Monday, September 2, 2013

Critical Thinking And The Bible

The writings in the Bible were written during the heyday of the Greek and Roman civilizations. Many of the authors were trained from the schools of these people.

 Think of critical thinking as a filter through which we examine truth claims. We ask questions of people and writings to find out if they are reliable--questions like,

What do you mean by that? (Defining terms)
Where do you get your information?
How do you know this is true?
What if you're wrong?


When it comes to the Bible, which claims to be the very word of God, these questions are still helpful. "What do you mean by that?" is an important question to ask when we come to the text. We need to discern whether something is literal or figurative, historical or poetic or prophetic. That's why it's so important to read and study the WHOLE Bible and not just verses here and there. The writers (and God inspiring the writers) had a definite meaning in mind when they wrote down the biblical text, and it's important for us to bring our understanding in line with their intent. For instance, when Jesus said, "I am the vine," did He mean He was green and stringy? Or was He speaking in figurative language? When we read the rest of John and see that He drew analogies a lot to help us understand spiritual truth, we can see that He wasn't speaking literally at this point. So yes, it is important to distinguish the meaning of a scripture for yourself. Ask for wisdom  and understanding. Ask more then one biblical scholar. 

Proverbs 2:5-7

then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
    he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,