By Daniel Nessim. Reposted with kind permission.
When our Messiah and Lord, Yeshua, arose from the dead and His disciples began to spread the Good News (the word “Gospel” means “Good News”), they lived in a very diverse world. Their religious life and frame of reference was Biblical and part of the nascent Judaism of the day, and they never seem to have thought of themselves as other than people living a life of devotion to the Almighty. Now that they knew Yeshua’s true Identity, their devotion and service to the Father also meant devotion and service to His Son.
Theirs was a world where they also interacted with Romans and Greek culture had had a deep influence for over two centuries. When they began to preach the Good News, they did so on the first Shavuot (1) to the crowds in Jerusalem, who were both Jews and Gentile proselytes (Acts 2:11) they did so to people from all over the world. When the Brit Hadasha, BH (2) was written they wrote according to their personalities, educations and backgrounds. This means we can understand the Scriptures so much better when we understand more about who the writers the Spirit inspired were, and the way they thought.
The BH was written in Greek and until recently most often interpreted by Europeans, whose cultures have been greatly influenced by their Roman and Greek heritage. This means that there have been almost 2,000 years of interpretation of the Bible that reads it in light of its “Greek” mindset, all too often this has been at the expense of understanding the Hebrew and Jewish mindset of the writers. Most of us at Kehillath Tsion know that well, and seek to read more correctly, of course.
What is important is also to remember that there can sometimes be a false dichotomy between “Greek” and “Hebrew” thought, and that we can throw out the baby with the bathwater. Yochanan (3) 1:1 is an example, as the “Word” spoken of has layers of meaning that draw not only upon Hebrew but also Greek thought.
In the near future I’d like to develop that thought further. For now, it is worth remembering that the Spirit could have inspired the writers of the BH to write in Hebrew, but clearly the Lord’s Gospel was intended for all the world, and so it was written in a language that the most people possible could read. Baruch HaShem! (4)
2. New Testament
4. Praise the L-rd.