17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 [I pray that] the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what the hope of His calling is, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,” – Ephesians 1:17-18 NASB95
The following are brief thoughts or quotes from different authors, and/or speakers that have resonated with me in the last months. The Holy Spirit has used the information to illuminate and transform me by bringing encouragement, comfort, help, conviction, and obedience. I also have my thoughts intermingled in the article. It has been surprising to me to realize how many times I communicate these thoughts in my substantive public interactions with people coming from all levels of spiritual interest.
You will also notice that I have referenced a significant amount of comments that have an apologetic tone to them. Probably because I am addressing some of the cultural challenges we face, especially here in the Northwest.
It is motivational to even write these thoughts out, but far more redemptive to intertwine them in my daily conversations, especially when I engage in meaningful conversations with Christian and non-Christians alike. Please remember… we are all teachers!
Perhaps they will impact you as they have me. Please consider writing your own and pass them on to others either by writing people or in your daily encounters. Be a positive redemptive conversationalist!
“13 When you come, bring the overcoat which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments.” – 2 Timothy 4:13 NASB20
From the above verse I am assuming Paul was a reader. I want to be like Paul ☺.
#1 From The Forgotten Ways, by Alan Hirsch
A Hellenistic (Greek) view of knowledge is concerned with concepts., ideas, the nature of being, types, and forms. The Hebraic (Hebrew) view, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with issues of concrete existence, obedience; life-oriented wisdom and the interrelationship of all things under God.”
“The assumption in Hellenistic thinking is that if people get the right ideas, they will simply change their behavior. The Hellenistic approach, therefore, can be characterized as an attempt to try to think our way into a new way of acting. Both experience and history show the fallacy of such thinking. And it certainly does not make disciples. All we do is change the way a person thinks; the problem is that his or her behaviors remain largely unaffected.” Page 122-123
It is quite clear that Christ and the early church operated primarily out of a Hebraic understanding, rather than a Hellenistic one. May we be more attuned to do the same!
Simply put, the Hebraic paradigm is: Act your way into thinking, and the Hellenistic paradigm is: Think your way into acting.
“21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” – Matthew 6:21 NLT
As a side note, Mark Batterson, who I reference below, read 3,000 books before he wrote his first book! OH MY!!
The following is a good example of the Hebraic approach, where a person acts his way into correct thinking.
#2 From Chase the Lion, by Mark Batterson
“Every act of kindness creates a ripple effect. When you make someone’s day, you don’t just make his or her day, because there’s a good chance that he or she will make someone else’s day. Where the ripple effect of kindness ends, no one knows. And the same is true of love and grace and courage. Give it a generation or two, and it might just be the inciting incident that changes the course of history.” Page 25
“38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” – Acts 10:38 KJV
#3 From Mindset Choices: With Vision from Scripture, by Linda Weber
The following is a good example of the Hellenistic Approach where we think our way into Biblical actions and right behaviors.
Linda provides an example of having positive thoughts and then says, “What an example of our positive thoughts turning into positive feelings, turning into positive actions and then positive results. We can take this to real life and let it repeat with situations we face every day.” Page 36
“For as he thinks within himself, so he is. …” – Proverbs 23:7 NASB
#4 From On the Verge, A Journey into the Apostolic future of the Church, by Alan Hirsch
Based on Matthew 4:17,19 and 23, Hirsch writes,“the kingdom of God, is the subterranean message undergirding all of Scripture. It doesn’t get any deeper than that. God claims exclusive loyalty over His people.” – p. 126
The kingdom of God is the rule and reign of Jesus Christ in us (Luke 17:21), through us (Matthew 12:38) and someday He will literally reign over us (Luke 1:33; 1 Corinthians 15:24).
“But he replied, “I must preach (proclaim) the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent.” – Luke 4:43 NLT
#5 From Follow Me, by Jan David Hettinga
“Jesus Christ did not have a standard one-size-fits-all approach in enlisting people to be His Followers. He attempted to discover the alternative kingdom that they had erected and asked them to relinquish their allegiance to that false kingdom by repenting and submitting to His rule and reign.” Chapter 18, titled “No Formula,” is worth the price of the whole book.
For Jesus Christ, He framed following Him, sin, salvation, and sanctification, as a leadership issue–who will you follow?
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, ‘Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.’” – Matthew 8:8-10 NIV
#6 From The Shaping of Things to Come by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch
“The Hebrew word Torah has traditionally been interpreted as “law,” that is a set of rules or legal codes. This is a somewhat misleading interpretation as it implies the rigid approach to life that distorts the inner intention of the idea of Torah. A better way of looking at it is to see the Torah as an orientation course in the ways of God.
The Shema (Hear, Oh Israel…”) in Deuteronomy 6:4 is the claim of Yahweh God over against the competing claim of the many other gods in the polytheistic religious environment of the day.” p.158-159
By the Shema’s very essence, it is an apologetic (a defense of the Faith). Look also to Philippians 1:7, 16.
“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.” – Psalm 119:97 NKJV
#7 From Love Thy Body, by Nancy R. Pearcey
“Virtually all sex education curricula in America take their lead from the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the Unite States (SIECUS). It’s pronouncements constituents the “official” view. And what does SIECUS say? ‘Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or a combination of these,’ and people’s understanding of their gender identity may change over the course of their lifetimes.’” p. 203
In view of the tsunami of indoctrination of the transgender movement infiltrating our whole culture, Christians must be equipped with sold biblical knowledge and psychological truths to inform fellow believers and our secular culture. I have recommended and bought this book to give to others.
Every sincere person who names the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, ought to read, absorb and communicate the contents from this outstanding book.
#8 From The Great Omission, by Dallas Willard
I have typed and placed the following quote in the front of my everyday Bible:
“Currently we are not saved by grace, we are paralyzed by grace. We find it hard to see that grace is not opposed to effort, but it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude and grace is opposed to that, but it is not opposed to effort.” p. 166
We live in a culture that idolizes success and demonizes failure. But in God’s kingdom the outcome isn’t the primary issue. Success isn’t winning or losing, it is obeying! God doesn’t call us to win. Sometimes He just calls us to try! Either way, it’s obedience that glorifies God!
“23 Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again.” – 2 Corinthians 11:23 NLT
#9 From Exodus: God, Slavery, and Freedom, by Dennis Prager
Recently, I interacted with a Christ follower who has many black Christian friends. The conversation came up about the notion that the Bible is pro-slavery, defining slavery as American Slavery. The misinformation about this subject is massive and we must do a better job of explaining whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Here again the Hebrew bible and the Torah specifically is morally clarifying.
About Slavery: From the Prager Commentary
“The Torah did indeed ban the type of slavery modern people think of (American Slavery in particular) when they picture slavery—kidnapping free human beings and selling them to use as slaves. Regarding the Eighth Commandment, “Do not steal,’ that commandment was understood from its inception as first and foremost prohibiting stealing of human beings. And, as if that is not enough, the kidnapping of any person—Israelite or non-Israelite—for the purpose of enslavement was a capital crime.” p. 279-280
In Exodus 21:16 “He who kidnaps a man—whether he has sold him or is still holding him—shall be put to death.”The English translations (NASV, NIV, NKJV) here use the word “kidnaps.” But the Torah uses the word gonev, which means “steal.” It is the same word used in the Eighth Commandment, “you shall not steal.” Imagine if America functioned with the Mosaic standards. American slavery would not have transpired, and we would not have suffered the from the Civil War. Facetiously, I say, “so much for troughing out that archaic, restrictive Old Testament that has no application for us today.”
16 “He who kidnaps (steals ESV, KJV) a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death. – Exodus 21:16 NASB
#10 From Exodus: God, Slavery, Freedom by Dennis Prager
About Indentured Servitude:
“Indentured servitude was the practice in which a person worked off a debt over a set period, or the destitute found room and board working for no pay. Between one-half and two-thirds of all white immigrants to the British colonies between the Puritan migration of the 1630’s and the Revolution came under indenture.” Page 280-281
Because of the misunderstanding of slavery in our culture today and what Bible says, I add a few more thoughts from Prager:
“Given how rare it is for people who cheat and steal from others to ever recompense their victims, the institution of indentured servitude is not necessarily morally inferior to a thief or embezzler spending time in prison and in no way compensating those from whom he stole. Moreover, given the lack of a mechanism to recompense victims of theft, and given the abysmal prison conditions throughout history (and often now as well), ancient Israelite society was actually quite progressive in its reliance on indentured servitude instead of prison.” Page 282
The Hebrew word for “slave” is “indentured servant” and it is disappointing that we here in America generally assume a “slave” is like slavery of the Southern plantations. It is also disappointing that many times the English translations simply call them “slaves,” and most people do not read the context which overwhelmingly describes an “indentured servant.”
There were three types of people who could become Hebrew slaves (indentured servants): paupers, debtors, and thieves.
• A pauper was one who could not make a living, so he worked for another person in exchange for room and board.
• A debtor who was a person unable to pay off his debts and, therefore, worked without a salary until he worked off his debts.
• A thief who was unable to make restitution would have to work off his theft.
Please consider purchasing at least one of Prager’s commentaries: on Exodus or Deuteronomy. I am reading Deuteronomy for some of my summer reading material.
Look to my blog: www.daleebel.org for the article dated April 15, 2021, titled “Does the Bible Condone American Slavery? Emphatically No!”
#11 I close this first article with one of my most favorite authors, Erwin McMamus, from his book, The Barbarian Way.
First, a few words of clarification. A barbarian was in ancient times a member of a community or tribe not belonging to one of the great civilizations (Greek, Roman, Christian). By this standard they were considered uncivilized simply because they did not fit into the status quo. McManus opens with the quote from Mick the trainer of Rocky Balboa, addressing Balboa— “But then the worst thing happened that could happen to any fighter, you got civilized.”
“Christianity over the past two thousand years has moved from a tribe of renegades to a religion of conformists. Those who choose to follow Christ become participants in an insurrection. To claim we believe is simply not enough. The call of Christ is one that demands action. Jesus began His public ministry with a simple invitation ‘Come follow Me’ (Matthew 4:19). His closing instructions to His disciples can be summarized in one word, ‘Go!’ (Matthew 2.8:19)” p. 5.
Every mens group in the American Church ought to read The Barbarian Way. Don’t you love how over sensational I sound? 🙂
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost…” – Matthew 28:19 KJV
Part Two will be on the way soon!
Going with you and Christ,