Friday, January 22, 2021

Creating Transparency in Bible Studies: Seeing What’s in Plain Sight


Exploring Biblical Heritages creates transparency in Bible Studies and Belief Systems. Transparency in Bible Studies begins with an awareness of the relationships between the three types of biblical texts pictured above. The biblical texts most explorers use are English translations. However, it is important to keep in mind that English translations are made from Hebrew texts (#1) and Greek texts (#2).


There are many things you can discover using an English translation, but there are some things that can only be seen in Hebrew or Greek texts. My job is to be you Tour Guide and always keep my eyes on the Hebrew or Greek texts. I will alert you to things that will help you more accurately understand the verses we are exploring.


It is important to remember that we all bring preconceived ideas (beliefs) about the biblical texts. Some view biblical texts as “the inerrant and infallible Word of God,” while others view them as “complete fiction.” I ask everyone put those beliefs aside for a while and simply focus on the words on the page we are reading. We made some of our most discoveries that way.


Now let’s explore the introductions to the first two stories in Genesis. The verses below are from the New King James translation. Our first stop is Genesis 1:2a-b.  


2a And the earth was without form, and void;


The ancient author or those who heard his words did not visualize “a blue planet in space” that modern readers see in their minds. “The earth” in this verse is the name God gave the “dry thing” that appeared after the waters moved aside in verse 9. The phrase “without form and void” in Hebrew means “did not exist.”


2b and darkness was upon the face of the deep.


After learning what did not exist, the text reveals what does exist. “The deep” is a “shoreless body of deep water.” The first story begins by revealing that before anything was created only darkness, a shoreless body of deep water, and God existed.


Now let’s turn to the introduction of the second story (Genesis 2:4b-5).


In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,

and every plant of the field before it was in the earth,

and every herb of the field before it grew:

for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth,

and there was not a man to till the ground.


In this story, before anything is done, no plants or herbs existed because there was no water.


In the first story water was everywhere and a dry place did not exist.


In the second story dry ground was everywhere and water couldn’t be found.


I had always been told that the first two stories in Genesis were simply two versions of the same story. Based on what we have already discovered, what I had previously believed was wrong. My beliefs about the text keep me from seeing what was in plain sight.


This was an ancient wisdom long before it a biblical text. Ancient people were taught how to find the wisdom principles embedded in stories. One way is by identifying things that are the same and things that are different in the stories above. Finding wisdom is a lot like purring a puzzle together. As the context unfold before our eyes, we find more pieces and discover how they fit together.


Thank you for exploring with me. Please share, explore and discuss it with others.



Jim Myers 

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