Biblical Research and staying out of grief May 30 2003
Ok it may not be a good idea to be writing this now. It is a case of doing anything to get my mind off my grandfather. I am praying of course. But I want to remain positive. Maybe this will help...
Douglas and I were planning on visiting my family sometime this summer. I was tying up some loose ends. I was trying to work on an embroidery for my mother (10 years late) and I was cataloging some videos for my sister Lori. My sister is sort of a "Royal Watcher". We live near Canada and the CBC plays all sorts of documentaries and specials about the British Royal family. (CBC = Canadian Broadcasting Corp.) I was cataloguing the tape I made of the "Queen Mum's" funeral. (The Queen's Mother) It was a very somber occasion. Near the beginning of the tape my mother called to let me know my grandfather was in the hospital. They think when they took out his gallbladder seven years ago, they left in a gal stone. So that is what has been giving him grief all this time. That news and the video prompted me to write this so I could think of something else for a while.
I have been reading this paper I pulled off the net called, BEWARE OF PHILOSOPHY: A WARNING TO BIBLICAL SCHOLARS by Norman L. Geisler, Ph.D. You can find it at http://www.ses.edu/journal/issue2_1/2_1geisler.htm If you have Adobe Acrobat or a similar program on your computer, you can click on "Download this Article" and you can view a wonderful PDF version of this document. It is really for Biblical Scholars. A lot of the words are "PHD" sort of words and you may need a good dictionary if you read that paper.
I like the part at the end, where he tells people HOW to avoid Philosophy. The author takes a lot of the main philosophies that influence Biblical Scholarship and he tells you why they aren't good. He is coming from an Evangelical point of view. I can't remember what I put into Google that caused me to find this paper. I have been looking up various words to learn their meaning. It is a good paper to read if you want to learn what various philosophies "believe".
There are books and web sites which explain The Bible through a philosophy of some sort or other. I never know what the philosophical words mean. So this paper is a step in learning what the words mean. I am not saying that I am studying philosophy. I just see certain words a lot, and I was just wondering what they meant.
I was writing a guy in Russia. He was studying for a PHD in MRI technology. (Actually NMR--Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) He was learning to design MRI machines (I think). It was very "brainy" stuff. I think he was studying Philosophy too. He was asking me about a book called, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". I have never read that book, and it does not sound interesting. But I did send him a book which was a Christian book..."Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance". I don't know if he ever read it.
The thing is, one has to be careful as philosophy can be very interesting---once you learn what the terms mean. I try to stay out of it as much as possible. I want to know what some of the terms mean and then I want out of it. Philosophy has never made much sense to me anyway. Thank God!!
What was interesting to me about writing to this PHD student, was that I could carry on a conversation with him. I did not have to know PHD language to "converse" with him. Of course he is learning English. But I was able to read some of his research papers and I sort of understood what he was driving at. He was having me see if his English was ok. I wasn't correcting every word. He just wanted to know if I could read them ok. One paper was short and I tried to correct each sentence. I couldn't fathom this one sentence. I did not know if the verb tense was right. I did not know if the nouns were plural or singular. I did not know what these words meant. I couldn't look them up in a dictionary, because they would not be in one. They were specific to NMR technology and I don't have that kind of dictionary. I think I tried looking the words up online and couldn't find them that way either.
The paper was going to be submitted to an NMR Journal. I figured that if the sentence was not correct, the people who knew NMR, that would be reading this journal, they would know enough to be able to figure out that sentence.
I am working on a "glossary" of terms. Biblical terms, "theological" terms, or other terms that people use when talking about the Bible. Some of the terms people use are "philosophical" terms. It all started when I was looking up some Biblical subjects online. I once typed into Google, the phrase, "Biblical Science" and I opened up a large can of worms. I found all the "Atheists, Skeptics, and Freethinkers" and their "Anti-Biblical" web sites. I have learned to stay out of that stuff. But I kept running across these words that I did not know the meaning of. For example one word was "exegete". It is my understanding that an "exegete" is someone who explains difficult passages in texts. It could be any text or writing, it does not have to be the Bible. Although, in "our" context, we are dealing with Biblical exegetes.
Then I am learning about "Apologetics". I learned in a Biblical Research class, that people do not have to apologize for the Bible. What I need to learn, is how to teach on certain subjects without getting into (or rather, teaching via) "Apologetics". I really want to use my writing talents and write something Biblical. I want to write a book or pamphlet about the Bible and Science. These are two subjects that fascinate me at the moment.
There are a lot of neat things on the net about the Bible. The Biblical student has to be very careful!! There are a lot of "loopy" things out there as well. There are lists on the net of things that people use to "prove" that the Bible is not inerrant. (Inerrant = another word in my glossary and it means, "without error".) I pulled off one or two lists so I could look up the references they were referring to. Some of them take very little study to figure out. Others will take looking up the Greek or Hebrew words in a concordance.
(If you don't have a good concordance then get one! Young's and Strong's are the best.) After I had the references, I then typed those into Google. I learned some interesting things that taught what the Bible says on the subject.
One was about the teaching Jesus taught about the mustard seed. Jesus says it is the smallest of seeds. "Scholars" are quick to point out that it is not the smallest seed. AND the ancient people KNEW of the smallest seed by then. (The smallest seed is from a South American orchid.) According to what I have learned online, Jesus was using an example that his audience would know. They were a rural people who would have known agricultural references. The mustard would have been the smallest seed the farmers sowed. Another web site said that Jesus was using the figure of speech, "Semitic Hyperbole". Both of these make sense, but they also need more study.
It is still better than trashing The Word, by saying that Jesus lied by not teaching about the orchid. (Actually they don't say that Jesus lied, because they don't believe in a "historical" Jesus. They say that the "authors of the Gospels" lied.)
I was just looking up which flower had the smallest seed, and I ran across this paper about "The Myth of the Flat Earth". http://id-www.ucsb.edu/fscf/library/RUSSELL/FlatEarth.html [August 9, 2006, this article isn't there any more.]
Of course this book is controversial. I have seen "the flat earth" on the lists that supposedly "prove" the Bible is a lie. They say that the Bible says that the earth is flat. AND they complain that The Word says the earth has four corners. Well, how many times have these people said, "I searched the four corners of the earth for ________ and I couldn't find any!"? Well, that is similar to how God uses the phrase "four corners of the earth". It is a figure of speech. The Bible does say that the earth is a sphere. At least I had it in my mind that it did.
I went to look up "sphere" via the Unbound Bible and it wasn't there. But in the process I re-discovered this neat oh verse: Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint. Isn't that cool!! I also found that Isaiah 40:22 talks of the "circle of the earth". Maybe that was what I was thinking of.
You can look up the Unbound Bible via Google. It is a wonderful study tool!!!! It has various Bible translations and you can do searches in languages other than English.
Time flies when you are having fun!! It is after 2:00AM and I am getting sleepy. I will see you tomorrow (Oops! That would be Saturday and not Friday. I am thinking of Friday as tomorrow...) Robyn