bible the more I will understand. And that this will be lifetime journey.

I also think that the Bible is supposed to be an uncomfortable book - it provokes us to think deeper, to reflect on our selves, our assumptions, our ideals. I have found that the parts that I struggle to understand, that make me feel uncomfortable, are often the ones that lead me to deeper understanding of God or of myself.

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Adam.

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I think this is why it's important to read the Bible in a community that you trust. That way, the voices that challenge can be brought in in a way that doesn't make us shut down.

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HCH
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It can be fun to browse in the Bible. Some parts do require a lot of context (and may not make sense otherwise) but other parts can stand alone.
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Andromeda
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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
The Bible is a collection of writings, written at different times by people with different histories.

I understand this but how does it help? Is it more human than I think it is then? Are bits of it more human than others? When Isaiah speaks he speaks as if speaking directly for God. Are we to trust him and believe that God wants to see children dashed to pieces on rocks? Or is he overstepping the mark in the way he puts words into God's mouth?

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venbede
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For Christians, biblical texts are primarily of importance for what they tell us of Christ.

Up to 1500 no Christians thought all biblical texts were of equal value, and made a selection for public reading - as is still the case with liturgical churches.

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Andromeda
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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
For Christians, biblical texts are primarily of importance for what they tell us of Christ.

Up to 1500 no Christians thought all biblical texts were of equal value, and made a selection for public reading - as is still the case with liturgical churches.

That's interesting. Do you have some materials to support this idea?

Thanks

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Hedgehog

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quote:
Originally posted by Andromeda:
I understand this but how does it help? Is it more human than I think it is then? Are bits of it more human than others? When Isaiah speaks he speaks as if speaking directly for God. Are we to trust him and believe that God wants to see children dashed to pieces on rocks? Or is he overstepping the mark in the way he puts words into God's mouth?

Coincidentally, I have recently been browsing the SOF Quotes File thread (over in The Circus) and came across this little gem from BWSmith back in May of 2011:

quote:
The fact is, God gave us a building of bricks and mortar to serve as His incarnate house. Further, He gave us a 1st-century Palestinian Jew to serve as His incarnate Son. To add insult to injury, He gave us Israel's scriptures (much of which is ancient historiography) and the writings of the apostles to serve as His incarnate Word.

So if you're looking for an unconquerable super-building, God will have to disappoint you with the Temple. If you're looking for an uncrucifiable superhuman deity, God will disappoint you with Jesus. And if you're looking for a perfect book, you'll have to make do with the Bible.


That's God for you. He has His own way of doing things.

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"We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it."--Pope Francis, Laudato Si'

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Moo

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# 107

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The various parts of the Bible were written between two and three thousand years ago in a society very different from ours. The geographical setting was also very different.

The reason I suggest that you start by reading only the parts you like is so that you can get a feel for the culture and environment. Once you get that feel it will be easier for you to deal with the uncomfortable parts. There are passages that almost everyone has trouble with.

Moo

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Lamb Chopped
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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
For Christians, biblical texts are primarily of importance for what they tell us of Christ.

Up to 1500 no Christians thought all biblical texts were of equal value, and made a selection for public reading - as is still the case with liturgical churches.

This forces us to ask the question, "What do we mean by 'value'?"
If you are determining value by the source (=God), then obviously all inspired Scripture has the same value.

If you are determining value by the use (as in, "Today I want a good text to use when preaching to nonbelievers") then obviously some parts of the Bible will not be fit for purpose and will be "less valuable" to you.

Yet those same bits might be incredibly valuable to someone in a different situation or culture.

The Bible was written for all humankind. If there are bits in it we have trouble with (boredom, distaste, whatever) it's worth considering whether those might be addressed to someone else's need.

I recently heard of a culture, for instance, which really glommed on to the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke. For most of us they are minor curiosities. But for them, they were totally necessary and important--something about how the culture handled identity, I believe.

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LeRoc

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quote:
venbede: For Christians, biblical texts are primarily of importance for what they tell us of Christ.
Oh?

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
For Christians, biblical texts are primarily of importance for what they tell us of Christ.

So should Christians only read the NT then? Because the OT texts weren't written to tell anyone of Christ - it's only Christian interpretation (and somethimes dodgy Christian interpretation) that gets us from those texts to Christ.

quote:
Up to 1500 no Christians thought all biblical texts were of equal value, and made a selection for public reading - as is still the case with liturgical churches.
But surely by setting the canon, which is much wider than any lectionary, the church has in one sense given all biblical texts equal value? It's said, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that all these texts - whether or not they're in the lectionary - are recognised as having the status of Scripture (I can't think of a better way of putting that last phrase - I'm sure there must be one!).

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Gamaliel
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There is a kind of de facto heirarchy when it comes to the scriptures in all Christian traditions I think.

It's simply that it's more evident -and also more readily acknowledged in the more liturgical traditions.

I'm not saying that's better or worse - but what tends to happen without a lectionary is that people tend to gravitate towards 'favoured' passages or themes. It is possible to avoid that but it takes a lot of effort.

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tclune
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I'm not saying that's better or worse - but what tends to happen without a lectionary is that people tend to gravitate towards 'favoured' passages or themes.

You certainly aren't implying that the lectionary covers all of scripture are you? And, if not, how does having a lectionary avoid the favorite passages problem? Just by being someone else's favorite passages?

--Tom Clune

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Oscar the Grouch

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quote:
Originally posted by tclune:
You certainly aren't implying that the lectionary covers all of scripture are you?

No-one imagines that the lectionary covers ALL the Bible. But over the three year cycle, it certainly covers far FAR more than you'll find in "yer av'rage" evo church which eschews such things as lectionaries.

quote:
Originally posted by tclune:
And, if not, how does having a lectionary avoid the favorite passages problem? Just by being someone else's favorite passages?

But that is a misunderstanding of what a lectionary is. It isn't someone's "favourite passages" - it is a deliberate attempt to have a balanced selection of readings across the whole set of writings in the Bible.

Part of the point of a lectionary is that is ISN'T someone's favourite passages - that it consciously and deliberately throws up passages that are challenging or even a bit obscure.

I don't think that the Revised Common Lectionary, as used by many of the major denominations, is perfect. Far from it. But it's much MUCH better than choosing passages that the preacher wants, or (still worse?) choosing passages "as the Spirit leads".

Going back to the OP, I don't think you can give each part of the Bible equal value, unless you adopt a pretty hardline literalist approach. And the danger with "cherry-picking" is that it is so easy to take a single verse in isolation and make it mean what ever you want it to mean. Even relatively "simple" verses ("God so loved the world...") need to be carefully unpacked.

I remember many years ago, the pastor of the church I was in instructed all the home groups to listen to a series of tapes by a "highly respected prophet and Bible teacher." As we listened to the first talk, it became painfully obvious that for her main theme, she had taken a single verse completely out of context and was making it mean the opposite of what the whole passage (from one of the OT prophets) actually meant. After that, as homegroup leader, I refused to play any more of the tapes.

For Lent this year, we encouraged people to read each Gospel as a whole - from start to finish in one sitting if at all possible. And we learned so much from that - so I would recommend that. Don't worry about "studying" or meditating on single verses. Read all of Mark's gospel and get a feeling for the overall pattern. Then read another gospel and see how different it is. Or read one of the Epistles (perhaps Colossians or Philippians) and see what the overall picture you get is.

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Adam.

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quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
So should Christians only read the NT then? Because the OT texts weren't written to tell anyone of Christ - it's only Christian interpretation (and somethimes dodgy Christian interpretation) that gets us from those texts to Christ.

Well, some of them were written to tell of the Messiah. That the majority of later Jews would disagree with us as to whether or not Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah doesn't invalidate that.

In a deeper sense, the whole Old Testament tells us of the hopes and struggles of God's People and God's relationships with them. In Christ, God responds ultimately to those hopes and struggles in a way which continues and takes to daring new heights that relationship. In that deeper sense, it does all speak of Christ.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Andromeda:
quote:
Originally posted by venbede:
For Christians, biblical texts are primarily of importance for what they tell us of Christ.

Up to 1500 no Christians thought all biblical texts were of equal value, and made a selection for public reading - as is still the case with liturgical churches.

That's interesting. Do you have some materials to support this idea?

Thanks

For starters, the idea of binding all of the books together between two boards and calling it "the Bible" -- as if it's one single thing -- is quite novel. Before cheap paper became available, when every codex was made of dead animals, one per folio (4 pages), the books that we call collectively "The Bible" were printed under different cover. The Gospels were in one codex, which in the Orthodox church still rests on the Altar, and can only be read in services by deacons or priests. The Psalter was its own codex, and had its own appointed uses, especially for readings at "hours" services (nones, sext, vespers, etc). The Epistles were bound together for reading in the services by the lector or reader.

There were also OT readings but I am less able to give specifics. I'm almost sure the Pentateuch constituted its own book, just as it does in the Jewish Synagogue today.

Monasteries read a lot more of the canon than lay parishes do, so they would have more of the OT books bound and to hand.

If a private individual had any scripture in their home, it would not be a whole Bible as we know it. It would be a breviary, consisting of probably the psalter and the Gospels and maybe some other bits.

My primary source for all this is The Book: A History of the Bible by Christopher De Hamel. Excellent read, well recommended for any semi-serious Bible student or historian of the Church.

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by Adam.:
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
So should Christians only read the NT then? Because the OT texts weren't written to tell anyone of Christ - it's only Christian interpretation (and somethimes dodgy Christian interpretation) that gets us from those texts to Christ.

Well, some of them were written to tell of the Messiah. That the majority of later Jews would disagree with us as to whether or not Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah doesn't invalidate that.

In a deeper sense, the whole Old Testament tells us of the hopes and struggles of God's People and God's relationships with them. In Christ, God responds ultimately to those hopes and struggles in a way which continues and takes to daring new heights that relationship. In that deeper sense, it does all speak of Christ.

Yes, I'd agree with all that. But I think I'd still want to be careful about reading back too much about Jesus Christ on to those OT texts, even though we might see them ultimately fulfilled in him. But I've a feeling this could take us down a potentially unhelpful tangent...

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Ad Orientem
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quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
So should Christians only read the NT then? Because the OT texts weren't written to tell anyone of Christ - it's only Christian interpretation (and somethimes dodgy Christian interpretation) that gets us from those texts to Christ.

From a Christian perspective surely the only way to read the OT is to look for Christ, indeed, isn't Christ the proper context of the OT? Our Lord says in the Gospel that both the law and the prophets speak of him and the Apostle says to the Corinthians "But their senses were made dull. For, until this present day, the selfsame veil, in the reading of the old testament, remaineth not taken away (because in Christ it is made void). But even until this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. But when they shall be converted to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away" showing that Christ is the proper context of the OT. If we believe in the inspiration of the scriptures then certainly the Holy Spirit was not ignorant of this, even if Moses and the prophets didn't really understand it.

[ 27. August 2015, 09:42: Message edited by: Ad Orientem ]

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Steve Langton
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by Oscar the Grouch;

quote:
For Lent this year, we encouraged people to read each Gospel as a whole - from start to finish in one sitting if at all possible. And we learned so much from that - so I would recommend that. Don't worry about "studying" or meditating on single verses. Read all of Mark's gospel and get a feeling for the overall pattern. Then read another gospel and see how different it is. Or read one of the Epistles (perhaps Colossians or Philippians) and see what the overall picture you get is.
Very much with you on this one, Oscar. The Epistles in particular were originally intended to be read out to the local church 'in one go' and either privately or in the fellowship it's a really good idea to get that perspective rather than read bits in isolation.

There is a place for more detailed study of individual bits, sure; but getting the 'whole picture' is also very valuable.

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Gamaliel
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Oscar the Grouch has answered your question to me better than I could, tclune.

I'm not suggesting that a lectionary covers all the bases, rather that the absence of one - or even a systematic preaching plan which does exist in a lot of evangelical churches - whether Anglican or non-conformist - leaves a congregation wide open to an imbalance.

I used to belong to a church where the visiting 'apostle' essentially preached the same thing to us for 15 years because he still thought we weren't 'getting it' ... essentially a kind of 'faith' / over-comer / speaking out in faith type of prosperity gospel flavoured message.

Sure, we had plenty of other stuff there from more regular preachers and some of the more expository stuff was good ... but the visiting head-honcho only had one real message which he delivered again and again and again and again ...

[Help]

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Moo

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At my church we read an entire gospel aloud during Holy Week. We have about fifteen or twenty different readers. A Bible scholar who is a member of our congregation gives a brief talk to begin with; we are told that the point is not reading but listening. After this, nothing but the gospel is heard, and we leave the church in silence.

This is a very powerful experience.

Moo

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Adam.

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quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
Yes, I'd agree with all that. But I think I'd still want to be careful about reading back too much about Jesus Christ on to those OT texts, even though we might see them ultimately fulfilled in him. But I've a feeling this could take us down a potentially unhelpful tangent...

Yes, I agree with that too. The per se voice of each OT text needs to be respected, mainly because the trajectory from original context through Israel's history, through Christ, through the Church to the final consummation is too beautiful for the first part of that to be chopped off.

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LeRoc

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LOL as a Christian, I'm not even sure if the only way to read the New Testament is to look for Christ.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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balaam

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
There were also OT readings but I am less able to give specifics. I'm almost sure the Pentateuch constituted its own book, just as it does in the Jewish Synagogue today.

The modern Jewish groupings are to have the Pentatuch as one group, the Law, Joshua, Judges, Samuel and what the Christian Bible has as the prophetic books except Lamentations and Daniel in another group the Prophets and the rest in a third group the writings.

How long they have had this grouping, and whether the Deuterocanonical books/Apocrypha were ever generally accepted is something we do not know.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Moo:
At my church we read an entire gospel aloud during Holy Week. We have about fifteen or twenty different readers. A Bible scholar who is a member of our congregation gives a brief talk to begin with; we are told that the point is not reading but listening. After this, nothing but the gospel is heard, and we leave the church in silence.

This is a very powerful experience.

That's very cool.

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mr cheesy
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I think one of the important things about Christianity (but also Judaism and Islam) is that they're religions of a/the book - perhaps in a way that is distinct from other religions. And that these books were originally part of an oral tradition.

The stories and writings of the bible are written to be spoken and heard, and these give the hearers a spiritual vocabulary to use to engage with life.

Poor understanding of what the bible says is to have a poor spiritual vocabulary in the Christian dialect (of course, one can have a wide spiritual language without knowing some of the specifics about the biblical text).

I think that is a distinct thing from biblical scholarship in the sense of knowing a lot about the language and the ideas behind the text.

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Mudfrog
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I believe every original word in the Bible to be inspired.

The problem with that statement is that some people want the word 'inspired' to mean 'spiritual' 'a source of blessing', 'inspirationAL'; they think that if a passage or a verse cannot be put on a daily devotional calendar, or be the text for today's Bible Reading - or even part of the weekly lectionary, then it can't be 'inspired'.

They think that if it's a genealogy, a list of laws or numbers; if it's a very difficult and even shocking passage - dashing your children against the rocks' for example, then it CANNOT Be 'inspired.' (and definitely not infallible or inerrant!)

However, to be inspired the Bible doesn't have to be 'a blessing'. Paul writes to Timothy that the Scriptures are 'useful'. That's an interesting word: 'useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.' (2 Timothy 3 v 16)

That tells me that there will be passages that will be useful only on occasion, in a particular context, maybe once in a while even though not generally applicable. But just because a passage from the Bible might not have general, universal appeal will not make it less inspired.

It doesn't become inspired, of course, when it suddenly speaks to us, the inspiration is inherent; but a passage of laws, for example - or even a genealogy - may be 'useful' in addressing a situation, or for teaching a general principle about holiness or justice or the 'salvation story'.

Why a law against XYZ? Because God is holy.
Why a list of names? Because it shows women are part of the story of Christ...

'Useful' is a very useful word. It speaks of potential for every passage of Scripture and the inherent power of that 'difficult' verse to be authoritative or instructive in a particular setting.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Why a law against XYZ? Because God is holy.

I know this is meant to be a general form of a question and answer rather than a specific one, but it is nevertheless very unsatisfactory. "God is holy" tells us why He makes laws. It doesn't tell us why this particular act falls under them. It's just saying "this action is unholy." But why? It seems to just be a tautology. This is unholy because God said not to do it, and God is holy. It doesn't answer the question at all.

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

Why a list of names? Because it shows women are part of the story of Christ...

Sorry, I can't resist fixing this:

quote:


Why a list of names? Because it shows men are part of the story of Christ...

[Two face]

After all, every human culture knew he had a mother. The man's part in reproduction is not quite so clear...

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Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Jack o' the Green
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# 11091

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Why a law against XYZ? Because God is holy.

I know this is meant to be a general form of a question and answer rather than a specific one, but it is nevertheless very unsatisfactory. "God is holy" tells us why He makes laws. It doesn't tell us why this particular act falls under them. It's just saying "this action is unholy." But why? It seems to just be a tautology. This is unholy because God said not to do it, and God is holy. It doesn't answer the question at all.
Funnily enough, I was reading this last night, which seems relevant (or not!)

http://edwardfeser.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/voluntarism-and-psr.html?m=1

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Mudfrog
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# 8116

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Why a law against XYZ? Because God is holy.

I know this is meant to be a general form of a question and answer rather than a specific one, but it is nevertheless very unsatisfactory. "God is holy" tells us why He makes laws. It doesn't tell us why this particular act falls under them. It's just saying "this action is unholy." But why? It seems to just be a tautology. This is unholy because God said not to do it, and God is holy. It doesn't answer the question at all.
Yes, as you said, it was a 'general' form of a question - and therefore didn't really need a comment.

Had I expanded upon it, I might have suggested that if the question was 'why is there a law against one particular activity?' that answer may have been along the lines of 'Because God is different and wanted his people to be, and to be seen as, different - which is the root meaning of 'holy. Therefore, what was normal in Canaanite culture was forbidden to the Israelites.'

The reason therefore that a law given to a specific group of people within a specific geographical and historical context is still regarded as inspired Scripture that is relevant to us is that it contains a principle - we are to be holy (different) because God is holy (different) and not just conform to the culture and standards of the people who do not know or follow God.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Mudfrog
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# 8116

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quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

Why a list of names? Because it shows women are part of the story of Christ...

Sorry, I can't resist fixing this:

quote:


Why a list of names? Because it shows men are part of the story of Christ...

[Two face]

After all, every human culture knew he had a mother. The man's part in reproduction is not quite so clear...

Yes. Are you deliberately missing the point?

I was giving one example of one reason why a list of names - totally boring and seemingly irrelevant and with no spiritual 'meat' in it - could be considered as 'inspired Scripture.' It wasn't meant to be a full and comprehensive anser; it was just almost a throwaway comment in the context of the whole post.

So, if asked why a genealogical list was 'inspired' one particular answer could be, for example, that there are women in it whose inclusion in a patriarchal society reveals a deeper spiritual truth about the role and importance of women through the ages (and not just Mary) and that one of those women - Ruth - was a heathen (a member of the polytheistic, child-sacrificing Moabites) whose redeemed life was part of the lineage of Jesus, teaching us that even those of us with much to be forgiven (along with David and others) also have much to offer to God in service and witness.

That's why a seemingly dry chapter of a 'mere list of names' can yield blessing - and can be 'useful for teaching...and training in righteousness.'

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Why a law against XYZ? Because God is holy.

I know this is meant to be a general form of a question and answer rather than a specific one, but it is nevertheless very unsatisfactory. "God is holy" tells us why He makes laws. It doesn't tell us why this particular act falls under them. It's just saying "this action is unholy." But why? It seems to just be a tautology. This is unholy because God said not to do it, and God is holy. It doesn't answer the question at all.
Yes, as you said, it was a 'general' form of a question - and therefore didn't really need a comment.

Had I expanded upon it, I might have suggested that if the question was 'why is there a law against one particular activity?' that answer may have been along the lines of 'Because God is different and wanted his people to be, and to be seen as, different - which is the root meaning of 'holy. Therefore, what was normal in Canaanite culture was forbidden to the Israelites.'

The reason therefore that a law given to a specific group of people within a specific geographical and historical context is still regarded as inspired Scripture that is relevant to us is that it contains a principle - we are to be holy (different) because God is holy (different) and not just conform to the culture and standards of the people who do not know or follow God.

In other words, I was right. It's holy because God said so. Entirely arbitrary from our POV at least.

--------------------
This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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Mudfrog
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# 8116

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Why a law against XYZ? Because God is holy.

I know this is meant to be a general form of a question and answer rather than a specific one, but it is nevertheless very unsatisfactory. "God is holy" tells us why He makes laws. It doesn't tell us why this particular act falls under them. It's just saying "this action is unholy." But why? It seems to just be a tautology. This is unholy because God said not to do it, and God is holy. It doesn't answer the question at all.
Yes, as you said, it was a 'general' form of a question - and therefore didn't really need a comment.

Had I expanded upon it, I might have suggested that if the question was 'why is there a law against one particular activity?' that answer may have been along the lines of 'Because God is different and wanted his people to be, and to be seen as, different - which is the root meaning of 'holy. Therefore, what was normal in Canaanite culture was forbidden to the Israelites.'

The reason therefore that a law given to a specific group of people within a specific geographical and historical context is still regarded as inspired Scripture that is relevant to us is that it contains a principle - we are to be holy (different) because God is holy (different) and not just conform to the culture and standards of the people who do not know or follow God.

In other words, I was right. It's holy because God said so. Entirely arbitrary from our POV at least.
Does God have the right to say what is right and what is wrong?

The point I am making, of course, is that even an obscure law made 3500 years ago is still 'inspired' because of the principle behind it - which includes God's authority to make such laws and introduce such principles.

[ 30. August 2015, 15:55: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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mousethief

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# 953

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So you weren't answering the question I was asking.

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Mudfrog
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# 8116

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
So you weren't answering the question I was asking.

If you were asking the question 'Why did God make those laws?' I thought I'd answered it: it was to be different, separate, 'other'. Some things are just plain wrong: it's bad to kill someone!.., other things are just wrong if they lead to being identified with other religious practices: tattoos for the dead (pagan funerary practices).

That's part of the reason for the scriptural laws.
The reason they are inspired is that they contain that principle of 'come out of them and be different.'

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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balaam

Making an ass of myself
# 4543

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
[QUOTE]

After all, every human culture knew he had a mother. The man's part in reproduction is not quite so clear...

Yes. Are you deliberately missing the point?
When it comes to reproduction, it is usually the man who is accused of missing the spot.

I'll get me coat.

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Posts: 9049 | From: Hen Ogledd | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
So you weren't answering the question I was asking.

If you were asking the question 'Why did God make those laws?' I thought I'd answered it: it was to be different, separate, 'other'. Some things are just plain wrong: it's bad to kill someone!.., other things are just wrong if they lead to being identified with other religious practices: tattoos for the dead (pagan funerary practices).
The question was not "Why did God make a bunch of laws for the Israelites?" but "Why did God make THIS PARTICULAR LAW part of his big group of laws for the Israelites." So, no, your post didn't answer it. The "so we don't confuse you with other religions" actually answers the question, at least in some instances. But then that raises differentiation issues. How do I know which are the "so nobody confuses you with Asherites" laws from laws that serve some other purpose?

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Mudfrog
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# 8116

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This is a bit of a tangent, it seems to me.

--------------------
"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
This is a bit of a tangent, it seems to me.

Heaven knows there are never any tangents on SOF threads. This question is all about cherry picking. Why do people cherry pick SOME verses from the OT to be applicable to Christians today, and not others? Well, that comes down to why God gave the ancient Israelites those rules, doesn't it? Determining which apply has everything to do with what the purpose of that rule was in the first place, what it meant in context, in short, WHY God gave them that rule.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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Martin60
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# 368

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Never if?

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Love wins

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Andromeda
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Maybe it all comes down to what inspired means. Do some bits of the bible carry the divine voice while other bits carry human voices? E.g. the psalms. How human is the law? How much of it was from Moses and how much from God? Where is that dividing line between what human's say and what God says? I do struggle with that chapter in Isaiah though. It is made to sound like God's direct voice and yet it sounds so human. If it is claiming to be the divine voice then for me it casts questions over God's character. Maybe that's a separate thread.

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In this world you’ll have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world.

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Martin60
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# 368

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The cherry I am reaching to pick is with the trajectory of thought predicated on God briefly stepping in to history.

It is beyond my grasp.

Another twenty years or so and I'll have it.

--------------------
Love wins

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:

Why a list of names? Because it shows women are part of the story of Christ...

Sorry, I can't resist fixing this:

quote:


Why a list of names? Because it shows men are part of the story of Christ...

[Two face]

After all, every human culture knew he had a mother. The man's part in reproduction is not quite so clear...

Yes. Are you deliberately missing the point?

I was giving one example of one reason why a list of names - totally boring and seemingly irrelevant and with no spiritual 'meat' in it - could be considered as 'inspired Scripture.' It wasn't meant to be a full and comprehensive anser; it was just almost a throwaway comment in the context of the whole post.

So, if asked why a genealogical list was 'inspired' one particular answer could be, for example, that there are women in it whose inclusion in a patriarchal society reveals a deeper spiritual truth about the role and importance of women through the ages (and not just Mary) and that one of those women - Ruth - was a heathen (a member of the polytheistic, child-sacrificing Moabites) whose redeemed life was part of the lineage of Jesus, teaching us that even those of us with much to be forgiven (along with David and others) also have much to offer to God in service and witness.

That's why a seemingly dry chapter of a 'mere list of names' can yield blessing - and can be 'useful for teaching...and training in righteousness.'

Mudfrog, dude. It was a JOKE.

Though I admit that occasionally it annoys me that the default position of almost all preachers, feminist or the reverse, is "women will feel excluded from Christ unless explicitly shown that they are not."

In logical terms one could equally well argue that it is men who might feel left out, as his human heritage is entirely mediated through a woman.

It will be a great day when neither sex reads this passage with the goal of offering a conciliatory sop to the poor, under-represented gender (whichever one it may be).

--------------------
Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

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Andromeda
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# 11304

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A similar thread has popped up in Purg which is relevant and helpful
http://forum.ship-of-fools.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=019544

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In this world you’ll have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world.

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