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Biblical Interpretation
 Shovel Shack : Biblical Interpretation
Subject Topic: Interpretation in the Apostles days
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Engineer
Digger
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Posted: Aug-09-10 at 9:58pm | IP Logged  

Hey, new guy back again!

Probably no hard answers for this, but interested in your opinions and theories.

In Pauls day when he wrote his letters to the churches, did they have as much difficulty discerning what he was saying as we do today?  Today we have translation issues on top of not understanding cultural meanings and the context that the letters were written to address.  So when the Corinthians, Galations, Philippians, etc read the letters did they all (tough word to use) understand what Paul was telling them?

Or was the meaning hidden to the unseeing, as much a mystery then as it is to many today?

Carl 

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Tim P
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Posted: Aug-09-10 at 10:54pm | IP Logged  

Carl,
I imagine that many contemporaries of Paul has as much difficulty understanding His gospel as many of us do today.

Tim
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luvin
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Posted: Aug-09-10 at 11:34pm | IP Logged  

Engineer wrote:

Hey, new guy back again!

Probably no hard answers for this, but interested in your opinions and theories.

In Pauls day when he wrote his letters to the churches, did they have as much difficulty discerning what he was saying as we do today?  Today we have translation issues on top of not understanding cultural meanings and the context that the letters were written to address.  So when the Corinthians, Galations, Philippians, etc read the letters did they all (tough word to use) understand what Paul was telling them?

Or was the meaning hidden to the unseeing, as much a mystery then as it is to many today?

Carl 

Hi Carl,
Welcome back..to the Shack! I really don't think they had nearly as much trouble understanding things as they were written as we have as of now. Now that is not to say that they couldn't have possibly viewed it according to the fleshly sense.[for THAT has never changed] For I have come to realize that many in those times were viewing the wisdom of God according to the flesh. In fact Paul clearly states that in Corinthians. Does that help at all? I am curious, what are you considering in view of this questioning?

Adam


      

It is peace[the kind we long for] to know that my life patterns do not distract or derail the Living God"-Adam

http:newthatsliving.blogspot.com
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Dignz
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Posted: Aug-10-10 at 1:06am | IP Logged  

it is true that the gospel paul shared of christ was and continues to be considered 'foolishness' to the world.  however, carl you asked specifically about the letters written, not necessarily the gospel per se.  am i mistaking you there?  the gospel is of course woven all through the letters, yet they did also cover specifics concerning whom the letters were written TO. 

i think that not keeping that in mind (that the letters were written to specific folks and places and times) is where so much confusion has come in for so many generations of individuals and groups reading the letters long AFTER those they were written TO were gone. 

no i am not saying that no one can or has not learned MUCH MUCH MUCH from those letters.  please do not get that impression.  it is not what i am implying at all.  but i DO believe that those whom paul wrote to on more familiar terms and issues concerning them in their time knew what he was saying and meaning, even if it was after some discussion between them afterward. 

i am presently having a flash of memory concerning one of the apostles (maybe peter?) making a comment once about how things the apostle paul wrote about were 'hard sayings', but maybe that could have been a jewish/gentile issue?  i don't remember exactly at this time.  i will have to check that out later.  it is waaaay too late for me right now.  on my way to bed ... just popped in to see what was going on here at the shovel-shack.  it is very nice to see you again, carl.  :)

those are just a few little thoughts that came to mind for now.  great questions for sure!  :)




Edited by Dignz on Aug-10-10 at 1:09am


      

"afterall, he's not a tame lion"
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Dave S
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Posted: Aug-10-10 at 6:25am | IP Logged  

Engineer wrote:

Hey, new guy back again!

Probably no hard answers for this, but interested in your opinions and theories.

In Pauls day when he wrote his letters to the churches, did they have as much difficulty discerning what he was saying as we do today?  Today we have translation issues on top of not understanding cultural meanings and the context that the letters were written to address.  So when the Corinthians, Galations, Philippians, etc read the letters did they all (tough word to use) understand what Paul was telling them?

Or was the meaning hidden to the unseeing, as much a mystery then as it is to many today?

Carl 

Simply, yes.

But they, just as us, had/have a cord of love, a "tow-rope" so to speak, dragging us through the mire of flesh,law, condemnation,confusion,temptation, etc, until all that remains is Christ.

A thought just arrived,. How about an umbilical cord of love.

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Engineer
Digger
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Posted: Aug-10-10 at 11:06am | IP Logged  

Thanks all!  Great insight.

Tim P wrote:
Carl,
I imagine that many contemporaries of Paul has as much difficulty understanding His gospel as many of us do today.

Tim

I agree, especially when referring to His gospel vs just the letters.  I didn't really clarify that.

 

luvin wrote:

 I am curious, what are you considering in view of this questioning?

Adam

I am just curious what others thought really.  When you look at the 2000 years of history since Christ walked the earth, I don't see any evidence of a true (as I believe Paul meant and what has been revealed to me) understanding of the Gospel.  It SEEMS to have been subverted from the very beggining, with the Romans taking over control of the proper church, and it being corrupt throughout history.  Then you look at Luther and the reformation and a hint of the truth is brought back, but only a shadow of true reliance on Christ unencumberd by the bondage of works.  Or did Luther see the freedom that we see?  I look at the founding fathers, men rooted in Christianity and yet in complete bondage to the law.  Some of them questioned the doctrines of the Church, did they see the error in that bondage?

So through 2000 years of history the true gospel has never been evident, and yet here we are, I believe understanding the true meaning of the Gospel delivered to Paul.  Have people through the ages had the same understanding and yet through the filter of history the true meaning remains hidden even as it does to so many in the church today?

The old saying "junk in junk out" may apply.  Depending on your frame of reference you see what you expect to see.  From the worlds standpoint of performance = acceptance / love the bible must be telling us how (what we need to do) to be accepted by God.  God isn't working under those rules.  Praise his name!

So looking at what seems to be a failure of the message of the Gospel through human eyes is actually part of the plan and success to God.

Dignz wrote:
it is true that the gospel paul shared of christ was and continues to be considered 'foolishness' to the world.  however, carl you asked specifically about the letters written, not necessarily the gospel per se.  am i mistaking you there?  the gospel is of course woven all through the letters, yet they did also cover specifics concerning whom the letters were written TO. 

i think that not keeping that in mind (that the letters were written to specific folks and places and times) is where so much confusion has come in for so many generations of individuals and groups reading the letters long AFTER those they were written TO were gone. 

no i am not saying that no one can or has not learned MUCH MUCH MUCH from those letters.  please do not get that impression.  it is not what i am implying at all.  but i DO believe that those whom paul wrote to on more familiar terms and issues concerning them in their time knew what he was saying and meaning, even if it was after some discussion between them afterward. 

i am presently having a flash of memory concerning one of the apostles (maybe peter?) making a comment once about how things the apostle paul wrote about were 'hard sayings', but maybe that could have been a jewish/gentile issue?  i don't remember exactly at this time.  i will have to check that out later.  it is waaaay too late for me right now.  on my way to bed ... just popped in to see what was going on here at the shovel-shack.  it is very nice to see you again, carl.  :)

those are just a few little thoughts that came to mind for now.  great questions for sure!  :)


Yes I was thinking more of the letters, but in reflection the letters are the Gospel.  I had completely forgotten Peters quote about many things hard to understand.  That does bring some perspective.

Carl

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gregoryfl
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Posted: Aug-10-10 at 1:52pm | IP Logged  

Engineer wrote:

So through 2000 years of history the true gospel has never been evident, and yet here we are, I believe understanding the true meaning of the Gospel delivered to Paul.  Have people through the ages had the same understanding and yet through the filter of history the true meaning remains hidden even as it does to so many in the church today?

Carl

There is a difference between evidence (that which is evident) understanding (that which is perceived) and reality (that which IS). All who have been awakened have their evidence and understanding rooted in the reality, whether they see any evidence of it, or perceive it as of yet. Yes, it may appear to be hidden, but not FROM us, but IN us, which makes its revelation (that which is perceived and evident to us) all the sweeter.

Ron


      

What do you see when you look at me? Not the visible me that your eyes can see. For in Christ I am dead, yet alive and free. Free to be it all, as he lives in me.
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the shovel
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Posted: Aug-10-10 at 2:10pm | IP Logged  

Dave S wrote:
Simply, yes.

But they, just as us, had/have a cord of love, a "tow-rope" so to speak, dragging us through the mire of flesh,law, condemnation,confusion,temptation, etc, until all that remains is Christ.

A thought just arrived,. How about an umbilical cord of love.



Dave, this is important to consider, for otherwise we hold onto the idea that our level of understanding is what brings liberty, rather than the truth that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. He indeed is that umbilical cord of love. He is the one who keeps us untouched even while sometimes sloshing through the mire of this world.

Jim


      

DIGGIN'THE LIFE!
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luvin
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Posted: Aug-10-10 at 2:47pm | IP Logged  

Yes Dave,
I too was struck by your post not because it just sounded "nice" but, rather because it is a great and true testimony of our Life in Him. For the fire is only serving to reveal the true character[and our true reality] of our Lord in us in that sense ya know?


      

It is peace[the kind we long for] to know that my life patterns do not distract or derail the Living God"-Adam

http:newthatsliving.blogspot.com
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the shovel
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Posted: Aug-10-10 at 3:50pm | IP Logged  

gregoryfl wrote:
There is a difference between evidence (that which is evident) understanding (that which is perceived) and reality (that which IS). All who have been awakened have their evidence and understanding rooted in the reality, whether they see any evidence of it, or perceive it as of yet. Yes, it may appear to be hidden, but not FROM us, but IN us, which makes its revelation (that which is perceived and evident to us) all the sweeter.

Ron


Ron, I love the distinction you bring out as to how the evidence is not hidden from us but hidden in us!

Jim


      

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the shovel
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Posted: Aug-10-10 at 4:23pm | IP Logged  

Engineer wrote:
Hey, new guy back again!   Probably no hard answers for this, but interested in your opinions and theories. In Pauls day when he wrote his letters to the churches, did they have as much difficulty discerning what he was saying as we do today?  Today we have translation issues on top of not understanding cultural meanings and the context that the letters were written to address.  So when the Corinthians, Galations, Philippians, etc read the letters did they all (tough word to use) understand what Paul was telling them? Or was the meaning hidden to the unseeing, as much a mystery then as it is to many today? Carl


I have no doubt that the people Paul wrote to had difficulty with numerous things in their day regarding some of the stuff he brought up. However I don't think we can equate it with most of our interpretation problems, for I am certain we stumble all over issues and verses they didn't even think twice about. Now fleshly wisdom has remained the same, and this is what forms both our struggles as well as theirs. They also had conflicts created by one or more religious systems as we may have, and many of the Jewish believers probably struggled with many OT scriptures as we do with the NT letters. The irony in this is that while the apostles' letters gave those believers insight and clear statements of freedom into the changes from old to the new covenants, we now have the added difficulty of viewing those letters as if meant to be confusing.

I've written quite a bit on these matters over the years. You might find something here or here

Engineer wrote:
Yes I was thinking more of the letters, but in reflection the letters are the Gospel.  I had completely forgotten Peters quote about many things hard to understand.  That does bring some perspective.


Actually, Peter's statement was that there were some things hard to understand. I certainly wouldn't use it as a catchall to explain why we have difficulty sifting through the confusion that has been added by two millenia of fleshly wisdom, religious injections, and translation shifts.

Jim


      

DIGGIN'THE LIFE!
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Engineer
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Posted: Aug-10-10 at 7:35pm | IP Logged  

Thanks to everyone for all the insight....  I thought it was a simple question!

I had to go so my last response was cut short.  It seems I concluded that I agreed with Peter that it was to hard to understand.

Just kidding.

But the links were very interesting.   I thought this in the intro to the Shovelation was very fitting for this thread:

"If Paul, Peter, James or John were to write their letters today we wouldn't recognize them. They would be too relevant and easy to understand -- like real letters! We try so hard to figure out what the Bible might be saying to US, but do we think it was originally this difficult? Look for a special meaning and you will lose the real meaning; get an idea of what it meant to THEM and you will understand what it means to YOU. This is why I am writing the Shovelation."

I have some more reading to do.



Edited by Engineer on Aug-10-10 at 7:36pm
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Debi
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Posted: Aug-11-10 at 12:43pm | IP Logged  

If we're living by the life of Christ, we will see.

I enjoyed this from: "I struggle with finding the right interpretation of the Bible"

Jim wrote:
See, what they did was to play around with the technicalities of the Law. We still do this all the time. How? When we come up with our ridiculous assumptions about how God COULDN'T do this, or would HAVE to do that, all in an attempt to argue away the obviousness of the simplicity of Christ.

and

Quote:
Don't miss the fact that there is only one real consideration regarding EVERY SINGLE ONE of the set-ups made by the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the scribes, the lawyers, the priests, the rabbis, or whoever. The bottom-line purpose of it all was to disprove Jesus. That is how it remains to this day.


And Jim talks about how people force whatever view they hold into the interpretation but that life is not a matter of interpretation.

Quote:
The new covenant is not a how to kind of life ... it is simply the life of God living in man doing its amazing and incredible work. What else do you expect to find in a book that is attempting to give you a Biblical handle on how to life the Christian life?


I like the term "Biblical gymnastics".

Good stuff.



      

Debi
"Truth is not the sum total of all true things, but is instead a person & His name is Jesus & He has become our LIFE."
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csnarnia
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Posted: Aug-12-10 at 1:49am | IP Logged  

The fleshly minded believer just doesn't want to
believe that believing in Jesus is a total gift from
God and it's His work, not theirs. We are a result of
his workmanship.
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