4 Reasons History Matters to One’s Faith

When people of faith, particularly the Christian faith, don’t get the historical facts right, they can come up with some wild and wacky theologies, e.g. church authority and hierarchy, the Rapture, the imminent Return of Christ in our lifetime, etc. As imprecise as history is, it does follow a scientific method. Check out what our study group learned about why history matters >

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2 thoughts on “4 Reasons History Matters to One’s Faith

  1. Context, context, context. When it comes to the Bible I definitely think there’s much goodness to be gained from it even when a historically illiterate person reads it. That said, there’s another, important level of richness to be discovered when one interprets it while using historical context to help. For instance, then you are able to see that in the famous “rapture” passage in 1 Thessalonians, Paul is writing about a historical phenomenon from his era. When rulers came to visit (or take charge of) a city, important people from the city would leave the city to meet him/her well before she/he arrived. But NOT to leave the city forever, but to return to the city with her/him. Or without history one wouldn’t realize that when Jesus says to turn the other cheek you’d actually be forcing your “enemy” to recognize you as an equal by punching you instead of slapping you with an open hand (there were rules about which hand you could slap with and you slapped people who were “less” than you and punched people who were equal to you). With that in mind, Jesus saying to turn the other cheek is loving your enemy, loving yourself, nonviolent, AND standing up for yourself.

    • Good points, Lang. They illustrate my major point, that without a good knowledge of history, culture, and original language, it’s so easy to misread many NT passages. It’s not just to gain a level of richness (although it does do that), but it’s to uncover the original meaning, so that we can rightly interpret it for today; in other words to avoid misinterpreting it and having beliefs not based on reality. I was always a fan, by the way, of the phrase, “Context is King,” when it comes to the NT.

      I knew that about the “rapture” passage, but I didn’t know that about the turning the other cheek. That’s a great example and shows how not only was Jesus nonviolent, but he wasn’t a doormat either.