In this episode Jimmy and Ben discuss the idea behind the Out Of Context podcast, why you should read scripture out of context and what Jesus meant when he talked about binding and loosing.
In this episode Jimmy and Ben discuss the idea behind the Out Of Context podcast, why you should read scripture out of context and what Jesus meant when he talked about binding and loosing.
so welcome to Episode two of the out of context Podcast way. Just want to take a second and say thank you to all of you that listen to episode one. I think it went way beyond our expectations of what did we say? Our wives and two friends. We had more than there were more than four of us. More than more than four plays. So that was a successful My wife and two of my Children listen to the podcast. Yeah, so welcome back. We're glad that you're here. Andi thought we'd use this episode to set up a little bit of the idea of the out of context podcast. So what does it mean to read Scripture out of context? How do we approach Scripture? And maybe we'll just kind of tackle a little bit of the idea behind the y of this podcast.
Yeah, I think that's a good and, you know, And the thing is, is I'm actually gonna advocate for taking that we should read Scripture out of context. Okay, that's gonna be my position, which probably would surprise some people and annoy others. But Scripture out of context have been I mean, what are some scriptures that when you think of Scripture being read out of context, Ben has a long, illustrious history of the church raids in the church. That was your your context? Yeah. Your dad was a police officer in a pastor. Yeah. Yeah, which is. I mean,
that's a really interesting distinction between those two careers. Yeah. So he was bi vocational police officer by day and pastor, really? By day also, And on the weekends, Um, and so that's the context that I grew up in. Um, when I think about scriptures that we take out of contexts, one that instantly comes to mind is Jeremiah 29 11
Jeremiah 29 11. Yeah. That's Ah, That's a very popular one.
Yeah, I know the plans I have for you plans to prosper, not to harm you, to give you hope in the future way. See that? You know, hanging above mantles in homes.
Yeah. Jeremy, 29 11. My guess is that people can quote that who've never read the book of Jeremiah. Yeah, and hold dearly to it. And so the hard part Ben is Ah, you know, we talked about last time like a reading Scripture from different perspectives. And I hate like crushing people's, you know, here's their mantra, Right? Uh, you know, one of the scriptures that I think of that I go to for out of context Scriptures is Philippians 4 13 right? I can do all things through Christ you string. Yeah, that makes a great tattoo. It is fantastic. And when these air descriptions that we use, you know, it's usually and it's great We're looking for encouraging scriptures that give us some kind of hope. And so Jeremy, 29 11 is certainly one of those scriptures, um, Philippines for 13. But the problem with both of those is like when you look at him in context in the context of what Jeremiah was riding out of or what Paul was writing out of what we often want those verses to mean is not what they met in that context. So the question is, is when we quote a verse like that even to encourage ourselves, are we aware, or is it important to us? Uh, does it matter to us what the original authors may have met? Yeah. Um, and maybe the answer is no. Maybe the answer is, You know, I don't really care about that. So, like in Jeremiah, um to give, like, background for listeners. Um, there's a group of people in the in the Bible in the Hebrew scriptures Israel I ts Ah, they, uh you know, a lot of our in our culture. A lot of people know the story that Israel lights in general sense. You've got the exodus out and you've got this Kingdom of Israel. Their most famous king is King David made their second most famous kings, King Solomon, Israel's one nation that made up of 12 tribes that breaks into after Solomon is king. And so they become Northern Kingdom of Israel on the southern kingdom of Judah. And reason that's important for Jeremiah 29 11 is other empires and kingdoms start to invade. Aah these areas. And so, at the time that Isaiah is riding, for example, the Northern Kingdom is being attacked by a Syria, and that takes place in around in the eighth century BC. So 7 22 BC is kind of the date that people go to Syria conquers the northern kingdom of Israel There no more. And that's where we can get the idea of the 10 lost tribes of Israel. Uh oh, That's not certainly not 10 and they certainly weren't all lost. But they're taking away in the exile by Syria. And then when you come to the ER late five hundreds BC so 5 97 BC to 5 87 Another empire is now attacking the Southern Kingdom that remained the kingdom of Judah, which was made up of some Levi ts and people, the tribe of Judah in some people, the tribe of Benjamin. And then when Babylon conquers Jerusalem, Jeremiah is riding during this time, and he's a prophet. He's been telling the people, Uh, you send, and because of your sin, judgment is coming and the judgment that is coming as God's going to send a foreign power in to conquer you and that power is Babylon. You should surrender to them because God's using them. And the response back to Jeremiah was your false prophet like, how dare you tell us where God's people how dare you tell us that somebody else is gonna come in and conquer us? And Jeremiah was right. The reason we have the Book of Jeremiah is at the end of the day, even though they didn't like to hear what he had to say. Jeremiah was right. He was speaking the truth to them. And Babylon comes in and beginning in 5 97 there, these Siri's of, um, exiles that take place where people in Judea in Judah the region are taken captive, including some of their leaders and their kings. There's a series of brothers who were kings, one after the other. Ah, and a nephew in the part of that process. And, uh, the Babylonians were taking Jews to Babylon as part of the exile. And so, if you can imagine, you know, it's hard for me to imagine. I just watched four sama. Uh, they're not documentary about Syrians who are have gone through the conflict and having worked with some Syrian refugees, I mean, that's what this whole thing is, a foreign power coming in conquering. It would been horrible. People are dying. Jeremiah Wright's traditionally writes the Book of Lamentations, and it's things like women having to cook some of their babies to feed their other Children. While some baby a baby has starved, uh, under the siege, have starved to death. And so instead of just bearing that baby that, you know, the baby's has to be cooked and fed to the other church. That's a terrible thing, right? Like I who who wants to imagine that that's in the scriptural story? Those things were going on. And so it is a time that people need encouragement. So Jeremiah is still in Jerusalem, still in Judah, and he's writing a letter to the exiles that have been taken into exiles into exile under Babylon in Babylon. There, in what would be modern day Iraq, and he writes a letter to him, That's where Jeremiah 29 11 comes and it's a part of that. I'm gonna give you a hope, you know. But the hard part is, is one is that Jeremies not running to an individual, right? Jeremies? Running to a group of people who have this identity is God's people. And they're wondering where God is that in the midst of all this
he's already told them that when you go into exile, you're gonna your exile is gonna be 70 years. So you gotta think about like when he's writing this letter, the people that he's writing it to. They're not even gonna be alive at the end of this process. So what he says to them is, I'm sending you to this place and you're gonna be there for a long time. Getting married. Give your Children and marriage plant vineyards build buildings, pray for the place where I'm sending it. Sending you pray for your enemies is not a is not brand new with Jesus. Yeah, God is saying the people who have conquered you and have done all of these terrible things when you're in exile on their land pray for them and pray for their welfare. Uh, so Jeremies telling them all this And then he says, And I know the plans I have for you plural plans to give you a hope and a future when I say plural is its singular. But it's it's to a group of people, right? And it's like, you know, I'm gonna look out for you where you are, and I'm gonna look out for you when I bring your Children back. Your grandchildren and, uh and then he also gives him a warning. Hey, And if you don't do and you don't listen to what I'm saying and you continue to follow the rial falls profits, then it's just gonna get worse for you. There's also a warning in it. And to me, there's a richness to that that gets obscured when we make it out to be like, you know, God's got a plan for me and he's gonna give me a hope in the future no matter what. God is on my side because the truth is, Is the exile itself says that now. It doesn't always go that way. Yeah, If you align yourself against the will of the Lord, there's gonna be consequences. That doesn't mean that God's given. What I do like about Jeremiah 29 11 is this idea, even though that God is giving you these consequences and God is, in a sense, punishing you. This is not the end of this story. And there is something beyond this. God's commitment to his people, uh, is going to continue, even though it didn't look like it, but that, you know, if I'm gonna make that a personal thing, it might be Hey, you know what? You've made some decisions and there's consequences, but I'm not gonna forget you and I'm not gonna forget your kids. Yeah, and that's still good. It's just not the way it gets you.
Yeah, it's good. And I think it's it makes it more powerful, in a sense than, um I'm trying to think of an example like it makes it more powerful than my job sucks. And so I'm hoping to find a better job because I know of the plans I have for you. Plan to give you hope and, you know, it becomes much bigger in its impact and context when we look at it through that land.
And it's certainly not, uh, you know, being here in Oklahoma and being close to Tulsa like that. Health and prosperity, wealth and prosperity version of the Gospel. Um,
and I wasn't saying my job sucks. Just for the record, he matters on that. It's just an example. Neither of our job. It's very different than the prosperity gospel that we often hear, and especially in this part of the Bible Belt,
right? I mean, it's it's gonna be, um it's ah, it's kind of like that Philippians 4 13 thing, which we again we also take out of context It's very similar in the way that we do it. I remember when I was living in Tulsa, I saw a football player for a local university team being interviewed and he said, We're gonna have a great season. We're gonna man, we're gonna win a lot of games. We know that we're gonna be champions because God has promised us that if we see Kim, um, that we can do all things to cry. So we know we can have a winning season if we commit ourselves to Jesus. And I was thinking, man, uh, if only the world work that, you know, I'll just make a commitment to Jesus and it's like magic. And that just means that everything turns out well all the time. Yeah, and everything I wouldn't want to be. And I'm I'm a short statured guy'd be great just to be tall enough to don't alter my clothes. I could do all things through Christ strengthen me. So I want to be at least you know, 5758 something like that. But, um, you know, in the context what Paul says is he's writing this letter and he's under house arrest and He suffered a lot of persecution, and it's a letter that's full of a lot of joy. Like he has this joy in the midst of his persecution. And right before Philippians 4 13 Hey says, You know, I know what it's like to be hungry. I know what it's like to be without close. I know what I know what it's like to face. Basically, I'm summarizing the struggles of life. Yeah, but I know that I can do all things to Christ who strengthens me, gives me strength, and that's not I do whatever I set my mind to do. God's gonna be on my side and I'm gonna be able to do it. It's you know what? Life's hard, but God is not abandoning me in the middle of that, and I know that I can handle a lot of things, really. You know, if Jesus is on my side, no matter how hard it gets, he's with me and I have his strength, which, you know, make that splitting hairs. Maybe that's like, well, that sound for some people. Maybe that sounds the same, but the way those verses get used, that's not the same. But it's not. It's not hope. In the midst of suffering, it's the way it gets used. Is personal fulfillment. God's
right. It becomes like a good luck charm and talisman like I'm gonna use Jesus, too. Get this thing that I want. Whatever the thing is, I didn't do all things through. Christ, who strengthens me rather than life, gets really, really tough sometimes. But Christ strengthens me in the midst of that and walks through the suffering alongside,
which is what Paul's like in Philippians. That's what Paul's whole thing is. The whole time, anyway, is like, he tells the Philippians, You know, you've been granted to suffer for the sake of his name. This this theme of suffering comes up for Paul. And then when he's talking about his relationship with Jesus, he's like, You know, I've given up everything compared to compared to knowing Jesus. Everything else is a bunch of garbage, a crap and, uh, and he says, You know, I want to know the power of Christ, Uh, and his resurrection. So there is this. I mean, I want to know that power, whatever power that was that brought Jesus back to life, I want to know that. But the very next thing he says and to have fellowship in his sufferings on I think for Paul, those two things go together in the book of acts. The story about Paul when he's called is I'm gonna show him how much he has to suffer for my name. And, uh, Paul's joy and his desire to be like Jesus is cannot be set apart from the suffering that comes as a part of that. Yeah. And so if I'm gonna enter into Philippians 4 13 not as a masochistic like I gotta make myself suffer. But it's the reality of the more that my life looks like the life of Jesus, the more I'm gonna engage suffering. And the more that my life is probably gonna have suffering. Um, and that's okay. I don't know if I want that right. I don't know if I can say that with Paul. I do want to know the power of resurrection, man. I want a new life all the time. Yeah, but that suffering part is really difficult.
Yeah, yeah, especially in. I think, in the American Church. And they stay in age right way. Want everything to be. We don't want to give up anything, right? Right.
Certainly we don't wanna take up across. I don't think so. But, you know, part of the issue is isolation. So we have Versus is the fact that I can sit here and refer to flipping is four verse 13 out of its context or Jeremiah 29 11. These verses were added so that we can find things. They were added for location. Right. But we've made them for isolation. Yeah, uh, you know, they're more treatable that way. There are way more treatable, and I understand. I mean, even before the verses mean you have passed. Obviously, in the New Testament, you have passages that are being quoted from the Old Testament that air in isolation. We know, and we're gonna talk about and our out of context to sometimes. Um so that happens, you know, treatable versions in the first century. But but I think the New Testament authors are also working from a very deep knowledge of the whole story of Scripture. Uh, which is different than what we do right? Give people these verses that they can hang their hats on, and they don't know the whole story, which deprives them of that richness on also means that maybe they're using Scripture in a way that I don't know. I just know it matters to me that it lines up in some way with that bigger narrative. Yeah, that's good. So, um, but we do it all time, and we take the hard part is, is that in terms of that out of context thing, like philosophers and biblical scholars who worked with the issue of the use of big words here for a while, so interpretation. Right. So, um, how do you interpret it? Taxed. How did you read attacks for people haven't thought about that very much. Like, it's like you just read it. But But really, there's quite a process for us. Um, number one just engaging reality. My perception of reality. Uh, is it really re outta here? Is that just my perception? Where do you draw the lines on that? So even outside of reading a any kind of text. But then, once you're engaging in a textual study of something, uh, when I'm reading an English translation 2000 years later of a first century Greek work written composed by a Jewish, Greek speaking person in the Middle East riding to, uh, Greco Roman like there's a whole lot of things going on yet that, you know, setting aside the work of the Holy Spirit, um, of being able to kind of span the gap would be the mediator in that. There's just a lot of complex tease that way. We were studying ancient history. How do I know I'm understanding what the author intended right to say? And some philosophers that would say You gotta throw out the author's intent completely because you can never get to an author's intent. Uh, maybe that's true. I mean, maybe there's some element of I will never be able to fully capture what Paul was trying to intend when he wrote Philippians wrote to the Philippians and on some level, But then on the other side, there's this misting of Okay, I can understand some things. Yeah, you know, if you can trust the process, the translation. If you can trust the process of getting that into my hands 2000 years later, which is another conversation. But if you can trust that, then what can I understand from somebody And so some philosophers have talked about in terms of literary things that the a couple of different things, like what they call is an effusion of horizons. So there's Herman New tickle horizon, and hermeneutics is like the lens that you used to interpret something. It's not the interpretation itself. So right when someone asks the question, What is your hermeneutic? What they mean is, is what is your perspective? What is the Where's your method for interpreting something s O as a Christian? My first answer would be I'm a Christian reading the Bible, right? So when I read the Old Testament, I'm reading it from a Christian perspective on that, you know, the problem is, every one of these things become his own complexity. But in a general sense, my hermeneutic is what? How I decide to interpret the Scripture. Oh, Herman, you tickle horizon would be What knowledge do I personally bring to that interpretive process? So as 21st century American Christian, right, that's my context. And I can choose to expand that context by learning about first century things, learning Hebrew or Greek. Uh, and that's still my context because even if I learned Hebrew agree, gets a 1st 21st century right American Christians version, right?
Don't have a time machine to go back and live in that greater and
so eso. But instead of maybe being in the whole of my own contacts at this point, I'm climbing a mountain and I'm trying to get a broader view. Yeah, to see further out. And so then there's the horizon of the author who wrote it. Their context and what we're trying to do is bring those two context together in some way. But the problem is, is I can never see the line on the horizon, right? Like there's a fogging this to it. I know that somewhere Paul is out there, and I know that I'm here and I'm trying to bring my world into Paul and Paul's world in the mine in a way that gives meaning, taking from his context into my contact. So the whole notion of out of context is it's both right. When I read Scripture, I want to read it as much as I can out of Paul's context. I want to enter into that as much as I can, always knowing that it's limited Yeah, but the other side of it is is I want Paul's letter to the Philippians to have meaning in my contacts, right? Otherwise, why would I be reading it s o. So there's this process of trying to get it, Paul. And then there's also this process of what does it mean for me so or for us? If we're doing it as a community, which is even better? Yeah, because community broads, community by nature would broaden your own horizon, right? It's our horizon, which means I have some knowledge of Hebrew and Greek that I could bring to it. But you have a knowledge of worship in church leading and humanity and your own experience and families. And that and suffering and all of that that I don't have. And so if we can combine those two things than our own horizon when we approach the scripture is a lot bigger,
that's really good. I was just about to ask the question, like, How do we do that? Practically You know, as much as I would love to learn Hebrew and Greek at the stage of life, that's probably not gonna happen for me. Maybe further on down the road. But for
all of you out there who were interested learning Hebrew and Greek number one, you do have to make it just like working out like you have to decide to get up and do it like you actually have to do it. But one of the greatest Greek scholars ever who actually wrote really the first critical version of the Greek New Testament? Erasmus. He didn't really start doing Greek until he was in his late twenties or in his thirties. I think. OK, well, they're so there's
hope. There's hope. It's homey. But I love what you said about exploring Scripture in community to broaden that. Herman, you tickle horizon because you and I are friends and you have knowledge of Hebrew and Greek that I don't have. And like you said, I've have some experiences that maybe you don't and so we as a community. And again, as we add voices to that community who are coming from different perspectives, I think it helps to broaden that horizon and maybe give us a better contextual view of Scripture. Yeah, in that sense,
you know, I guess it could muddy it to write if you get a good much upon the room that you know, but I think the intent of understanding I'll say this My earliest memories of Bible study. One element was me reading the Scripture as a young Christian on my own. But But the thing is, is there was has a personal, like context story. Um, there were two Bible studies that I was a part of, and I grew up in a small town. My church didn't have a youth group. There was one other really active student. You know, uh and he's the guy that kind of led me to Jesus, but, uh, in my own personal family growing up on a farm and the neighbors around us who were also on farms like, I had an uncle who came to Jesus, and then I came to Jesus and my mom and dad came to Jesus, and there was kind of like this revival within my family, this newness of Christianity, and that was happening to for some other families around. And so on Sunday nights at my grandparent's house, we had this Bible study and there were about 10 of us in a room, and it was fan, you know, for two hours we would study Scripture and help each other interpret it as the best that we could. And I think for me that that's the kind of Bible study. It's kind of my measure ever since then it is this a good Bible study or not? Because even as a teenager, my opinion ate, My opinion was valued. Yeah, my my thoughts about what Scripture might be saying. What God might be saying to us was valued. And I got to hear from perspectives that I didn't understand the other Bible study I was a part of It was a men's Bible study. It was the same kind of thing at this little church, and as a teenager, I really I've told people I'm kind of glad I didn't have a youth group, because when I was 16 in this Bible study with these men who were in their forties and fifties and sixties, I got to saw see these older men husbands, single guides, figuring out what it means to try to be faithful to Jesus and line up with Scripture. But it was so rich because, uh, that horizon was expanded, things that I wouldn't have thought of as a 16 year old these guys we're dealing with and I'm seeing scripture from a way that I would not have seen it. I'd only approached it from this limited perspective. And, uh, I just think that that's true. I think one of the things that I've struggled with is some Bible studies I've been a part of because I do know Hebrew or Greek or historical things about the Bible that other people may not know. Sometimes people abdicate, right? So I go to a Bible study and it becomes Well, Jimmy, tell us what this means, right? Which I can't stand like. The better question is, Hey, Jimmy, uh, tell us a little bit about the Hebrew and then for all of us to be like Okay, so what does this mean? Yeah, um we tend to want to abdicate to who we see as experts. It would be pastors, which I think makes it easy to sit and listen to a single pastor and just kind of be locked into their mantra. But, um, what we do have in common J. I Packer wrote this in the book knowing God and I read that a long time ago, and this is a part that I don't remember. Hardly anything else. But in his intro, he talks about, you know, we don't have that much. I don't have anything in common with Abraham. Really? Uh, you know, I've never sat on a camel, you know, like, I've been around camels, but, uh, we have, but we do have common things that one of them is that is that we believe. I believe that the god that Abraham experiences the same God that I experience. Yeah, that commonality. Is there any other commonalities? Justus General Humanity that there are some things that are common to human beings. And I do share that with Abraham, even if our prospectus were very different. Right? So I can't help but think in terms of that community Hermeneutic, you get 10 people in around you've expanded the humanity. You entered the human understanding and experience and so approaching Scripture that way I can't help but feel
that if everybody is engaging it, that it's gonna give you a richer perspective.
I think reading history is the same kind of way. You're really entering into somebody else's humanity. Yeah. Um, So I'm a huge advocate advocate for a communal, uh, Bible study. Yeah, but you gotta make it fit in your context to right. Which means he has allow yourself to be open to some really radical interpretations of Scripture. Right. Uh, you know, um, I'm trying to think of a good example. Um biblical marriage, right? Biblical. Your phrase. Biblical marriage. We give this adjective biblical two things, right. Um, Ben, do you have a biblical marriage? I don't know. Pins on her. Yeah. Pencil. Yes. That's exactly right. Yeah. You should say yes. Yes, sure, Yeah. I mean, how could you? Right. So we have these phrases like that that we think are de contextualized, that we use the adjective biblical Thio Give Ivan that's clear, or the Bible is clear. Yeah, because we're trying to claim an authority. And you and I had lunch last week. We talked about like, I want the Bible to have authority in my life. So I understand that. Yeah. I want to be someone whose life is shaped by scripture. The problem is, we don't all agree on what that means. Uh, so biblical marriage. Um, some people would think that that means one man and one woman, Right? Because creation there was one man and one woman. Um, you know, I guess we all should be gardeners to because they were in a garden and we should be naked, Right? Um, it depends on how far you want to carry that out. But the Bible also has laws about marriage that are given. So, um, I guess it's okay for me to have more than one wife, right? Biblical people did that right. That's biblical marriage. Uh, the really hard part about political marriage is ah, if if I had died before my wife had Children, uh, my brother would be obligated to take her in as a wife and give her Children in my name. Right? And she would be obligated to do that as well. Yeah, And if my brother didn't want to do that or couldn't fulfill that obligation for some reason, then it would go to my dad and then if he wasn't around or couldn't or it would go to my cousin's. And those were the kinsman redeemers, right? That's the process. That would be biblical marriage. Right? So, um, what do we do with that man? Yeah, right. We want to be. We want to take Scripture out of its own context. And you make that apply to us. Because if we take Scripture out of its own context and that would be the rules, right? Or do we want to do something different?
Yeah, I think we usually just avoid Leviticus at all costs. Oh, yeah. Unless it's convenient to claim a biblical authority in certain instances. Like right now, don't get tattoos or
right, which Yeah, for sure. So I mean, would your wife be okay? You know, if you guys didn't have kids, you're like, Hey, when I die, my brother just step in because we're gonna be I would hope not. You know, that all sounds really creepy to us, right? But it's right there. It's in the bar. Or, uh, you know, another version of biblical marriage is a soldier I want. I do want to put this in its context. This is gonna sound strange, but in its context, in some ways, this was very humane. But it doesn't sound humane to us because we come out of a different context. Yeah, You go to war against someone. You conquer them, you kill all the men. Um, in the in the law and the Bible. A man can in that situation if he sees a young girl, a young woman Ah, who is pleasing to him and her dad. Dad and brothers are dead. He can take her into his house, give her a time for grieving and then, uh, kind of test her out as a wife. And if it works out, he can keep her as a wife. And if it doesn't work out, he sends her away. Yeah, um, and he sent her away with things like, he actually kind of blesses her as she goes out right with property. And we're right, Ash. So, uh, which is the humane part in its ancient context? Yeah. Um I mean, that's biblical marriage ordained in the scripture, a cZ being okay to do. Like, I think this is where a lot of people's struggle. Um, there's a certain element a biblical hermeneutic and application toe life where people act like, Yeah, we just need to do it the way they did in the Bible. Right? Clear. Um, and then on the other end, like I have friends and family members who can't bring those two things together. Like if the Bible is inspired by God and God's telling people that wives have to marry brothers and dads and give kids and soldiers can take girls that they've found and make them their wives. If that's if that's the reality that I don't wantto I don't have anything do with Scripture. Like, how can it be inspired? How could it have anything to say to me? And and that's kind of the extremes, right? I find myself floating in the middle
of that. Yeah, personally. And then there's the challenge that even within Scripture with dealing with different genres, right for sure of riding. So you mentioned Genesis, Adam and Eve biblical marriage example. Some would say, You know, Adam and Eve weren't two actual, you know, really people. That's a poem of sorts. Yeah, or a creation story,
eh? What's cars would call, like a myth, right? Yeah. Meaning story. Which doesn't mean it wasn't doesn't have historical veracity. It just means that it's more about meaning than being a historically factual story. Right? Um, you know, I think Genesis is one. Uh, I don't. I don't know how anyone could say that. Genesis ones, not poetry. Yeah. And then when you look at Genesis 23 and four, there are elements of that story which, by the way, Genesis 123 and four, especially 23 and four. Don't get mentioned. Hardly anywhere else in the scripture. Very rare. Uh, we've made it such a pivotal thing, but, um, just if one and God's rest does get mentioned more. But, you know, when you have a talking snake, what genre is that, right? You know, like if it wasn't in the Bible, everyone would understand that. That's some sort of I'm gonna use the word fable. And it sounds like people like I'm that some women when little Red Riding Hood runs into the wolf, Everyone knows that were in a store that's telling us some truths about things. It's not something I'm gonna take literally to be true. Yeah. Ah, in the scripture, that story is presented in a way that it gets referenced as history. Um, but ancient first century Jewish person, like Jesus or Paul and certainly Jewish people in Israel lights before them. They didn't view history. The same way that we do. And I think we do the same things to like, Well, quote think we'll say things that we gives this historical significance. Like when I was growing up, there were these cartoons that came on Saturday mornings. You know, uh, schoolhouse rocks. And there was this one that was about the shot heard around the world, the beginning of the revolution. And that was a phrase that was used, right, so used in our history. It was used then That's reasonably. If they made that little cartoon video like the American Revolution with the beginning of the first shot of that revolution, it was the shot heard round the world. It was the introduction of democracy into the world in a way that hadn't been introduced before. Was there really a shot that was heard around the world? No. You know, I mean, America has always been a melting pot, right? Like, well, have we been a melting pot? Like we use these things that we refer to, and those air may be more obvious to people, but I have to wonder, like when the author of the Book of Revelation is talking about that ancient serpent. Uh, I think he knew that the serpent in Genesis three. It was something bigger than some animal who could talk. Yeah, and that that story was something bigger than some limited historical story. Yeah, we're talking about things they're too big to describe other than using metaphor in imagery. Yeah. Yeah.
And there are other ancient Near East text that have similar creation stories and flood stories. So it's it's not unique to what we call the Bible in terms of those type of what you might call myth stories that that tell some of the same themes.
Yeah, you know, like the epic of Gilgamesh, right? Was apparently super popular for hundreds of years. Like it spans these different Mesopotamian culture, since popularity gets retold, reshaped in different ways, you know, guilty measures a king. And he, uh, a prideful king is not taking very good care of people. He's taken advantage of the people, and, uh, the gods decide to kind of humble him and teaching something's was a part of that process. He becomes best friends with basically a wild man and who becomes human after he has sexual relations with a woman. It's kind of this crazy story, but it was very popular. And as they become good friends, they have these bad. They fight each other at first and they become best friends because they, uh, because of their fight, basically. But then they go to Lebanon to the force of Lebanon, uh, to kill and defeat the great monster home Baba. And it's like reading parts of scriptural story like and it was a three days journey, you know? Yeah. You think that's not three days journey from where they were to the force of Lebanon, But, uh, I think you do. His friend Muchas friend gets, um, killed. And now you have this situation where Gilgamesh is, uh, heartbroken. And he's angry with the gods. And he's trying to figure out how to have eternal life both to bring his friend BRAC maybe and also live forever. And so it. Now he's pursuing this seeker of eternal life. Someone tells him, when you need to Gol, you need to talk, Thio. But piss team that the survivor of the great flood ghost this journey finds him and that pissed him says no, it's not with them. You don't wanna pursue eternal life. But if you do want to, you need to go to this place and get it. So he he actually goes in. And the thing is, that's what he's looking for us, this fruit that will give him eternal life. And when he finds it, it's stolen by snake. I mean, that sounds kind of biblical, doesn't it? Like that's the framework for a myth, A legend, a fable for understanding things and so eternal life gets stolen from him. And the story of Gilgamesh is actually a wisdom story. And the wisdoms wisdom in the ancient near East went like this. Get your mind out of the sky out of the, you know, pine. This guy stuff live everyday life and live it. Well, do justice do Marcie. And so he learns Field much, learns how to be a better king and not to try to be bigger than who he is, you know, I mean, that's the context that the Bible was written and definitely the context when the when the Jews go into exile in Babylon this is a story they would have heard. Yeah, you know, it's one that Abraham in er the cow these before he ever comes to the land of Canaan. He would have heard that story. Yeah. Um, yes. So when an animal talks, my hermeneutic is is when an animal talks. My first response shouldn't be. I'm dealing with history, but I'm dealing with something else. Now. I could be wrong, right? Like maybe maybe this serpent really was an animal who spoke, I suppose. But that's not my first donkey. Bailiff's donkey, right? I mean, you have a wise prophet who is supposed to be able to hear God's voice, and he his donkey has to talk to him, Right? Maybe the donkey really did talk. Maybe God really did open, you know, the donkey's mouth. And it said something that bail, um understood. Or it could also be this. The donkey made his noise and baby heard it as a particular thing, too. That's part of scriptural interpretations of things, but it could be that this is a funny story about a guy named Bela Man. His ass is talking to him. Um, that when people heard it might have caused a lot of laughter. Yeah, but it's the Bible, so we'll take it really seriously. And we can't take it like one of those stories. We have to make it all very riel. I think it's an approach that takes place. And I used that approach Scripture that way. But, um, I don't feel forced to approach it that way.
Yeah, that's good. I tend to think of job kind of in the same light to is not a ah historical narrative, right. But again, it's teaching a lesson.
Yeah, the word job in Hebrew is this is the word enemy. And they get to use in the book of job that job God has made himself jobs, enemy and jobs wondering if he's God's into me like, uh, even those names being used like that, that reason to think. Okay, this is a different kind of story. Like it? This is Is this a universal story? The question of suffering? Why does suffering take place? Yeah. Um, yeah. Maybe it really was a guy named job. Maybe so. I don't know, but again, for my context, uh, I would just say that my concern is not figuring out whether Joe was a real person, But how do I this job teach me anything about the approaches to suffering. Yeah, and it teaches a lot of different things about the approaches of suffering. Yeah, and God's unanswered, unanswered response to it. Right? Right. You're asking questions that you I could never know the answers to. So brace yourself like a man. Yeah. I'll ask you some questions. Yeah, Yeah. Um, you know, and I think, but I'm still caught, like, for me. I'm caught in this place of I don't believe Scripture just means anything. Like, I don't think that I could just quote some versed and use it however I want. And it bugs me when people do that. Yeah, judgmental way. It bugs me. Um, I do think the scriptural text has meaning. The authors had intent when they wrote things. And I want to come close to those. So I'm I'm somewhere caught in the middle of that process. Um, you know, you and I have talked about several different patches. Scripture, like, um, Jesus and Matthew 18 says, you know, I'm gonna give you the case. He tells us to Peter earlier. I'm gonna give you the keys to the kingdom, and he says kind to similar things in both passages. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound on earth and whatever you bind or whatever you bind on Earth, we've bound in having whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in happened right? And when I was growing up, we used to say these prayers like, you know, Jesus, we bind this devil and his demons, you know? And I had friends that took that to really like the devil can do nothing right now because I've bound the devil and we lose your holy spirit, right? As if the Holy Spirit needs to be. Only I grew
up in a church where there was a lot of binding and loosing. Yeah, and it was usually the varsity. Pray prayers, you know, like not not the J V people, but the
right, it was serious. But
once he really knew how to pray, would be binding. Then loosen,
you know, and people was asked, like, Have you bound the devil in that? You know, have you loose the Holy Spirit in your life? And if you're listening to this and all of that sounds really strange to you, I mean, how would you convey that band? What does that mean to bind to the devil and loose the Holy Spirit. How did we when we use those phrases? What did we mean?
Yeah, it always felt a little sticky to me, but it comes from a charismatic context, I think Probably Pentecostal at it for sure. And, um, I think the idea is again going back to that scripture. You quoted that whatever you bind on Earth will be bound in heaven. And so, by speaking it into existence, your your binding whatever spirit is attacking this person like that in the context I came from in church, that's kind of how it would be used. So if somebody is sick, they're suffering from this illness. You might bind that spirit of whatever that illnesses and loose the spirit of healing over their life, All right. And I think the obviously the intent behind it is great. Um, but I think there's just a misunderstanding of what may or may not be happening spiritually by using that language.
And so what? So this is out of context thing. I think this is that both end for me because I think when someone saying that prayer that God understands what they mean, Yeah, and I think that God responds those prayers, right? Like I'm not saying that God always answers those prayers in the way that was expected. But I think that when someone see really, sincerely comes to God and there praying something. Hey, we want to We want to lose healing in this person's life. Yeah, don't really what they mean is we want this person to be made better. I think God is able to translate that right. That's that Roman's thing of the Holy Spirit. We don't know what we should praise of the Holy Spirit praise for us with Groening's that can't be uttered.
I think where we get hung up is getting tied to specific language that I have to use the language of binding and loosing in order to force God's hand to move in this situation.
And we're using biblical bases for making that are so in Matthew 18. What's interesting is Jesus is not talking about healing in that context, is actually talking about disputes between believers, and he says, You know, if someone sends against you, which is an important that's also gets left out right sins against you, then go to them and tell them Hey, you've sinned against me. You've wronged me. If they don't listen to you than take one or two other people, Uh, and if they don't listen to you in that case, then it says take the whole congregation, which, you know, we translate as church. But, uh, in the first century, what the church looked like and definitely what Jesus was talking about before Pentecost is not We need to put that in context to But the idea here is some kind of working out conflicts in relationships. Yeah, that might bring in the whole community of people. And then he says, What you bind on Earth will be bound in having what you loose on Earth will be loosed in heaven. So it's not in the context of prayers that it's in the context of community. But we've isolated that binding and losing, and I think probably because the word heaven gets used. We've made end of this like spiritually angelic, demonic ry ing. But in the first century, context out of Jesus context, binding and losing was about sin or not, said it was about how you follow the law and It was a phrase that the rabbis used. So, um, you know, in in the mission on which was written, like, 100 years after Jesus. And it was a collection of all the Jewish laws that were around at the time of Jesus. That was the intent. Um, you consistently have these stories like there were two houses of kind of legal spiritually authority in Jesus Day and a little bit earlier than just a house of hell l in the house with semi and it will say things like, you know, should you lie a candle. What time do you light a candle for the Passover? When do you do that? So the discussion of the mission, I says, Well, those in Jerusalem light at this time. But in Galilee, they light it at a different time with the question is, which is okay. Well, the house of semi, which is always a house of shame. I was always more rigid. Ah, the house of shame. I, um you know, binds this law on. You get to do it at this time. It binds, but But the house of Hillel looses. And so it's about Is this law required on someone or not. Well, who's right and who's wrong? How are you gonna ascertain that? So, in the context of Jesus talking about binding and losing its if you feel like someone has sinned against you, um then work it out with him. Maybe it's gonna be more than just the two of you. Maybe you have to work it out in community. But here's the thing. Whatever sin is, whatever wrong is if you, if you bind it on Earth than God, is somehow gonna recognize that as a community. And if your community kind of loose is that think God's gonna kind of let that be the case, which it's pretty? It's pretty significant. Yeah, so, you know, in the Gospel, Jonah different gospel After the resurrection, Jesus says, You know, if you hold any man's sins against him, they're held against him, which is kind of big thing to say, but backside of that, he says. And if you lose anybody from their sense, they're loosed. If if you release, if you give someone their sins, they are forgiven and then acts. 15. You have this gathering of early church leaders trying to figure out of gentiles have to follow the Torah or not 613 commands in the Old Testament. Um, and the early church looses them from having to follow those commands. Yeah, um, they take that authority of Jesus and make a pretty big decision with it that Jesus has given them. So, you know, I didn't used to know that when I found out what binding and losing men in a Jewish context that changed my perspective on one on saying those prayers, right. But the other is men. Okay, So in my own context, Jesus has apparently given a lot of authority. Yeah, to Christian communities about what sin is and what sin isn't right. And that's scary. And a lot of ways it's fantastic in a lot of ways. Yeah, right. Like in that post resurrection version of things like, if I'm gonna be like Jesus, which we were called to do, and he's given me this kind of crazy authority to hold sends against people or not, he's given me this authority. Go around, say to people in the craziest of ways Hey, your sin is forgiven. You're not God. You can't tell people that you well you just told me. I could tell you your sins are forgiven and that if I do, you will be forgiven. He gave me the authority. Hold it against you, too. But I don't see him doing that very much, so I'm just gonna do what he did. Um, I think we need to be really careful about that authority. And I think the church practices that authority whether we know we have it or not. All right, a lot of times. Yeah, um, does a context thing, right? That's trying to navigate. What does it mean? That you just taught those kind of things and how? I don't know that applies anybody. But I'm
not really big on texting. I love that. So, yeah.
What is your Christian community want to bind and loose on people? Yeah, it's not without seeking the Lord like, you know, the acts. 15 passage. It seems good to us. And to the Holy Spirit, right? For a community to come together. So we have this way at this point of conflict here, someone is wrong. Someone else. Are we gonna bind this on them or we're gonna lose them? Yeah. Yeah, that's good. when you cause both of us are at different stages of kind of deconstructing in reconstructing gangs. Uh, coming from a religious background, you've worked in church your whole life. You grew up like we said, Your dad's a pastor. When you're rethinking these things, do you share that with people or do you hold back? And when you do share that with people, what's people's response when you're kind of re defining what some core things have meant, uh, to you and to other people?
Yeah, I do share it with people. I think I'm probably selective with whom I share it. And I tend to the Hudson to have these conversations in more of a one on one setting than a group, specifically when I'm thinking about like, vocational ministry in the church. Um, because there are so such a wide breadth of points of view and approaches to Scripture, especially in the context where I'm at currently, that there are people, um, kind of all over the spectrum on ideas of what should we bind and what should we lose? Right. And so, um, things that I may look at and say we as a community should loose that there are others who I work with and who I trust and respect who would say no, We bind that sin. And so I think it's I think I'm careful about who I share and the context in which I share some of my ideas about restructuring my brain around all of this stuff. Yeah, I don't know if that made any sense. That
does make sense, because I think being part of it is you don't mean for me. Part of it is I don't want to end the conflict I don't deal with. But sometimes I don't want to step on somebody else's thing. Yeah, right. Like so. My own understanding of it doesn't have to have bearing upon someone else's or some other churches thing. I've learned a lot from Jewish perspectives regarding, um regarding like this binding and losing so and Judaism. What's more important in Christianity? We had this big thing on North Orthodoxy, right? Belief? Yeah, right. We're very cradle. I can sit here all day long, say I affirm the creeds and I could live. However, I want to go to a certain extent within Christianity. Um, you know, our creeds have very little to do with how I live my life, if anything at all. Uh, Judaism, on the other hand, is really more about Ortho practicing how to use. How do you practice what it is that you believe I'm not talking about legalism. I'm just saying that they they understand that a person's life reflects who they really are. Yeah, and, uh, but there's a lot of different interpretations of the law of the Torah. Yeah, you have some Jewish, uh, people who for them, in their context, they don't feel like they have to keep kosher and all those things. And then, uh, but which still kind of consider themselves religious on some level. And then you have other religious Jewish people who would obviously say now he keeps all 613 laws in very strict ways. And we've got ways that you can do that in the ways that sound kind of strange to Christian like nit picky to Christians, but are really not like they're out of this. We want to be faithful toe what God has given us, right? Uh, but what has amazed me is in this diversity, how much respect that they have for each other and an understanding of, Well, that congregation practices the law this way, and we practice the law this way. We don't agree on how the law should be approached. However, that's okay. They're Jewish, were Jewish, and, um, you know, we just know that we're different. Yeah, I kind of wish. I really wish. Not kind. I wish that Christianity could figure that out. Like, Hey, you know why I have these views on marriage? I have these views on the scripture. I have these views on politics, and we really disagree. Ah, on a lot of things. But that's okay. Like my art community did not to believe. Like your community. Yeah. You certainly don't have to practice, because we we're trusting that we're seeking, um that we're all seeking God in some ways and so and to be faithful in some way. So, uh, we don't have that. We don't have that much mercy and grace for each other.
No, on. I wish we did. Yeah, and I will say, just just going back to your question in terms of win I share and with whom I share, Like when it comes to issues of people who are being oppressed or marginalized or justice issues like I have no problem being very outspoken about that. Yeah. Advocating. Yeah, for sure.
Why so uneven? That, like, um, you know, in terms of the nuances, I personally I have Ah, reaction gets anything is going to eliminate the nuance, right? Like, to me, that's oppressive. Yeah, um, in terms of thought, but regarding, like, justice issues and poverty, I think God is called all faith communities and all human beings to engage in the works of justice. Yeah, of making things right for people. Yeah, for some people, that's giving extravagantly and giving without thought. Um, and operating on kind of a gut reaction, uh, maybe spirit led type generosity. You know, I see people begging on street Corner. I'm gonna give them whatever have in my wallet, and then for other people, there's a really strict kind of Well, if I'm gonna do charity, I believe that this is the best way to help people out of poverty. And I think there's data on both sides of that that they could argue. So I'm not gonna get to been out of shape when someone says I'm in really engaged in justice, work with the poor, and this is the way I choose to do it. Yeah, but if someone didn't care at all, right? Yeah, That's the part where I feel like that's where I want to use that word. Biblical. It's not biblical. Did not do these things that are not biblical. Thio refuse aid to those who are seeking aid shelter to those who are seeking shelter. I think there's a consistency in Scripture on those things. So, yeah, I mean, I do think there's time to stand up and say, Hey, this is out of line. This doesn't fit. Um but I really You know what I would like to kind of live out of his for? For me, in my house, for this community that I'm a part of, This is the way we interpret Scripture. We understand that nobody's gonna do that. Yeah, and we're going to speak out of the way we interpret, but we're not going to try to hold it over somebody else either. Um, that's good. Hard to dio. I'm not really naturally wired that way, right, But I feel more faith when I when I do operate that way. Yeah, uh, contextualizing Scripture in a in a community and for myself and not trying to go beyond that community that I personally know. Yeah, that's great. Out of context. So all of these future episodes, if we're going to stick true, there are gonna be We've been and I've talked, like what we want to do is deal with topics on some level of, uh, yeah, let's talk about refugees and foreigners and, uh, out of the out of context. So what does the Bible say about those things? And how do we apply those things to our context? How do we live out of our own context? Understanding the biblical context Or, you know, this is a hot button right now. Who knows? We'll get to watch. Still hot button. But should women be leaders in the church? Right. Right. Like what? Kind of you know, what does the Bible say about that? And then what kind of sense to Ben and I make you and our community
about that? Another one that we talked about, that I'm really looking forward to digging into salvation. Out of context? Yeah. Um, yeah. There's just a lot to unpack there. So I can't wait to dive into that top again. And if you if listeners, if you have anything you'd love to hear us, uh, take on We're certainly open to suggestions. Hit us up on the Twitter machine. I would be happy to look into that.
Yeah, Or if you want to maybe join us
sometime. Absolutely not. People join combos. Well, thanks for listening today. And, uh, if you do us a favor and just subscribe to this podcast and if you're on apple podcasts, go ahead and give it a like and comment. But the more people that like it in the comment on it, it helps more people to see it. So thanks for listening. Share with your friends and stay tuned.