“Hey, I’m just bein’ honest here,” or “I’m goin’ to tell it like it is,” more often than not are ways of setting up the fact that we are about to say something unflattering or unkind that we shouldn’t be saying at all as Christians. With that in mind, I would like to offer a thought with a minor book review.
I will not be telling it like it is…I will be telling it like it should be.
A Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible by Robert H. Stein was a very good book. The focal point of the book is Hermeneutics: the practice or discipline of interpretation. Stein discusses and argues the various points of view in interpreting Scripture as well as discussing translation. I was reminded of a few men in our church as I read the book. They are Scholars and Theologians. Because they are clinical, analytical, and want to dissect and understand all of the Biblical facts, it often seems like they have no passion at all.
I, on the other hand, am full of passion when it comes to the Bible in a different way. When I was six years old, my father owned a 1966 Pontiac convertible 2+2. It was sharp. As we drove down the road one day (with me in the passenger seat beside him and no seatbelt) I turned and said, “Punch it Dad.” My father looked at me with a mischievous grin and said, “What do you mean…This,” as he kicked the accelerator to the floor. I was pushed back into the seat and laughing as the car gained speed and the wind blew across our faces. It was pure joy. Over the next ten years, my father taught me the mechanics of the automobile so I could properly take care of my own vehicles someday. I spent a lot of time under the hood of cars learning how they worked and what moved what and why. It was interesting and I enjoyed it, but all of those hours spent under the hood of our cars dissecting and understanding could not bring about or mimic the joy I felt when Dad “punched it.”
The point is, in our Christian life we need both. I need those Scholars and Theologians in our church. I learn a great deal and am able to appreciate Scripture on many levels that I never would have been able to without them. They, on the other hand, get to feel the pure child-like joy of Scripture. A passion that understands while Moses and Paul had no idea what they wrote would be translated…And they didn’t know English, Spanish or Russian…God knew. He knew every language there would ever be and He knew the words they used in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic would be perfectly translated into words you and I read today, because He has a perfectly translated message for you and me. Trust me, that kind of passion is contagious.
So no matter which camp you find yourself in, look to the other side with appreciation. Jesus said the greatest commandment was Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is one time we are both right.