Nov 16, 2006

Bereanology

My New Theology

I am going to shock all my readers by announcing that I am starting my own brand of theology. I see many truths in different doctrines, different theologies, different denominations. But I have to question why we have so many differences. Why is each person entitled to their own interpretation? Why do Calvinists see John 3:16 totally differently from Arminians? What does "it" refer to in Ephesians 2:8? Why do dispensationalists see several different covenants, but the Covenant Theology people see only one? Why are fundamentalists so strong on being transformed outwardly as well as inwardly, but the "grace" folks have "freedom in Christ?"

I have a lot of respect for most of my readers here (even those that disagree with me kindly), but I have learned one thing that I never realized until I started writing here: Even truly dedicated Christians will often go to "man" rather than God. I post a lot of Scripture here, and rather than discuss the specific Scripture, I have been surprised at how many times I am "encouraged" to go read what some man has to say about the subject, as if that's God final word on the subject. I have readers telling me to read Edersheim or DA Carson, some tell me I need to read more commentaries, and a couple think John MacArthur will set me straight. Here's an example of one comment to my straight quoting of Scripture:

"You (and Mark) should refer to reliable Christian commentaries to revise this statement. If you mean this, then your understanding of the Gospel in insufficient. ... You will cause harm to everyone who reads and believes your distortion."

I have a feeling this person is a friend of mine, but I am truly concerned when well-meaning Christians go to commentaries rather than God's Word to see what God says. Commentaries are written from the worldview (the spiritual worldview) of the author. Don't we choose our commentaries based upon our already established beliefs and doctrine? Then we are just preaching to the choir, aren't we?

Here's what I've decided: I am starting a new theology - Bereanology. As you might guess, Bereanology is based upon the verse that says the Bereans "received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Luke says that the Bereans were noble for this attitude. Notice that they did not have their own interpretaion of Scripture. They did listen to the apostles (their word wasn't exactly "gospel" back then!), but they tested everything they said. They did not idolize men. They didn't search the commentaries daily, they didn't read the latest fad book, they didn't try to find their purpose in life. They just studied the Scriptures - every day - to find the truth, the truth of God's Word. They didn't read through the whole Bible in one year (although that's not necessarily bad), and they didn't follow a devotional booklet. Their minds were fully open when they listened to the preaching and teaching of God's Word, but they went home and checked it out for themselves - from the Scriptures. Sola Scriptura.

Is there anything wrong with reading other authors? Commentaries? Listening to our favorite preachers/teachers? Not at all. But we must begin at the beginning, by studying God's Word for ourselves, and test EVERYTHING we hear and read - again by the Scriptures.

Here is what I've learned. I've learned to study one book at a time. I read it several times to get an overview and find the main point or so. I like to mark key words then, chapter by chapter, or passage by passage. This has become absolutely critical for me. Then I make a list of exactly what the Scripture says about that word (or group of words or compare/contrast-type words, etc.), a sample of which I posted here earlier. The first time I did this, many years ago, I was very confused about the Holy Spirit, having been taught nothing at all about Him in my churches growing up, then hearing some doubtful ideas in the Assembly of God church we were in (I just couldn't find what they were saying in Scripture), and then hearing all kinds of contradictory teachings about the Holy Spirit. So, I read slowly through the whole book of Acts, marking and learning other things as well, but making a list of only what the Bible said about the Holy Spirit. I had many, many pages of verses that talked about the Holy Spirit when I finished, and I have a strong foundation of what God alone has to say on the subject. As I study other books, I am able to add to my list as well. You can imagine that I have thousands of lists by now. I will not tell you my conclusion because it was such a life-changing experience for me that I wouldn't want to rob you of that joy of discovery for yourself!

Being a Berean can include many other aspects of studying the Scriptures, such as word studies, cross references, and constantly asking contextual questions as you dig deeper, but I remember one surprise that this Bereanology had for me. I was studying Revelation this way several years ago, and I was SO tempted to just read the commentaries and see what they said each thing meant. After I made my lists and all (which really only scratched the surface - I haven't gone in depth in Revelation yet), I was SO eager to read certain commentaries, so I pulled out several. I won't name names here, because sometimes they are very useful, I'm sure, but as I started reading the commentaries, one after the other, I had to say about each one: "But that doesn't line up with what the Bible said." That was when I saw firsthand the value of studying Scripture for yourself.

There are lots of useful tools in studying God's Word, such as the concordance, dictionary, and sometimes even commentaries. There are historical context books that are very useful as well. Use the tools, but use them as tools and not as the finished product.

The ideas I have listed here are not the only way to study Scripture, and I don't claim to either have an exclusive handle on studying Scripture or to know what every verse means. I don't even begin to. But I do love studying God's Word, like a Berean, studying not to obtain knowledge, but to know God. I may attain some knowledge along the way, but my desire is to know God.

Bereanology. Who's with me?

25 comments:

beth said...

I could believe that you are really interested in finding the truth of God if you hadn't made this comment in your post: "Please don't try to persuade me with teachings by MEN. They will not sway me at all. If you can show me something in the Scripture that I need to change, I will listen, but I don't give a hoot for what some man says. You will find a commentary for every side of every issue. So what?"
You seem to be very prideful and not a humble servant of God. You seem prepared to throw out all the teachings that God has taught His servants all through the ages as though they are just human opinion and not backed up by God's word. I believe that these men (Spurgeon, Bunyan, Calvin, and more recently MacArthur and Sproul) were/are Bereans dedicated to God’s word who love God with all their hearts. They will be the first to encourage others to study the word of God for themselves. Actually, MacArthur has suggestions on how to study the word and says it is important for each person to do this on their own. I don't believe that they ever thought that anyone should depend only upon their commentaries and not study and learn from the Bible. You seem disconnected and self-reliant. Who says that you are interpreting Scripture correctly? It's one thing to lead yourself astray but then you post it for all to read and I know you have groupies that think you're without error and so you have the possibility of leading them astray. God has a hasher judgment for teachers of His word. I would caution you not to be so hasty to throw out teachings from men of God. Yes, they do have errors and that is where being a good Berean comes into play, but even the original
Bereans listened to the teachings of men of God in their days and compared it with Scripture...they weren't self-reliant. God has given us leaders for a reason. They are not to be lightly disregarded while studying the Scriptures and being a good Berean.

Jen said...

Beth, I am not at all interested in throwing out all the teachings of men. They have a rightful place and can be very useful, but I think we tend to rely on them MORE than we search the Scriptures, which was supposed to be my point. Whenever we read or listen to someone else's teachings, we should always search the Scriptures to see if what they teach is biblical.

I'm sorry if this came across as prideful; I did not intend it that way at all. I do not have "groupies," and I pray I never do. I don't want anyone to follow me. I am merely trying to encourage people to study God's Word to see if what they are being taught is, in fact, what the Bible says. Any preacher worth his salt would do the same, I'm sure.

I would never begin to dream that I am without error. In fact, I will post all opposing viewpoints (yours is a good example) as long as they have a modicum of good manners. I have said here before that I am willing to listen if I take Scripture out of context. The more I write, the more chance I have of being in error, statistically. I pray that I never lead anyone astray here, but only encourage them to go straight to God's Word.

I do not know nearly as much about God's Word as many people do, but I find this is a way I can share what I am learning. Sometimes it is exciting to discover something in God's Word that I haven't noticed before, and I want to share that with someone!

What has always interested me as a Bible Study teacher is when we all study the same passage and something different stands out to each person. I'm NOT talking about different interpretations here; I'm talking about God speaking to each of us, using the same verse, for example, in our own lives. This aspect stood out to me, but a different aspect stood out to you. That multi-layer meaning, which never contradicts itself if interpreted correctly, is absolutely fascinating to me.

Enough rambling. I will say again: Do not throw out the teachings of men; study the Scriptures to see whether they be true. Use them as tools, not as proofs for what you believe. They should be secondary in discovering God's truths in His Word, not the other way around.

Mark Epstein said...

Jennifer,

You were most kind in dealing with Beth’s remarks but, since I am a man (and thus have more spiritual authority), allow me to address two of the issues I noted in reading her post.

First, she took the quote out of context. Within the context of your entire post, the quote Beth used does not even begin to hint of pride. This is the single largest mistake I see so-called men of God make – out of context interpretation to fit their presuppositions. Context is ALWAYS the entire counsel of God. Therefore, when someone tells me he is a “New Testament Christian,” I have a simple response: There is no such thing under the sun. You are either a Christian who submits to the whole counsel of God or you are not one who submits and, therefore, we can simply look at what God has to say about such an individual (you Bereans know what I’m speaking of already).

Secondly, Beth says she believes Sproul is a Berean dedicated to God’s word who loves God with all of his heart. Really? I respectfully disagree with Beth on this point. Dr. Sproul Sr has allowed the most egregious conduct to continue unabated at the hands of the outreach ministry he chairs. I find Ligonier’s recent public conduct shameful and the individuals’ responsible need to repent – including Dr. Sproul.

Lastly, I look at the overall “tone” of Beth’s comment and I draw one conclusion: It is representative of the same arrogant and unloving tone Vance et. al. have suffered at the hands of Ligonier’s management and Ligonier’s shills. Frankly, I’m wondering which one of the “men” at Ligonier or which male Ligonier “shill” wrote this “posing” as a woman.

Mark

beth said...

I can't help that you are so fixated on Ligonier, Mark. I am not a man with Ligonier! Right now I am sitting on my couch with my dog reading a blog that obivously is so full of pride it won't even consider itself to be wrong in the slightest degree. I respect your wife's comment more than I do your own...maybe she is a better be berean than you! She explained her postion and I had accepted it. However, your little comment about me being a man just changed my mind. And what does your comment about the NT Christian have to do with me? I never said that I just read one verse and run with it. Anyone who knows anything knows you can't do that or you'll get false doctrine. You say I took her quote out of context and then compared that to taking Scripture out of context...what?! What your wife says isn't holy scripture. Then you talk about the "tone" of my comment saying it sounded arrogant and unloving tone Vance et. al. I guess you can say that about my comment but I can't express that that is how I read her comment?...oh, I guess men are allowed to say who has the bad attitude and who doesn't. BTW, I didn't even quote a Scripture to take out of context. You must have never read anything by R.C. Sroul or you would know that he teaches sound doctrine unless you are a Rick Warren follower. Yeah, he has commited sins and God is working on bringing him to a place he needs to get back to, but in the mean time I'm not going to throw all the teachings he ever taught in the garbage. Why don't you pray for him instead? BTW, I have blond hair blue eyes and I'm 5' and my dog is black...oh, he is male but I don't think he wrote my first comment.

beth said...

One other thing. I think it shows just how prideful you guys are to think that some well known person like Sproul would find let alone come to your little blog world to comment. He doesn't even comment on Slice which is a well known site...easily found. I was brushing my teeth when I thought of this and just starting laughing at your arrogance. You people need a reality check.

larswife said...

Jen: When my beloved and I met we were attending a large evanjellyfish Southern Baptist church. God, in His infinite wisdom, convicted us both as to 2 Tim. 16-17. If we believed that the Bible was the infallible Word of God "profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness," then why were we not living our life like that? We spent the better part of a year holding up the Light of the Word of Truth to every aspect of our daily life, from what we read and watched to how we spoke and interacted with people to how we taught and trained our children. All of it. And most of it we threw away, because it did not pass the "Berean" test.

In the course of our reflections and studies we moved from the mega-church mentality to a more reformed, covenental theology. I'm told an excellent book is to read C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters." I'm told that what Satan tells his minions to encourage believers to do is to "be busy." In other words, keep them busy doing anything and everything else except studying God's Word. Many in today's Christian community remind me greatly of that - being busy doing anything and everything else but...

Jen said...

Beth, I have no reason to believe that RC Sproul reads my website, and I don't believe I've ever portrayed that attitude. I do know that Tim Dick and John Duncan do, though, and I'm sure they at least relate to RC what kinds of things are going on in the blogosphere. He is not unaware.

I have never indicated, in the least, that we shouldn't follow RC Sproul's teachings anymore (after we test them against Scripture, of course). That is the main reason I am praying for him and Ligonier daily - I LOVE RC Sproul's teachings! They have changed my life. But now I find myself in quite a quandary - I cannot support the actions of Ligonier and RC, but I love their teachings. I have chosen that, until I see repentance, I can no longer promote his wonderful teachings. His orthopraxy needs to line up with orthodoxy.

(While I am willing to print opposing viewpoints here, I would ask that everyone please at least observe the Golden Rule! And absolutely NO personal attacks.)

Jen said...

Larswife, I sure do look forward to meeting you soon! It takes a lot of guts to stand up to the status quo!

Ephesian Berean said...

Jen

Since you are a Berean, I wonder why in your post there is not one reference to a "pastor" or "teacher" in bringing Gods word to you? You mention commentaries and Bible study teachers etc...but what about the officers of the church, do they have no place in your study? And if so, why is it they are never mentioned in your post.

Notice when Jesus ascended he gave gifts to the church in the form of "men". Pastors/teachers etc. Those "gifts" dont seem to fit into your theology much, in fact it would seem you feel yourself equally gifted/qualified in interpretation. Yes the Bereans cross checked, but they did not throw out Gods gifts in the process. God has given men much more skilled in interpretation, languages etc. than yourself in order that you might learn.

Plus...your thesis in this post is only possible for "modern" Christians, how many "ancient" brothers and sisters had copies of scriptures to go cross check?

It seems your focus undoes both the communal aspect of knowledge as well as the particular giftings of God and ends up in interprative egalatarianism...

What am I missing?

beth said...

Jen,
I had directed my second comment to your husband who doesn't mind insulting women by calling them men. If he were a good Berean, he would know this to be wrong also I wouldn't say he was following the golden rule by calling me a man.

Jen said...

Ephesian Berean, you are right that my emphasis was not on listening to men, but I do believe that I showed that there was a place for that as well - an important place. Here is what I said:

"Their minds were fully open when they listened to the preaching and teaching of God's Word, but they went home and checked it out for themselves - from the Scriptures."

"I am not at all interested in throwing out all the teachings of men. They have a rightful place and can be very useful, but I think we tend to rely on them MORE than we search the Scriptures, which was supposed to be my point. Whenever we read or listen to someone else's teachings, we should always search the Scriptures to see if what they teach is biblical."

"I am merely trying to encourage people to study God's Word to see if what they are being taught is, in fact, what the Bible says. Any preacher worth his salt would do the same, I'm sure."

This post was not intended to disqualify sound biblical teaching from godly men, whether they be pastors or teachers or others. I was merely trying to show that we should not be followers of men, but rather search the Scriptures every time we hear God's Word preached to see if these things be so. And if we already have a strong biblical foundation ourselves, we won't be as likely to be led astray.

Taken in conjunction with all my posts on this blog, surely you can see that I do often listen to other men, such as RC Sproul, but I also test it against the Scripture.

I hope that is more clear. This is NOT egalitarian in any way, but if you follow the emergent movement at all, for example, you would clearly see the need for being a Berean. Even though I have no personal interest whatsoever in the emergent movement, I do have friends and family who are there and I need to be able to gently show them from God's Word His truth. In fact, this happened to me very recently and if I had told this person to read a book by some other Christian, rather than go straight to God's Word for the truth about what she's being taught by Rick Warren and others, I think it would have pushed her only farther into the dark side.

We recommend books and "men" so freely; I suggest we get our own foundation solid FIRST and then listen to men with open hearts, but fully testing what they say against Scripture.

As far as your comment about those who were not able to study Scripture for themselves, all I can say is how grateful I am for the Reformation!

Jen said...

~~Beth~~

:-)

MTG said...

I attended a church that had 'disdain for the teachings and creeds of men' It was called a Church of Christ. It was all legalism and no theology. As a matter of fact...theology was not to be studied lest you become contaiminated by 'denominationalism'. The calvinists and reformers were/are especailly hated and reviled. Kind of funny how the comments on this particular post remind me of those terrible dark days....

beth said...

I liked your last comment and feel that is was from the heart. My concern was for those who might think that it was alright to usurp men who truly follow the teachings of Christ. I do appologize for being snippy I guess being called a man caught me off guard!

Jen said...

MTG, I do not have a disdain for the teachings and creeds of all men, but I certainly do for some men. Again, test the teachings against the Scriptures. All I'm saying is that it has to line up with God's Word, not with your particular doctrine and theology.

Lin said...

Jen, First of all, AMEN! Your post is right on!

I am not really shocked that writing something like this insulted some. Christendom has become followers of men on all sides of the doctrine.

I believe in the priesthood of believers. We no longer have a high priest we must go through.we are free to study scripture and go directly to our Lord. We must all be Bereans.

I would like to ask some other posters here what they would do if some of the teachers they have mentioned started teaching an incorrect doctrine. they would run the other way, right? How would they know? Because they are Bereans so they would recognize error.

With that said, I submit to my own pastor and will until I have reason not to according to his teaching.

Now, I must say that if someone has correct doctrine but their life/actions is diametrically opposed to what they teach, what am I to surmise from that? I must surmise that they have head knowlegde but not the presence of God. (puffed up in knowledge) And I should run away from that teaching. (Still praying for them, of course)

I do not want to get off topic but I do want to point something out about following men. Calvin was involved in some very unsavory things concerning the sacrel church. He believed strongly in the state instituted church and was involved in some persecution of (what they called Heretics who were opposed to the state church and infant baptism) Anabaptists. This does not negate all his teaching. But it goes to the point I am making. We must not follow men. I am not a Calvinist. I am not an Arminian.

I am a follower of Jesus.

Heaven and Home Hour said...

Okay Jen,

It seems this post flows from the post on the "Hebrew mindset" and the responses you recieved from it, so I want to post this here as well to answer your question from "the Bible".

You say if you can be convinced by Scripture you are wrong you will drop the notion of the NT being written in Hebrew oringinally.

Here you go.

In Johnn 5.2 John tells us that "in Hebrew" the pool is called Bethesda.

In John 19.2 he tells us the place is called the pavement but "in Hebrew it is called Gabbatha".

You have two choices
1. The refrences to "in Hebrew" are not in the original NT (since it was written in Hebrew this of course would be a serious redundancy and absurdity). And therefore the NT we have is not only not in the original lanaguage (Hebrew) but it is not even accurate text (since it adds things to the Greek text like, 'in the Hebrew it means'.)

2. Realize that the thesis about the NT being originally in Hebrew is not well supported and move on to a more profitable study.

Being a berean and all, I think you should choose #2

Hebrew and Heaven Hour said...

I see this notion on the site that seems to equate Jen's personal study to the same level as the Reformers during the "dark days" of the Reformation.

It differs in this way
1. The Reformers did not dismiss "tradition" but wanted to hold it up to the light of Scripture

2. The Reformers were trained in the Biblical langauges and were ordained in the church and were coming to different conclusion than tradition and wrestling through such. They were not merely reading the text in their own dialect and making conclusions. That is a major difference in our day. The American idea of "everyone" is an expert in the Bible is unhelpful. Jen while your study is important you should not trust your interpretation "only" since you arent trained to interpret. Tradition does not trump the Bible but neither does personal devotions from those not particularly gifted or trained in such.

The Reformers would encourage folks to read the Bible, they did not encourage folks to act as if their interpretations were to be taken as "just as good" as the trained elders of the church.

Their is a subtle difference between Tradition and tradition as well as Sola Fide, and me and my Bible alone.

Robin said...

Jen, I found your blog site a short time ago and I appreciate so much your comments and your boldness. It is a lonely road to travel against the main stream. I understand what you are saying in this post and I agree with you. You did not come across prideful to me.

Sometimes our position and understanding on things depends on our background. I can agree with you on this because I have already come to these same conclusions based on my own life and church experiences.

I have close family members who have been in church for many years, they are there every time the doors are opened, yet they never open the Bible in private study. They wait for the pastor to tell them what to believe the Bible says, after all he is trained in these matters.Their church has had some really messed up ministers: one had an affair with the music ministers wife, one stole money from the church, several were tyrant legalistic dictators. So this is a very dangerous practice. They are also very immature "Christians" and are not grounded in the word at all.

The Bible says:

1John 2:27 As for you, the annointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you.

Hebrews 8:10-11 I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts, I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying know the LORD, because they will all know Me, from the least to the greatest.

It is sometimes helpful to be taught by trained men, but it is not nesessary for understanding Scripture because the Holy Spirit will teach all men to understand who come to God and seek Him with all of their hearts, souls, and minds. That is God's promise to us.

As I have been involved in different religious, homeschooling forums and in different churches I have seen so much denominational and religious pride. Each group thinking they are so right and the other group could not possibly be right in their intrepretation, even on issues that have been debated on for many years. I have come to the conclusion that no denomination or person has a perfect intrepretation of Scripture. That is why I stopped putting my faith in men and denominations and came to rely entirely on the word of God. I accept it as it is written, so I need no man's imperfect intrepretation.

I have never in my life been one to put people on pedistles, I have never been a respector of persons. When I read books written by mere men, I read very skeptically and compare what is written to Scripture. Many times there are things written by the best and brightest of Christians that is just not accurate.

It saddens me when I discover that the lives of men do not match their teaching. Some time back I did a study on C.S. Lewis and what I discovered was shocking to me. He believed in evolution, he had an affair with a married woman, she later divorced her husband and they married. She was a Jew and not a Christian. These facts are well documented by his step-son and by his best friends.

We went to a reformed church for a short time and the men there frequently went to bars to drink, smoke cigars and discuss theology because that is what C. S. Lewis and his cronies did. That is the R. C. Sproul Jr mentality. If C S Lewis did it then it must be OK, after all he was a brilliant religious scholar and respected author.

Sorry this comment is so long, but I want to encourage you to continue with your bold speaking on topics such as these because there are so few willing to do so.

May God bless you.

Robin

Lindon said...

Hebrew and Heaven Hour, I do not know what to make of your comments. Some do not make sense such as equating Jen's post to the dark days of the Reformation?

BTW: Are you by any chance a pastor?

However, if you really read Jen's post she is advocating that we study scripture...being a Berean. How is that wrong in any way shape or form?

I must agree with Robin. She puts it so much better than I did about putting men on pedestals. I was taught that at my mothers knee. Something I conveniently forgot as I got older.

Here are a few of your comments that really concern me:

>>1. The Reformers did not dismiss "tradition" but wanted to hold it up to the light of Scripture>>

This is simply not true. They basically kept the state church, baptized babies and persecuted anabaptists for refusing to be in the state church. They referred them to the magistrates for punishment.

>>The Reformers were trained in the Biblical langauges and were ordained in the church and were coming to different conclusion than tradition and wrestling through such.>>

Many knew that much of the traditions that their reformed church kept were not biblical such as Zwingili and even Luther but they did not dare lead the charge to change them. Luther even wrote about someday having a church with only real believers in it along side the state church.

And they too accused the Anabaptists of not being trained. Funny how we can look back and see the Anabaptists knew scripture better than the 'trained' Reformers. They were willing to die for the truth. And they did.

<< They were not merely reading the text in their own dialect and making conclusions.>>

Actually, that was a charge made against the Anabaptists...that they were reading scripture in the 'vulgar' language and not just the Latin.

BTW: I am not 'anti-Reformation'. I just do not like to see history rewritten. I realize many things changed for the better. There are still some traditions lurking that are very legalistic like your post. I sometimes have to laugh when I think that had it not been for the persecuted remnant going against the Reformation Traditions, we would have had a state church right here in America!

>> That is a major difference in our day. The American idea of "everyone" is an expert in the Bible is unhelpful.>>

Are you trying to say that the Holy Spirit cannot guide Jen in the understanding of scripture? Are you saying that it must be interpreted to her by a trained pastor?

Can you elaborate on the training the pastor must receive in order to do this correctly?

>> Jen while your study is important you should not trust your interpretation "only" since you arent trained to interpret.>>

I find this a very sad statement if you are really a follower of Christ. THINK OF THIS: If she is not a Berean, how is she to know whose (man's) interpretation to trust?

>> Tradition does not trump the Bible but neither does personal devotions from those not particularly gifted or trained in such.>>

In saying 'gifted' are you speaking of the Holy Spirit? As to being trained, I find that a bit prideful. One things we must understand is that the disciples Jesus chose in the beginning were not the cream of the crop. If they had been the 'trained' they would not have been working at jobs but still studying under a Rabbi being prepared as a religious leader. He chose them for a reason. Still, they are what you would call: The untrained.

(Paul was an exception to this)

>>The Reformers would encourage folks to read the Bible, they did not encourage folks to act as if their interpretations were to be taken as "just as good" as the trained elders of the church.>>

I find this statement equally prideful. One of the saddest days of my life was when I had to explain to an elder of my former church what a Berean was. This was a 60 year old man who had been an elder for 20 years, taught SS, lead Bible studies, etc. You just never know....

>>Their is a subtle difference between Tradition and tradition as well as Sola Fide, and me and my Bible alone.>>

And what would that subtle difference be?

I, for one, pray that Jen keeps up this rigorous study of scripture and writes about it.

I, in turn, will be a Berean and prayerfully search out whatever she writes about.

Lindon said...

In Johnn 5.2 John tells us that "in Hebrew" the pool is called Bethesda.

In John 19.2 he tells us the place is called the pavement but "in Hebrew it is called Gabbatha".>>>

Wonder why He bothered to tell us what is was in Hebrew?

Was Jesus not a Hebrew? Were the Inspired writers of the NT not Hebrews? Could it be that the language was Greek (for a reason) and the mindset was Hebrew?

Just thinking out loud.

Jen said...

Robin, thanks for your strong stand. Remember to always study in context. I wouldn't usually do this, as I know you meant well, and I hope you take this in the right spirit, but since this post was about being a Berean, may I suggest that you check Jer. 31 for the quote you used from Hebrews. You will find that this is still a future prophecy. It will be great when, someday, we all know the Lord, and we don't have to teach each other, but we are still in the "teaching one another" phase. Before anyone says something more about me not listening at all to the teachings of men, I will say again that I do listen to other men, but I already have a strong biblical foundation first, and I always check what they teach against Scripture, which is what every Christian should do.

I fully appreciate your I John quote, however.

There's a lot more about CS Lewis we should be concerned about. Maybe I'll write a post about him sometime!

Jen said...

Hebrew and Heaven Hour (I'm trying keep your name consistent even if you forgot what it was!), thanks for being a Berean and posting those verses here. I shall look into them later and post a response on the other post, where it belongs. Give me a couple days to look into it, please. I would like to point out that my saying that it is a possibility that the NT was written in Hebrew does not negate the rest of the post, however. I will treat them as separate issues!

Lindon did a great job of refuting some of your other statements, but let me take a stab at it as well.

You said that some here are "equat(ing) Jen's personal study to the same level as the Reformers during the "dark days" of the Reformation." I believe you are highly confused here. Someone asked about what people were to do in the past who didn't have their own copy of the Scriptures with which to be Bereans, and I answered that I was thankful for the Reformation, meaning that we are now able to study it for ourselves, as God originally intended! If this is any indication of the way you interpret Scripture, I would highly recommend that you be one who leaves the studying to others and listens at the feet of men who are known to exposit the Word more accurately.

If you want to talk about tradition, you stay right here and I will gladly discuss tradition in the coming weeks. We have plenty of "tradition" coming up that I'm just itching to talk about!

H&HH, did I ever say that I only study the Bible in English? Aren't you contradicting yourself here? First, you chastise me for going back and studying in the original Hebrew, and now you accuse me of studying only in English! Which is it? I wonder why I would advocate word study and dictionaries and concordances if I only studied in English? Your faulty logic is showing!

I am not "trained" to interpret Scripture? Could you please provide me with the verse that says only those who are trained can interpret? And how do you know what training I have or not?

Can you also please show me where I said I only trust my "interpretation" of Scripture? I believe my main point here is to test everything we hear and read against Scripture; can you show me where I said we can come up with our own interpretation? In fact, the phrase "in my interpretation" is one of the most abominable phrases in the Christian vocabulary. None of us has the right to "our" interpretation. You will notice all throughout my blog that I specifically say, in one way or another, "What saith the Scripture?"

H&HH, I think you just missed the whole point of this post if you are going to refer to the Reformers again! While I am eternally grateful for many things the Reformers did and taught, they are NOT the example I live my life by. There is only one man's example I live my life by and that is Paul's. If you are a Berean, you will understand that comment. If not, stay tuned for more later!

Bible-centered said...

I appreciate Jen's latest thought-provoking post and [most of] the discussion that has followed. However, more than a few of her critics apparently fail to notice that her title "Bereanology" and declaration of a new theology are entirely tongue in cheek. Jen is making one simple point: that many in the church today spend more time following the teachings of men about God's word than they spend time in God's word. In that she is entirely correct, and I suspect that at least some of the critics of this article are people who would particularly benefit by what it says.

RefCal said...

Go for it Jen! May you succeed.

But it has been tried already.

Many times.

By people who ended up founding sects.

BTW it's hard to get my posts to
"take" lately, but I keep trying.
Thus the abbreviated handle.