Part 1 explained that
"Understanding the cultural context of the Bible can restore the deep understanding of the spiritual truths that are contained in the scriptures.
Although accurate, this statement does not quite capture the enormity of what needs to be expressed. While working on a related idea, I came across another quote to share, which is a more effective expression. It is from an essay by John Brown. The essay is "Hebrew Roots of Christianity: Problems and Solutions". It can be accessed Here.
"However, and this is huge!, the mindset of the Hebrews was still retained in the Universal Christian Faith. Jesus' followers were still Hebrews … thought like Hebrews and talked like Hebrews, wrote like Hebrews. This mindset is not be contained in the daily ritualized habits of the Jews nor celebrating Jewish holidays nor using Hebrew words in Christian services. The Hebrew mindset is actually universal. The Hebrew mindset is the pattern and description of spiritual reality. This pattern can be adopted and restated in any language, in any culture. That does not mean that the Hebrew mindset is totally compatible with pagan cultures either, it is not, but the Hebrew mindset was the foundation of Christianity at Pentecost and has been ever since. This fact is the foundation for studying the Hebrew Roots of Christianity."
The emphasis in the quote above is mine. In the essay, it says: "Hebrew Mindset is a term used to include both the Hebrew worldview and belief structure". Note that understanding our Hebrew roots and the Hebrew mindset does not include or require the adoption of the Jewish culture (modern or ancient)!
Because of our Western cultural background it can be quite difficult to accurately understand spiritual matters. For example, what is "holy spirit"? In his essay "Ambassador Authority and Power", John states:
"The second principle which must be learned, is that holy spirit is not The God or even A God from a Hebrew perspective, the overall context of all of Scripture. In the Old Testament, spirit from God is an expression meaning the presence and power of God, His breath, (by which God's Words were spoken) not YAHWEH Himself. Holy spirit is no more God Himself than is an angel God Himself. But angels delivered His messages, they spoke for God as His Agents – often using the first person as though they were the Creator. With spirit UPON the prophets, they also spoke for God as Agents delivering divine messages. With spirit IN the believer, they also speak for God as Agents of the Most High. God's spirit is the key to representing and speaking for God."
How simple is that? Holy spirit is the presence and power of God in the believer. With this simplicity, the Greek and Roman theologians and philosophers are no longer needed!
Thus, with this understanding of holy spirit and Christian service, Acts 17:24, 25 becomes clearer:
ESV: Acts 17:25, 25
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,
nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
The Living God has given to us everything we need in order to serve him, including the gift of holy spirit. This has been made available to us, not because we are so good, or through our own efforts, but through the accomplishments of his son Jesus Christ.
Yes, we can grow in our understanding of spiritual reality. Studying to understand our Hebrew Roots is relevant and profitable to us and our service to God. It is well worth the effort!
(C)2013 Keith S. Radcliffe