Monday, March 26, 2012

Learning from teachers of the past

One of the things I have come to appreciate over the past 4 or 5 years is the benefit of reading and studying material from Christians who lived hundreds and even thousands of years ago. Of the many benefits of tapping into this sanctified archive of wisdom, one that particularly stands out is mentioned by John Hannah in the quote below. A regular diet of teaching from bygone eras is one way to broaden one's perspective and remove some blind spots one has developed due to the period in history one lives in.


Is there any benefit in reading the Bible as it was understood by previous generation of Christians? Yes, certainly, because the Bible was written for them as well as us. God spoke to them through the Bible as he does to us today, and the spiritual gift of teaching was given to individuals then as it is now. Therefore when we read the biblical interpretations of previous generations, going all the way back to the earliest days of the church, we can often gain insight and perspectives that we might otherwise overlook because of the cultural biases of our own time. (Grudem, Wayne A., C. John Collins, and Thomas R. Schreiner. Understanding Scripture: An Overview of the Bible's Origin, Reliability, and Meaning. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011. Print. 19)

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