Ok. Not the Beginning, but my first step on a journey to rediscover the context of the Gospel. This project has been on my heart and in my mind for too long. And thanks to Kyle, I can no longer say I’ll start tomorrow.
For the record, I can’t claim this is a calling. (My typical inclination is skepticism when I hear others claim being called to do this or that.) But maybe, however, through this prompting to explore the context of the Gospel I’ll actually sit still long enough with open ears to hear Him call me.
I invite you to join me. Click this link and subscribe to get future blog posts by email. It’s not that I believe my words are special, but you’d be doing me a favor by holding me accountable. Accountable to persevere.
So what is This
I’ve procrastinated for too long. And now it’s time to take the first step. This is an exploration of the social norms, cultural nuances, standards, practices, and anything else first century Jews and Greeks would have inherently understood — and that we have long since forgotten. The five books that make up the Gospel were written for specific audiences. Thus, the writers of each book used references that we miss because our social norms have changed.
With this first post, I’m setting out to dig deeper into context that we miss when doing our daily devotionals; to reclaim (at least for myself) meaningful references to other scripture or cultural commentary; and to be better at listening to Him through His Word.
Because I became fascinated by facts presented in a couple of my college courses on the history of Christianity. Some examples; Jonah and the whale is more accurately titled as Jonah and the big fish; there is no Hebrew or Aramaic word for virgin; the crosses used in crucifixions were actual capital ‘T’s — not a lower case ‘t’. And, while not part of the college courses, a sermon about the lack of passiveness in the commands to turn the other cheek, give your shirt to the one who asks for your coat, and to walk the extra mile kindled the fire to pursue what has generally become lost context.
And then, after already contemplating this project for some time, I read Psalm 22 as part of required reading in a discipleship group (a group that I had used as an excuse to procrastinate!). On the cross, Jesus says “Father. Father. Why have you forsaken me?” Until recently, I’d only heard people use this as an example of Christ exhibiting a moment of weakness. But it’s not. In fact, Jesus is quoting Psalm 22 — a song of King David that goes on to praise The Lord! (With the crucifixion in mind, read that psalm. The psalm is prophetic.)
Continuing to push this off until tomorrow is not something I’m willing to do.
What to expect
This is not an academic pursuit. By that, I mean I’ll do my best to avoid jargon. And I’m definitely not doing footnotes. (If I can’t fit it into the context of the paragraph, was it really that important?)
And, probably, sporadic posts. (That’s another reason you should subscribe by email!) My initial preference is to have done fairly thorough research on whatever topic is at hand prior to publishing a new post. Although, I can’t promise that there won’t be shorter posts interspersed in between.
Generally, the plan is to research the author (starting with Matthew ) — who they were, their connection, and the intended audience of their account. Then to move through each book as is natural. In some cases, this may be a whole chapter, or it may be a single verse. Ultimately it depends on where the Spirit leads.
What this blog is not
An endeavor for an academic paper. I speak neither Greek nor Aramaic. Thus, I’ll rely on and trust the accuracy of those that have studied this topic in a far more rigorous and demanding academic setting.
Likewise, I pray that this is the only time I write on this blog the word exegesis. (Though, I do love to use the word ‘thus’. Please expect a lot of those.)
I’m also not setting out to prove the authenticity of the Bible. I believe that it is the word of God. In the entrepreneurial world, this is my leap of faith.
My goal is to merely (merely?) improve my own understanding of the Gospel. At the outset, I admit it’s a selfish endeavor. And I invite you to join me.