In the second week of our Bible Basics series, Paule Patterson explains some of the differences between Eastern and Western cultures, and the effect those differences should have on how we study the bible.
- Defines God’s attributes and nature.
- Studies God
- We attempt to prove God’s existence.
- Develop theological terms for God.
- Focuses on what God does and how He relates to us.
- Seeks to be connected to and be in relationship with God.
- God’s existence is assumed.
- Gives names to God based on what He does.
Genesis 1:1-5 (ESV)
- Truth is static and knowable.
- Truth is intellectual.
- Truth is measurable and consistent.
- Truth is unfolding and might never be fully known.
- Truth is only “known” if lived.
- Truth is mysterious and paradoxical.
John 1:1-5 (ESV)
Spirituality & the Bible
- Dualistic: Separate the physical from the spiritual.
- Heaven is a place separate from our reality.
- The Bible is a textbook to be studied.
- We are both entirely physical and spiritual. There is no division.
- Heaven is a realm meant to co-exist with Earth.
- The Bible is a mystical story that is alive.
Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
- Centered around the individual.
- Community is selected and optional.
- Culture is driven by fear and security.
- Success is dependent on individual career and possessions.
- Centered around the community.
- Community is fixed and obligatory.
- Culture is driven by shame and honor.
- Success is dependent on ensuring legacy.
Luke 15:11-16 (ESV)
- Neither East or West are better. They’re just different.
- We all have a preferred way of viewing the world. The key is to keep in mind how the writers of Scripture viewed the world so we can better understand what they were saying.
- The Bible was written by real people, to real people, in a real time, for real reasons. To divorce the Bible from these is to risk serious misunderstandings and even abuses of Scripture.