Embracing Both Scholarship and the Simplicity of the Ordinary

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Jesus was not anti-intellecutal even though Jesus railed against some of the most intellectual people of His day. He wasn’t against people for being intellectual. He was against people for knowing so much and for still being so ignorant.

Jesus not only knew the word. Jesus was the Word. There has never been a human being who knew more than Jesus. Jesus not only knew the scriptures. Jesus even knew people’s thoughts (Lk 5:22-23).

We shouldn’t be anti-intellectual either. We should embrace scholarship. Scholarship opens the door to deeper understanding, which opens the door to a deeper walk with God. There are numerous scholar who I have a debt of gratitude for: F.F. Bruce, N.T. Wright, Gordon Fee, Leon Morris, Nahum Sarna, and many others. Even to read an English translation of the Hebrew Old Testament or the Greek New Testament is to be blessed and benefited by the scholarship of the translation committees.

At the same time, Jesus embraced the simple. Jesus embraced the children. Jesus called disciples who were the simplest people of his day. Jesus saw the value in the simple and ordinary and we should as well. When you see God working in the simple and ordinary people then you know that what is happening is of God and not of ourselves.

If we are going to embrace what Jesus embraced then we will embrace both the scholarly/intellectual as well as the simple/ordinary. There is value in both.

There are times I talk about not making things too complicated. There are times I talk about utilizing people for mission who are young in their faith. It can sound like I am against scholarship and I want to be very clear that nothing could be further from the truth. I am not against scholarship in order to be for the simple. Both have to be appreciated for what they have to offer.

If you would like to learn more about the Bible and how to read it better (improve you scholarship) check out Recommended Books on How to Read the Bible.

One Response

  1. Scholarship does not equal attaining tenure in the educational institutions of the world system.

    In Luke-Acts (not necessarily other writings) Jesus “knew” because he was moving in the power of the Holy Spirit (chapter 4’s temptation pericope*). The fullness of the Holy Spirit dwell in him bodily.

    The Stone-Campbell movement has been rife with members who never renounced their allegiances to the deities of their secret societies at their loyalty oaths to Jesus (baptism). Those deities have a variety of names but likely all point back to Lucifer. Some are infiltrators intent on thwarting Abba’s kin building will. Some have learned “doctrines of demons” behavior which we are still being led by the Spirit to unlearn and replace with prophetic-priestly behaviors (service). Every person who comes to Jesus has some familial baggage (sacrificing to demons, human sacrifices during war time, etc.)

    The communities which take this reality seriously and lean on Abba for power will be used by him. The others will continue to be used mostly by the other guy. Let us pray for each other and for all those who seek the Light of the Nations!


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