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The Hebrew Mind

How does the Hebrew Mind differ from the Greek one?

In fact it is very difficult for us 21st Century folk to burst out of the thought patterns that permeate our society, our education system, our everyday life. We think in Greek ways, that is the legacy of history, it is not easy to think in any other ways. But let me see if I can express the leap we would have to make, in order to start thinking Hebraically.

The Greek mind says that man is at the centre of life, the Hebrew mind says that God is at the centre of life.

The Greek mind says that the things of God must be deduced from our logical minds, the Hebrew mind says that the things of God can only be understood by faith and revelation.

The Greek mind says that we should strive for knowledge about God, the Hebrew mind says that we should know God.

These are just words and concepts, we need to let them really sink in and soak us in their truths. It may take time, but it will be worth it. Just think of that last one again. I will repeat it.

The Greek mind says that we should strive for knowledge about God, the Hebrew mind says that we should know God.

Think about it. The Greek part of us inclines us towards building us a whole library of books, podcasts and sermons that help us to build up a systematic theology of God, an understanding of His attributes. The Hebrew part of us inclines us to drop to our knees and ask Him to teach us His ways.

The Greek part of us inclines us to read Bible commentaries, benefiting from the wisdom of scholars. The Hebrew part of us inclines us to read the Bible alone and pray for revelation and illumination.

So we have now entered the world of Hebrew thought. It's worth pausing at this moment to think through the implications of the Hebraic (Biblical) worldview up against the prevailing Greek mindset. Although I may have laboured the point, it is key that we fully understand the main implication of Platonic thought, the idea of separation between the evil physical world and the good spiritual world. It runs counter to the Biblical thought that it replaced, the holistic view of things, where the spiritual and physical should be seen working together as a whole.

What now follows in the next few weeks will be a series of vignettes, highlighting different aspects of the Hebraic worldview. We will look at Jewish festivals, the Hebrew language and views of God, family life and religious practices. But first we will think more about the Book where our Christian doctrines should be coming from.

So we will start, next week, by looking at the Bible itself.

Steve Maltz
June 2012 (This is an abridged extract from Steve's book How the Church Lost the Way: And How it Can Find it Again )

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