I will not be posting much in the coming weeks. I have other things to take care of and I have to organize my thinking about future blog posts.
As I have already stated on this blog, my goal is to contribute to the knowledge of the Church in general (around the world) and of the churches in particular (the ones we know around Montreal). I am trying to address the most common mistakes Christians make when researching and interpreting the Bible, or anything else we might read or hear through various formats and media. I am trying to address what is common in Christian communities (esp. Protestant, evangelical churches). I am also trying to address the most popular and controversial subjects, but I want to do so without repeating too much what has already been shared in the literature and on the Internet. My intention is not to be accusatory. As I have repeatedly said in my previous posts, we all make mistakes, some worse than others. That’s why: peer review! This can also be applied in any aspect of life. Critical thinking can also be applied in any aspect of life, not only in scientific and scholarly work. Critical thinking refers to the process of “thinking outside the box” i.e., considering other options and avoiding the either-or fallacy. Critical thinking means more than this, but I am not going to delve into it at this point. It is certainly not easy, but it must certainly be practiced by everyone. Of course, this applies in various ways and in various degrees to different individuals depending on the situation at hand. I am not suggesting that we all have to become researchers, scientists, and scholars!
From the time that I have been researching as an amateur (2003-2007) and as an academic (2008-present), I see that there are recurring subjects that are hotly debated at church and on the Internet. The controversial topics are one issue, but there are also problems with the way that people argue, research and interpret. However, these two aspects go hand-in-glove; they are mutually inclusive. So, I would like to address both aspects. What are some of the items I have in mind? Well, I do not see people debating much about the book of Esther or Song of Songs. I do not see people debating much about the New Testament book (or letter) Philemon. Instead, people overwhelmingly debate and discuss Genesis and Revelation, the first and last books of the Protestant Bible. Other books in the Bible that make it into the top list are Exodus, Joshua, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Psalms, the Synoptic Gospels and John’s Gospel, and the letters of Paul. The reason why Genesis overflows on the Internet is due to Genesis 1-11, especially creation in Genesis 1-2, the sons of God in Genesis 6.1-4, Noah’s flood in Genesis 6-9 (more or less the tower of Babel). The reason why Revelation overflows on the Internet is due to the study of Eschatology (i.e., the study of end-times or “the end of the world”), which includes the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Here is a list of items I am thinking of addressing in future posts on this blog throughout the year, although this blog will be quieter in the coming weeks while I prepare documents to post. I already have much of the information, but it still takes time to consolidate it all into blog posts.
- How to do word studies and how to avoid common linguistic fallacies;
- We must absolutely interpret the Bible despite what is commonly said in churches: “The Bible interprets itself”. There are nuances;
- The perception by some church members that universities (and scholars) are dangerous, which is incorrect. The only danger is yourself and your own Hermeneutics and Exegesis to avoid falling into esoteric and heretical trappings;
- Possibilities and probabilities when studying various viewpoints. Some make the common mistake of rejecting the most established and powerful viewpoints on various topics simply because they prefer another view that is possible. But those possibilities usually rest on nuances and they can be misleading;
- The King James Bible (and its Greek base text, the Textus Receptus) is NOT the most reliable for biblical studies today;
- NET Bible and biblegateway.com. How to use them;
- Inspiration and Inerrancy. The major views in scholarship and my own view;
- Creation vs Evolution debate. It’s still well-and-alive, unfortunately. But it became attenuated due to modern evangelical scholarship and the Internet (and somewhat science);
- The Bible is not scientific. It does not reflect modern science. It reflects the Message and the messages of God via the ancient Near East and the Greco-Roman worldviews;
- Biblical cosmology. It does not reflect modern scientific knowledge. It is a terrestrial point of view and does not surpass the cosmological knowledge of its own time;
- The Scientific method and Hypotheses and Theories. I am no scientist. But I am knowledgeable enough to discuss what I have in mind. I want to address the overused phrase “That’s just a theory.”
- The Bible is the Word of God. I do believe this. But how and up to what extent? 2 Tim. 3.16 does not address how this actually works and most people inject too many presuppositions, preconceptions, and assumptions into the Greek theopneustos, literally, “God-breathed”. It must be defined based on all the issues found in the Bible, not based on one verse with preconceptions about it;
- Biblical manuscripts and textual criticism. A very basic overview since I am no textual critic and I am no grammarian.
But I have the urgency of addressing Inspiration and Inerrancy as well as biblical cosmology. If you want me to blog about something else controversial, you may do so in the comment box below or via email.