In order to begin to grasp the depths of meaning contained within the text of the Bible, we need to become more like its ancient readers. For Jordan this involves becoming more alert to the kind of literary structures and devices that shape the text. He also notes that the Bible was originally intended to be heard, rather than read silently, and that this would promote greater awareness of the patterns and meanings of the text:
Numbers 12:3 says that Moses was the meekest man “on the face of the ground [adamah].”
Psalm 37:11 says the meek will inherit the Land [eretz] and delight in abundant prosperity.
Isaiah 11:4 says that
with righteousness [God] shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the Land;
and he shall strike the Land with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips she shall kill the wicked.
Firstly, what is meekness? And secondly, why is it connected to “face of the ground” (Adam), or Land?
“The reason literature, like art, has no hard-and-fast rules, is because authors and artists confer meaning upon things as they go.”
Recently on the hermeneutics exchange, Monica Cellio (one of the bright lights, whose eyes are like lasers) asked,
Do any principles commonly used in the field of hermeneutics have any counterparts in scientific principles? Is there a corollary in hermeneutics to the requirements that science demands as far as the reproducibility of experiments, peer review of results, etc?
This is a fantastic question, not because it will lead us towards a better understanding of the Bible, but because it exposes the reason why modern academics have such a problem with understanding and teaching the Bible.
The intro to the Reading the Bible in 3D seminar mentions the “jokes” in the Bible. In his book Deep Exegesis, Peter Leithart gives us a rundown on what a joke is to justify using the word to describe some of the allusions in Scripture. One of the reasons jokes are funny is their reliance on inside information.
Here’s my all-time favourite joke in the Bible.
James Jordan’s must-have Revelation lecture series
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land…”
Many modern commentators hamstring various parts of the Bible so they don’t run against the grain of modern scientism and historical revisionism. They do this by “classifying” the bits of Scripture that offend modern theory into neat literary genres. “If Genesis is poetry, it can’t be historical,” and other stupidities. Nice try. Another one is “apocalyptic,” a genre which, to the eye of unbelief, might appear to actually exist.
One of the reasons why moderns (including Christians) don’t really know what to do with the Mosaic Law is the failure to understand biblical history as a process of maturation. The prohibition of the second (kingly) tree in the Garden corresponds to the Food Laws, for instance. Like Israel’s temporary abstinence from meat (kingly food) in the wilderness, these laws were all for the purpose of humbling, for preparing servants to rule as God’s representatives. Once mature, they would be invited to eat with God as friends, rather than merely attending as servants.
The Nephilim (“great” or “amazing”) were the first “mighty men” of the Bible. They were the result of the intermarriage between the priestly sons of Seth and the rebellious Cainite kings. The text gives us a split genealogy after the murder of Abel, priests serving God outside the garden, and Cain’s false kingdom (Cain went and built a “fortress” to protect himself). So, humanity was divided into two camps: those who served God as their king and those who rebelled against Him.
Most of what you have been taught about the Bible — especially by modern experts — is wrong. The dumb things John Dickson said about Genesis 1 on ABCTV this week are a prime example. Academics are capable of astounding levels of cognitive dissonance. Yes, the texts are ancient, but the ancients weren’t idiots, especially when it came to chronology. Treating the text as a myth throws the entire Bible’s chronology out the window. It’s not the ancients who are the idiots in this case.
Here’s four talks given this week in London by James Jordan. Let him clear away the clutter for you, especially if you are in ministry and have been taught some of the incredibly dumb things invented by those well-meaning but misguided modernist dunderheads in the academies. Learn to read the Bible with new eyes…