How does the Hebrew Mind differ from the Greek one?
Do we read the Bible logically?
Inductive thinking encourages us to grapple with the specific statements (Bible verses) and arrive at a general conclusion that we are happy with – though it may not be everybody else’s conclusion. As Bible study is an interface between our minds and God’s mind, then we can surely expect God to be speaking to us in different ways, without allowing us to veer away from the truth of the Scriptures. This is very much a feature of the Hebrew mindset, so this is a good place to expand a little and remind ourselves what we’re talking about here.
- The Greek mind says that man is at the centre of life; the Hebraic mind says that God is at the centre of life.
We must read Scriptures with the knowledge that it is primarily about God and His plan for our life, rather than seeking for confirmations for our own plans and actions.
- The Greek mind says that the things of God must be deduced from our logical minds; the Hebraic mind says that the things of God can only be understood by faith and revelation.
Scripture is not as black and white as some imagine. The Greek deductive mind has a problem with this, requiring logical progressions, but the Hebraic inductive mind is more accommodating, allowing for “non-logical” elements, such as faith and revelation.
- The Greek mind says that we should strive for knowledge about God; the Hebraic mind says that we should know God.
The Greek deductive mind is never happier than when creating systematic theologies and great “trees of doctrines”, with everything connected up logically. When done correctly this does tell us much about God and is commendable and historically has protected the faith from heresy (though most of these are the result of Greek mindset – read How the Church Lost the Truth). But to really know God, is to grapple with His Words prayerfully and we do this through Bible study, using the inductive Hebraic mindset.
So, what have we learned? In short, we have discovered that there are basically two ways of investigating and analysing things of God, whether it is God Himself, or His Words or any other relevant topic. Both come originally from the ancient Greek mind, mostly developed by the pagan philosopher, Aristotle.
The first approach is using deductive logic, arguing from general statements that we believe to be true, then arriving at a conclusion that should also be true. This is useful for creating doctrine and arriving at systematic theologies, to explain every facet of God and His ways.
The other is using inductive logic, arguing from specific statements that we know to be true, then arriving at a general conclusion that we’re happy with. This is the approach we take when we grapple with Holy Scripture, in Bible study and this is where we engage with God Himself, through His Word.
And engaging with God is what He has put us on earth for. So rather than troubling ourselves with World-driven debates, such as over the sexuality of Jesus, let’s concentrate on the business in hand.
For the previous article in this series, click here.
For the next article in this series, click here.
To find out what is my favourite book of the Bible, click here.
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