Feb 24, 2012
One day a ten year old boy came home with a note from his teacher. The note said,
“We are concerned that your child is illiterate. Can we have a parent-teacher conference?”
The next morning before school the mother stormed into the class room, slammed the note down on the teacher’s desk, looked her straight in the eye and said,
“I’ll have you know, I was married two years before little Ricky was born!”
That said, I have to call a spade a spade. The plague of biblical illiteracy is upon us. We must “take arms against a sea of troubles, and thus by opposing, end them.” But as long as we accept them, they will exist and persist.
“Americans revere the Bible – but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.” – George Gallup and Jim Castelli
How bad is it? Here is a list of results from various surveys…
- Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels
- Many professing Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples
- 60 percent of Americans can’t name even five of the Ten Commandments
- 82 percent of Americans believe “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse
- 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife
- A survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife
- A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham
I’ve personally heard the following:
- Is Galatians in the Old or New Testament?
- Wasn’t Jacob the guy who got swallowed by the whale?
- That’s a book of the Bible?
- ALL of the disciples were Jewish?
And many more, that I can’t remember at the moment (and some which are too embarrassing to share).
Let’s face the facts: “Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate.” (A quote by George Barna.) And people like George Barna tend to blame churches, pastors and youth pastors. But is it really their problem? Isn’t the problem the mothers and fathers of the children, who are commissioned to teach their children (read the book of Deuteronomy — Book #5 in the biblical lineup, in case you need help — it’s a constant theme) the Bible and biblical values? We have not only failed on a personal level by not engaging the biblical record ourselves, but we have failed the generations of our children, grandchildren and all future generations.
We have a breakdown in the process of discipleship. In order to be a true Disciple of Yeshua (Jesus), we must imitate him. But in order to imitate him, we must know his life and message. In order to know his life and message, we must understand his teachings. In order to understand his teachings, we must have a very good understanding of the Bible he used: the Tanak (a.k.a. the “The Old Testament.” And in order to properly understand the Tanak, we must first understand God’s initial self-disclosure to humanity found in the Torah (or the “Pentateuch” — Genesis through Deuteronomy).
Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr (president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) sums it up quite well by saying:
We will not believe more than we know, and we will not live higher than our beliefs. The many fronts of Christian compromise in this generation can be directly traced to biblical illiteracy in the pews and the absence of biblical preaching and teaching in our homes and churches.
Again, this requires effort to correct.
“A person wants to become a scholar and a leader overnight, and to sleep that night as well.”
—Rabbi Yaizel of Navorodock
If we expect to be good disciples sheerly by osmosis, we are sorely mistaken. It requires an investment.
Start your investment today, so that you will have dividends you can enjoy tomorrow.
Jul 22, 2011
As many of you know, Vine of David (a division of FFOZ) has been working diligently on an English translation of Franz Delitzsch’s Hebrew translation of the Gospels for the past few years. It is officially called the Delitzsch Hebrew-English (DHE) translation. As of yesterday, it has been released and is available for pre-ordering.
Why is such a work important? Because it attempts to place Jesus and his apostles back into their proper place among Jewish history and spirituality. It is an attempt to reconnect Jesus and his message with his people. It is an attempt to bring the reader into the Jewish world of Jesus. While David Stern’s The Complete Jewish Bible attempts the same, it only works to bring the non-Jewish reader into the Jewish text. The DHE takes it another step by trying to connect Jewish people with their Messiah. This has been done through presenting the full text of the Gospels in a parallel Hebrew translation, along with traditional blessings for the studying of the Holy Text, all in an elegant presentation as you would expect from publishers such as Artscroll. This text hopes to help Jewish readers see Jesus and his Jewish message as part of Judaism, rather than an outside voice from a separate religion.
Delitzsch & His Translation
Franz Delitzsch (1813–March 4, 1890) was a German Lutheran theologian born in Leipzig, Germany who grew into a unique man of God. Widely known and respected as a “Christian Hebraist,” he was a pioneer in the area of Jewish studies in the New Testament and in the development of the Hebrew language. Delitzsch was a prolific writer, translator, and biblical commentator. His greatest and most enduring work is his New Testament translation into Hebrew. At his eulogy, Delitzsch was memorialized with the following words: “Indeed, not only in the Christian, but also in the Jewish world the name of Delitzsch has shone. For he was at home in the literature of the Rabbis as none other among the living, and perhaps as none before him. We may say the truest friend of Israel is dead. A great man has fallen in Israel.”
Delitzsch’s work is important, because of his “extensive knowledge of mishnaic Hebrew and first century Judaism… [which created] a translation and reconstruction of the Greek text back into an original Hebrew voice.” It is reported that the famed Dr. David Flusser, a devout Orthodox Jew and renowned New Testament scholar of Hebrew University, said that the Delitzsch Hebrew New Testament was the best translation of the New Testament extant in any language.
Much support is needed for this project. It is going to take people like yourself to purchase the DHE and share it with others. You can do that on a personal level, or at a larger level. Vine of David is also publishing a Levy Hirsch Memorial Edition, which will is available solely for the purpose of distributing to Jewish people who do not yet know their Messiah. Vine of David will be taking donations to dedicate a specific number of these editions toward distribution among Jewish people.
If you would like to a part of this momentous event, then support Vine of David and order your copy now.
Mar 5, 2009
I got into a discussion the other night with a friend of mine in regard to the biblical perspective of alcohol. With Purim coming up, this has been a hot topic.
In Christianity there are a wide range of beliefs in regard to alcohol. I grew up in a particular denomination that demonized it, while I know of some liturgical denominations that are prone to abuse.
As I was doing some quick scouring of the net in regard to alcohol from a biblical perspective, I came across this interesting blog post on the FFOZ site that I thought I would share in relationship to beer verses wine for Havdallah. Here’s the article:
Considering that moderation and responsibility are a given, I’m curious to know your thoughts on the topic, especially if your perspective has changed with your religious maturity. Please leave me a comment with your thoughts on this.