Great Stuff found on the Web — A Thought on The Bible series

Associate Editor’s Note:  This is a great post which points out that often we need a teacher of God’s Word to teach us (as did the Ethiopian Eunuch).  Please take this posting as an addition or even correction to previous ones on the series, especially in regards to going to Church and so forth.  Thankful to Rev. Schmidt for posting it.

A great post found on Rev Schmidt’s blog:

 

The_Bible_Series_-_Art_Preview_587x327As I watched The Bible on Sunday night, March 3, 2013, I also followed a series of posts on facebook; and then on Monday and following, I took note of quite a few blog posts regarding the episode.  I suspect the same will happen again this week with the premiere of the next installments.

The common theme of all of these posts, whether they were in favor of the series or against, including my own, was that one should not rely on a 10 part series put out by a secular cable channel to interpret the Scriptures, but they should go to the source, and read the actual Bible.  My own post even referenced the example of Acts 17:11.

But there is another example, also from the book of Acts that should be taken into consideration:  Acts 8:26-40, the account of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch.

The Eunuch is doing what everyone seemingly wants him to do: he is reading the Bible.  But there is a problem: the Eunuch does not know what the Scriptures are saying.  He can read the words on the page, but the meaning is a complete mystery to him.

This is not an unusual problem; the Scriptures are not an easy book to read.  They were written long ago in a time and place very much different from our own.  In can also be difficult for even learned believers to understand when the Scriptures are speaking factually and when they are speaking allegorically or metaphorically.  There is also the problem that some of the books of the Bible are historical, others are poetry, still others are prophetic, some are letters, and there is even apocalyptic literature.  And without a decent, reliable study Bible, it is difficult to keep track of who is who and what the time period is.

So if a person just opens the Bible and starts reading, what are they going to find?  Ultimately, they are going to find frustration in trying to figure out what is going on.

Which brings us back to the Eunuch; he is struggling with the prophet Isaiah, when Philip appears.

With the help of Philip, who represents the Church, the Eunuch is able to understand what Isaiah is speaking of; which ultimately leads to his question in verse 36: See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?

Notice the change: left to his own devices, he will either toss the Scriptures aside and never look at them again, or worse yet, arrive at his own wrong interpretations, thereby jeopardizing his salvation; but with the arrival of Philip, he is led by the Holy Spirit to be baptized.

Which scenario would you prefer?

The answer to watching The Bible miniseries on television is not to go to the knee jerk reaction and say ‘don’t watch, just read the Bible’; instead the answer is ‘go to Church’ and hear the Scriptures opened to you in the sermon, and made real to you in the water of baptism and the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Great Stuff found on the Web — A Thought on The Bible series — 5 Comments

  1. Excellent post. Is this not why we confess the Apostle’s Creed, specifically that we believe in the “…apostolic church..”? We have the Word, and the apostolic church to explain the Word. Thank God we also have Reformers to correct Men when they stray, and faithful pastors to carry on the work of the apostolic church.

    Spenglergeist.

  2. Just some thoughts from a Christian Newby . . .

    I have been a Christian all my life, knowing and believing that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, through His Grace & Peace, I will be saved. I am however, a newby in the sense that I have just started reading & studying The Bible in the last few years.
    So, on the topic of the History channel’s mini-series, The Bible, I offer these thoughts . . .
    In comparison to The Ten Commandments, a movie epic that has Hollywood’s grandiose interpretation thickly running through it, I found the first episode of The Bible to be less theoretical and closer to The Word. It made me get my Bible out and reference something I was not sure about.
    If Philip represents the Church to the Eunuch, whom the Eunuch came to for answers, might not this mini-series serve as a tool to get someone to open their Bible and search for answers, or better yet, come through the doors of Christ’s Church and seek out the answers he/she needs from those within.
    I think such a series can be the catalyst in lighting a fire under a newby Christian who is just coming to know the Bible and all it has to offer. Just sitting down to read the Bible cover to cover is an overwhelming task and if you have no biblical understanding at all, you may just throw up your hands and toss The Book in a corner to collect dust.
    Some people are good at reading and understanding The Word. Others, (like myself), are visual interpreters. This series will allow me to see and hear the Bible unfold, it will raise questions, and I hope to be like the Eunuch, going forth and asking question(s) of my pastor or one of my Bible study leaders, who can then direst me to particular passages and from there I can determine just how much of the mini-series is in line with my belief system.
    There are those that will take this mini-series at face value and do nothing else with the information. Is this information of no value at all, I think not, for the viewer has at least been exposed to The Bible, and it may be all that person ever gets. If he/she learns by the end of the series that Christ came to earth to save you and me from our sin, and that He took those sins to the Cross at Calvary for each and every one of us, and through that sacrifice we are saved, then isn’t this information vehicle worth the viewing?
    It (the series) is not perfect, but perhaps it will be enough to start someone thinking on the right path, and I am more determined to stick with my Bible studies and keep drinking in His Holy Water that I will be drenched in His Word.
    To God be the Glory . . .
    -Jan

  3. All the more reason why our pastors need to offer regular Bible study on actual books of the Bible rather than studies of the current pop culture topic of the day.

  4. @Jan #2

    Jan–it must have been fantastic to immerse yourself in Scripture, and to experience the awakening of your faith. It is clearly a work of divine grace, and it sounds like a real adventure for you.

    You said, “There are those that will take this mini-series at face value and do nothing else with the information. Is this information of no value at all, I think not, for the viewer has at least been exposed to The Bible, and it may be all that person ever gets. If he/she learns by the end of the series that Christ came to earth to save you and me from our sin, and that He took those sins to the Cross at Calvary for each and every one of us, and through that sacrifice we are saved, then isn’t this information vehicle worth the viewing?”

    First, from what I’ve seen so far, this is a highly inaccurate portrayal of the Bible. There are very few verbatim (or even close-to-verbatim) quotations. I watched the David-Goliath-to-death-of Saul portion last night, and the best I can say it that it followed the general outlines of the Biblical narrative. I found it difficult to discern that much, if any, of the dialogue was direct scriptural quotations. For instance, I don’t remember Jonathan telling David that he can unite the Jews after killing Goliath. Is that in the Bible anyplace? That disturbs me.

    Finally, it remains to be seen how well the film will portray Christ the Savior as you have described Him above. So we’ll have to wait and see. If, as Chris Rosebrough has said, He says only, “I have come to change the world,” but does not preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins, then I’m not sure how good a witness it will provide.

    On the other hand, you may be right–perhaps some will come to faith after watching this series–at least that it will act as a catalyst. That is a distinct possibility, however, as you know faith is engendered through the Means of Grace that God has provided–the Word and the Sacraments. “The Bible” cannot be described as a Means of Grace. Let’s keep watching and seeing where it goes.

  5. The Bible series is just another example of false teaching and the importance of knowing how to discern these things is crucial. Unfortunately, many will be led astray by this program. But how does one learn discernment? Proper teaching in the churches!

    There is such a great need for accurate Biblical teaching. Thank goodness there is plenty good teaching to be found in the LCMS! It’s pretty difficult to sift through the nonsense out there.

    I’m one of those who end up confused or not really fully understanding when I take the Bible out to read it–and therefore, I don’t. I really don’t want to be left to my own devices when it comes to the Bible. Not sure if anyone else feels this way.

    Therefore, I find that I rely mostly on resources such as this site. I have learned so much from the articles and sermons that are posted. The Pastor’s Round Table discussions and the Sunday School lessons every week on Issues Etc. are extremely valuable as well. It doesn’t limit a person to only learning on Sundays anymore or at a weekly Bible class as it’s right there, on demand. I’m “hearing” the Word of God in my home now on a daily basis and it’s wonderful.
    And once you start learning, it’s pretty exciting and you just want to learn more.
    THANK YOU STEADFAST LUTHERANS and ISSUES ETC!

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