Day 1494 – Bible Study – Understand What Your Bible Is – Meditation Monday
Welcome to Day 1494 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.
This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom
Bible Study – Understand What Your Bible Is – Meditation Monday
Wisdom - the final frontier to true knowledge. Welcome to Wisdom-Trek! Where our mission is to create a legacy of wisdom, to seek out discernment and insights, to boldly grow where few have chosen to grow before. Hello, my friend, I am Guthrie Chamberlain, your captain on our journey to increase Wisdom and Create a Living Legacy. Thank you for joining us today as we explore wisdom on our 2nd millennium of podcasts. This is Day 1494 of our Trek, and it is time for Meditation Monday. Taking time to relax, refocus, and reprioritize our lives is crucial in order to create a living legacy. For you, it may just be time alone for quiet reflection. You may utilize structured meditation practices. In my life, Meditation includes reading and reflecting on God’s Word and in prayer. It is a time to renew my mind, refocus on what is most important, and making sure that I am nurturing my soul, mind, and body. As you come along with me on our trek each Meditation Monday, it is my hope and prayer that you, too, will experience a time for reflection and renewing of your mind.
We are continuing our series this week on Meditation Monday as we focus on Mastering Bible Study through a series of brief insights from Hebrew Scholar, Dr. Michael S. Heiser. Our current insights are focusing on what the Bible is. Today let us meditate on:
Bible Study – Understand What Your Bible Is
· Insight Twenty-Seven: The Old Testament Came before the New Testament
I know what you’re thinking. How profound. Talk about having a firm grasp on the obvious. Fair enough. But some of the essential keys for Bible study are hidden in plain sight. This thought is utterly crucial, and one most Bible students miss despite its transparency. There are few things more critical for biblical theology than having this fact invade your mind and establish a permanent beachhead.
Even someone who’s never read the Bible can discover that the Old Testament came before the New Testament. That is the purpose of the Table of Contents. Yet even seasoned Christians read and study the Bible as if that observation is more a trivia point than a vital clue to competent Bible study. I know of preachers who don’t consider the Old Testament worthy of pulpit time. I’ve had many sincere Christians tell me they can’t recall the last time their pastor went through an Old Testament book. The average person in the church has been conditioned to equate the word “Bible” with “Jesus” or “the Gospels” or “the book of Revelation.” Don’t believe me? Ask a dozen people in your church this question, and see what answers you get: “What’s the Bible about?” Most answers will sound like you asked what the New Testament was about.
Ignorance of the Old Testament is a severe issue. I’d call it a hermeneutical crime. Since it came before the New Testament, it was the Bible of Jesus, the apostles, and the first Christians. The Old Testament is three-quarters of your Bible. The New Testament books quote from it for a simple reason: New Testament theology is tethered to Old Testament theology. Since it came first, it has “coherence priority’’—it is essential for understanding what follows. There isn’t a page of the New Testament that doesn’t reference the Old Testament somehow. Every New Testament doctrine has its roots in the Old Testament.
We like to say that Scripture must be interpreted in context. The Old Testament is the primary context for the New Testament. Without a grasp of the Old Testament’s purpose and theology, any commitment to context forfeits its authenticity.
· Insight Twenty-Eight: Read the Preface to Your Bible Translation
Most nonfiction books have a preface. Whoever wrote that did so intending to convey personal thoughts to the reader that help give the book some context. A writer might recount how the book came about and what it was that prompted him or her to tackle the project in the first place. The writer might want to thank people who influenced the content or provided assistance of some kind toward its publication.
A preface differs from a chapter of introduction since it is usually considered part of the book s content. In other words, a preface doesn’t contribute to the subject matter of the book, but it does provide vital information for framing or appreciating the subject matter. In the case of a Bible translation, the preface explains how it was created and describes the publishing decisions on formatting and style.
For example, the preface to the ESV discusses its translation philosophy. The scholars who produced the ESV had as their aim a translation that was “essentially literal” and proceeds to explain that such an approach “seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer.” Consequently, “the emphasis is on “word-for-word” correspondence, at the same time taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original languages.
There are other translation approaches, such as rendering the biblical text thought-for-thought instead of word-for-word, or preferring to paraphrase the text. For a serious study of the biblical text, this is useful information, especially if you are dependent on English translations.
We also learn from the ESV’s preface that, for the Old Testament, it occasionally departed from the traditional (“Masoretic”) Hebrew text in favor of adopting a different wording from the Dead Sea Scrolls. Rather than insert a divergent reading from the Dead Sea Scrolls in a marginal footnote, the ESV puts the alternative wording in the translation’s actual running text. This approach is most clearly evident in Deuteronomy 32:8, 43. This information is also vital for the Bible student. It offers a clear answer as to why the ESV translation would disagree with other English translations at specific points.
Before your next Bible study session, if you haven’t already done so, read the preface to your translation. Please don’t skip it. You’ll learn something you can use in your Bible study.
Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.
That is a wrap for today’s Meditation. Next week we will continue our trek on Meditation Monday as we take time to reflect on what is most important in creating our living legacy. On tomorrow’s trek, we will explore another wisdom quote. This 3-minute wisdom supplement will assist you in becoming healthy, wealthy, and wise each day. Thank you for joining me on this trek called life. Encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along tomorrow for another day of ‘Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.’
If you would like to listen to any of the past 1493 daily treks or read the daily Journal, they are available at Wisdom-Trek.com. I encourage you to subscribe to Wisdom-Trek on your favorite podcast player so that each day will be downloaded to you automatically.
Thank you for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most importantly, I am your friend as I serve you through this Wisdom-Trek podcast and Journal.
As we take this Trek of life together, let us always:
Live Abundantly (Fully)
Lend to others Generously
Lead with Integrity
Leave a Living Legacy Each Day
I am Guthrie Chamberlain….reminding you to ’Keep Moving Forward,’ ‘Enjoy your Journey,’ and ‘Create a Great Day…Everyday’! See you tomorrow!