Archive for August, 2015

At the risk of being accused of having a Greek mindset myself, I feel compelled to write in order to correct a wrong.

The purpose of this study is not to refute the existence of the difference between the way a “Hebrew mind” thinks verses a “Greek mind”. It is obvious that differences exist based on one’s rearing and education. The purpose of this study is to show that, as it relates to Almighty Yahweh’s people, the Hebrew and Greek mindsets have no bearing on learning Biblical truth. This study will also point out some of the fallacies of this teaching and how it actually causes division within the Body of Messiah.

Below are four quotes from a prominent Messianic leader that sum up the teaching in question.

“When we read the Bible with our Greek mindset, we inevitably misinterpret it because the human authors of the Scriptures were Hebrews, not Greeks. The eternal, inspired words of the Almighty are clothed in a Semitic worldview, not the garb of the Greek philosophers.” 

“It is easy to see, then, that as we strive to return to a Torah perspective, it is necessary that we jettison our Greek worldview and seek to read and understand the Bible from the Hebrew mindset in which it was written.”

“Indeed, if we fail to read the Scriptures from the Hebraic perspective in which they were written, we will inevitably misinterpret them by importing a Greek dualism and contorting the sacred text into a system of linear logic. In so doing, we not only miss the message itself, but we change it into something God never intended.”

“The Scriptures, however, written by Hebrews from a Hebrew perspective, speak differently.”

Within these four quotes lies fallacy #1

  • That Scripture was written from a Hebrew mindset/perspective and clothed in a Semitic worldview.

How do those statements harmonize with the following verses?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of Elohim, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Timothy 3:16

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of Elohim spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21 

“Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of Elohim.” Romans 3:2

“The Spirit of Yahweh spoke by me [David], and his word was in my tongue.” 2 Samuel 23:2

The four quotes above give place to man’s influence upon Scripture whereas the verses quoted above place all influence upon Scripture as being from Yahweh. They are His “oracles” (utterances) given by “inspiration” (divinely breathed) through the moving of the Holy Spirit

Yahweh would not and did not allow man to influence the writing of Scripture in any way. He always exercised sufficient control and guidance over the men that He used to write Scripture so that the result was not only accurate and true, but it expressed Yahweh’s view and perspective, not man’s.

Even though the men who wrote Scripture down had life experiences and influences that formed their worldviews or perspectives, the operation of Yahweh’s Spirit was still required to make the words they wrote, “alive, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

The clearest supposed example of a Biblical writer’s views or perspective entering Scripture is found in the Apostle Paul’s writings where he gives his opinion without having a direct command from the Master.

 “But to the rest speak I, not the Master:”

“Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Master: yet I give my judgment, as one that has obtained mercy of the Master to be faithful.”

“But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of Elohim.” (1 Corinthians 7:12, 25, 40)

It is evident that Paul could not quote a teaching from the Master on these issues. He, therefore, gave his personal opinion/judgment/advice as a Spirit-filled apostle. His counsel, however, was inspired and so became part of Scripture.

We do see man’s influence upon the interpretation of Scripture, but not upon its inspiration. It is because man can influence the interpretation of Scripture that we see false doctrines and divisions within the Body of Messiah. Had man influenced the actual writings of Scripture, it would be full of true contradictions, not just supposed contradictions. Scripture would have many errors in the text if man’s worldview or perspectives influenced it.

Let’s look at one of the same author’s quotes again. 

“It is easy to see, then, that as we strive to return to a Torah perspective, it is necessary that we jettison our Greek worldview and seek to read and understand the Bible from the Hebrew mindset in which it was written.”

And another from the same author:

 “Unwrapping ourselves from the Greek mindset which characterizes our western culture is a difficult task but a necessary one if we hope to understand the Scriptures on their own terms.”

Herein lies fallacy #2.

  •  The Bible must be read from a “Hebrew mindset” in order to rightly understand it.

If that were the case, then all Gentile converts would first need to “jettison” their Greek worldview and unwrap themselves from their Greek mindset and then develop a Hebrew mindset to understand Scripture. Is that what occurred in the lives of Gentile converts as revealed in the New Testament? 

Ephesians 4:17-23 reads:

 “This I say therefore, and testify in the Master, that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of Elohim through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Messiah; if so be that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Yeshua: that you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

It is clear that unconverted Gentiles were walking “in the vanity of their mind”, in “ignorance”, and having no “understanding”. However, after learning of Messiah and receiving him as Master and Savior, they began to be “taught by him” in spite of their Greek mindset. Their mind was being renewed from a darkened, vain, ignorant, carnal, unconverted Greek/worldly mind to something else. What mind was being developed in the Greek minded Gentile converts of Ephesus? The same mind that was being developed in Gentile converts of Corinth and Philippi.

 “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of Elohim: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who has known the mind of the [Yahweh], that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Messiah.” (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)

 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Messiah Yeshua:” (Philippians 2:5)

Many Gentiles were given the Holy Spirit before converting their minds, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the one that converts/renews their mind.  If, indeed, the “spiritual” things cannot be rightly discerned prior to developing a “Hebrew mindset,” how then could they learn about the One True Elohim, Messiah, the Holy Spirit, etc.? They obviously learned those truths through the work of the Holy Spirit upon their Greek mind. 

The Apostle Paul wrote:

“Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” — Romans 12: 1, 2.

Paul did not mean believers were to renew their minds by changing their Greek mindset to a Hebrew mindset. Believers are to renew their minds through reading and meditating on Scripture, praying, obeying Yahweh’s commandments, walking according to the leading of the Holy Spirit, etc.

We read nothing in Scripture about developing a “Hebrew mindset”. We are to develop the mind of Messiah. Some may say, “True, but Messiah had a Hebrew mindset”. While it is true that Messiah Yeshua was raised in a Hebrew culture and surrounded by the Hebrew mindset, he did not have a Hebrew mindset any more than the Gentile converts had a Hebrew mindset. Yeshua had the mind of his Father Yahweh, being taught by Him directly. 

“ And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

“And the spirit of Yahweh shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of Yahweh: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:” (Isaiah 11:1-3)

“Yeshua answered them, and said, my doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me.” (John 7:16)

 “Then said Yeshua unto them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28)

 “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” (John 12:49-50)

 “Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, He does the works. He that loves me not keeps not my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” (John 14:10, 24)

 Yahweh, being neither man nor the son of man, cannot possibly have the mindset of men (i.e. Hebrew, Greek, American, Chinese, African, etc…).  He has His own mindset, the mindset to which He leads all of the people in which He chooses to allow His Holy Spirit to dwell.  Obtaining and/or developing this mindset need not come through immersion into Jewish culture and/or custom (i.e. observance of traditions and the like).  It is obtained and developed in different ways for each individual, each being directed in their own perfect path by Yahweh’s Spirit.  There is no one path for every person except the common link of every path being directed by Yahweh.  Some people develop the mind of Yahweh through the aid of their parents’ teaching; some through personal Bible study; some through the evangelism of others; some through a radical and powerful move of the Spirit. 

We saw how the Gentiles, lacking a Hebrew mindset, were not hindered from learning truth. What about the Hebrew minded Jewish converts to Messiah? Were they aided by their Hebrew mindset that was developed through years of being raised in the Hebrew culture?

In Acts 15:5, we learn about “certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed”. These men, being Pharisees, were about as Hebraic minded as one can get. Yet, we find they did not understand Yahweh’s way of salvation. They believed circumcision and keeping the law of Moses were necessary in order to be saved (Acts 15:1, 5, 10-11).The Apostle Peter rose up and proclaimed that salvation comes “through the grace of the Master Yeshua Messiah” (vs.11) not through law. The Apostle Paul proclaimed the same in his writings (Romans 3:24; Eph 2:8-9; 2 Tim 1:9).

The Pharisees that believed did not understand that truth yet because the Holy Spirit did not yet teach it to them. After the Holy Spirit used Peter to teach it to them, they undoubtedly had their minds enlightened in that area.

 We also know how the Hebraic minded Sadducees taught there is no resurrection (Matthew 22:23). They had other erroneous doctrines as well, which is why Yeshua told his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:11-12) Both Hebraic minded sects had false doctrines. Why? Because both sects failed to understand the whole counsel of Scripture through the Spirit’s leading. Just as their Hebraic mind did not aid the Pharisees and Sadducees, the Greek mind did not hinder the Gentiles from learning truth.

 In Acts 18:24-25, we learn of a Jew named Apollos who was “mighty in the Scriptures” and “instructed in the way of the Master”. Yet, it was necessary for Aquila and Priscilla to expound unto him “the way of Elohim more perfectly”. He needed to learn deeper truths even though he was very Hebraic minded. 

The Holy Spirit does not have to teach a person directly, but can do so through other believers. Yahweh placed apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers in the Body of Messiah for that very purpose. The saints holding those offices would learn truth from the Holy Spirit and pass those truths on to others.

This brings us to fallacy #3

  • The Greek mindset will lead to misunderstanding Scripture and the Hebrew mindset will aid us in understanding Scripture.

We have already seen how the Gentile converts of Ephesus did not need a Hebrew mindset in order to understand Scripture. They were developing the mind of Messiah, not the Hebrew mind. How were they developing the mind of Messiah? Was it by first developing a Hebrew mindset? No. It was through being taught by the Holy Spirit. 

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” (John 16:13-14)

 “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which Elohim has prepared for them that love him.

“But Elohim has revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of Elohim. For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man that is in him? Even so the things of Elohim knows no man, but the Spirit of Elohim. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of Elohim; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of Elohim. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-13)

“But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:27)

When we learn truth, it is not because we are Hebraic minded, but that we are receptive to the teachings of the Holy Spirit. The same holds true for teachers that teach from a supposed Hebrew mindset. They do not learn truth because of their Hebraic mindset, perspective, or worldview, but because of the influence of the Holy Spirit. 

It is the Holy Spirit that teaches truth to all believers regardless of what mindset developed within them. This is not only true of major doctrinal truths like monotheism or the Sabbath, but of minor truths as well. For example, if someone learns about a particular Hebrew idiom such as “heart” meaning “mind”, he did not learn it because he had a Hebrew mindset, but because the Holy Spirit taught it to him. 

To say that one learned a particular Scriptural truth because he had a Hebrew mindset is to exalt man and diminish the influence of the Holy Spirit. 

The TRUE mindset is the mind of Yahweh and Messiah, not the “Hebrew mindset”. Faith and trust in the Messiah IS ESSENTIAL to the mindset outlined in scripture. So, where the unbelieving Jews might have been following the mindset in scripture prior to Messiah, they abandoned it when they refused to believe upon Yeshua.  At that moment they swerved off of the path of the proper mindset. Why? Because they resisted the Holy Spirit’s teaching/leading. 

 “You stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do you.” (Acts 7:51)

 The mind that is not taught by the Holy Spirit, whether Greek or Hebrew, can be a dangerous mind because out of it comes false doctrine. There are several false doctrines that have risen from the Greek mind; atheism, evolution, and Scripture being full of error and contradictions are a few. 

False doctrine has also arisen from those with Hebraic minds. Among them are; circumcision for salvation, only Yahweh can forgive sin, healing on Sabbath is forbidden by Yahweh, forbidding to pronounce the Creator’s name, Yeshua is not Messiah, Yeshua is Yahweh, believers are under a “renewed” covenant rather than a “new” covenant, and the modern Hebrew calendar.

Christians have been accused of teaching false doctrines because of their Greek mindset. These accusations come from those professing to have a Hebrew mindset. Herein lies the divisiveness of the Hebrew vs. Greek mindset teaching. It creates a division in the Body of Messiah.

The Master Yeshua broke down the “wall of partition” separating Jews and Gentiles and made both one new man in him (Eph 2:11-22). Yet, that wall is being rebuilt and creating a separation between the “superior” Hebraic minded believers and those with the “inferior” Greek mindset who do not believe as they do.

 Some might say, “But Christians are not part of the Body of Messiah”. It is not for them to say such things and judge another man’s servants. To their own Master they stand or fall. Saying such things exalts one’s self over others even if they don’t realize it. Claiming one is Hebraic minded and those who do not believe the same are Greek minded not only reeks of self-exaltation, but detrimentally and needlessly labels others. 

It is actually not the Greek mind that leads believers in Messiah Yeshua into false doctrine, but resisting the teaching of the Holy Spirit and failing to apply good Bible study methods and hermeneutic principles under the Spirit’s guidance. Reading into the text, not checking the Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic texts for incorrect translations, not being aware of added words that change the meaning of a passage, taking verses out of context, not understanding Hebrew idioms, and Satanic deception, all lead one into false doctrine.

 The same author quoted at the beginning of this study provides us with an example of this when he writes:

“We also noted the Cathedral mentality that pervades Christianity via the Greek world-view. Despising the physical world and our earthly existence, many historical Christianities teach that the hope and final goal of salvation is to escape from life in this fallen world to eternal life in a celestial realm. In contradistinction to this, the Hebrew perspective anticipates the eternal reign of God within our physical world and accepts the divinely ordained mission of preparing for His ultimate reign by expanding His kingdom through the proclamation of the gospel.”

 Here is a chart the author provides to understand the differences in view:

Cathedral Mentality

Tabernacle/Temple Mentality

The goal of salvation is to escape this world and go to God’s dwelling place in heaven

The goal of salvation is to prepare a place fit for God’s dwelling here, among His people

The kingdom of Heaven exists in heaven, not upon the earth

The kingdom of Heaven is God’s reign among people here upon the earth

The Messiah is coming in order to take us away from this world

The Messiah is coming in order to reign over us in this world

Message: “Get your ticket now or you might miss the train”

     

 

Message: the Kingdom of Heaven is coming! Get ready to receive and serve the King.

     

 

 

The Hebraic minded person looks at the false teaching of eternal life in heaven and says it is the result of Christianity’s “Greek worldview”. Christianity would probably look at the Hebraic view (that eternal life will be on earth and no one goes to heaven except Messiah Yeshua) and say it is the result of not being led by the Holy Spirit into understanding. 

I believe both views are in error. It is clear to me that the Christian view arose because the New Testament shows believers in heaven. The Hebraic view arose because the New Testament shows the Kingdom will be on earth. A deeper study utilizing proper study principles in conjunction with prayer for the Holy Spirit’s guidance will result in the belief that there is a group of believers that will go to heaven for a short time and then return to earth with Yeshua to set up and rule the Kingdom on earth. For more info on this, click here

There are many more examples to show how Christian doctrine is not the result of a Greek mindset or worldview, but of poor study habits through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For the sake of not allowing this study to become overwhelming, I won’t go into the other examples. 

In conclusion, I am in no way opposing the deeper study of Scripture, Hebraic culture, and/or the ancient texts to better understand truth. I simply want believers to understand that the reception of truth does not come from being Hebrew minded or from having a Hebrew perspective or worldview. It comes from the Holy Spirit through the grace of Yahweh. 

The labels “Hebrew mindset” and “Greek mindset” should not be used in reference to believers since they tend to cause division and offense within the Body of Messiah. Even those who are Torah oriented, if they disagree with the Hebraic view in a particular doctrine, will be accused of being Greek minded. This should not be. Rather than labeling people, we should be educating people. We should not be explaining why people don’t agree with a particular Hebraic viewpoint by accusing them of being Greek minded, but instead, explaining why their understanding of Scripture is erroneous, if indeed it is. We should be explaining the Scriptures more perfectly to them (planting seeds of truth) and allow the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts and minds to the acknowledging of the truth. May it be so.

Note: I have not provided references to the articles I quoted because I did not want to be misunderstood as coming against the author. It is the teaching that concerns me. 

Subscribe

ArabicBulgarianChinese (Simplified)EnglishFrenchGermanGreekHebrewHindiHungarianIndonesianIrishItalianJapaneseKoreanNorwegianPolishPortugueseRomanianRussianSpanishSwedishTurkishUkrainianVietnamese