Friday, October 29, 2004

Can a normal person read the Bible?

By: Ed

I am now taking a scripture class at my church. We are all assigned a passage from the Bible in which to read after each class and during the next session we are taught what it means. To my surprise, the conclusions I came to from the passages varried greatly from the meaning. I found my classmates equally perplexed as they too are fairly new to (if not the faith) the Bible. The answer given by our teacher (a convert who has studied scripture for many, many, many years)was that the language, Hebrew, (we are studying the old testiment currently) is a "word poor" language. The Hebrew language has about a third of the words our English language does. This means may times a word does triple duty (ie: Soul=Wind=Thought -or something similar). For example:Genises 9:22 says "Ham, the father of canaan, saw his father's nakedness, and he told his two brothers outside about it." This is written after a short segment about Noah (the father) becoming intoxicated and laying down naked inside his tent. The english reader thinks Gn 9:22 speaks of Ham seeing Noah. This is not the case. Ham did not see his father's nakedness but rather the nakedness of his father's. In other words....his mother (Noah's wife). Yes, yes this grossed me out too, but it explains why Ham was cursed by Noah later in the story. Seeing Noah naked and drunk couldn't possibly be Ham's fault, but userping Noah's authority by sleeping with his wife is. Also, remember women are still thought of as property at this point in time. Anyway, the whole meaning of the story changed because of this insight. (Read the story and see) So what have I learned? A normal person can read the Bible, but should research the passages read to gain at least a basic understanding of how (and why) it is taught before they make any judgments or form any opinions.

Until the next post,