Did Jesus Waste Words?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by richard n koustas, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. richard n koustas

    richard n koustas
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    Did Jesus Waste Words?

    In another thread someone used the term “arbitrary details” in reference to details in the parable of the leaven. I do not believe that there are “arbitrary details” in any parable, it’s almost like saying the Jesus wasted words. I believe that every detail, every word is there for a reason, a reason that probably had meaning to the original hearers. What say ye?
     
  2. James_Newman

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    They would probably have meaning to us if we would have ears to hear.
     
  3. DeeJay

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    A parable is a lesson or truth woven into a story. That means that some of the words are just part of the story. I do not think that every word has to mean something important, some of them are just to make the story a story.

    That does not make the words wasted, they are ment to make the story interesting, is that a wast.
     
  4. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

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    No Jesus did not waste words but you do.

    The details of the gender of the cook, the number of measures, are arbitrary because they are not the focus of the story. Where did the people come from that Cain was banished to join? The Bible does not say because it is not necessarily important to the story. A parable has meaning but not all aspects of a parable are symbolic. In the case of the leaven, the physiological properties of the leaven are key to understanding the moral of the parable. You are over reading and over interpreting when you try to extract meaning where there was none given other than to set the table for a interesting story with a very important moral or truth.
     
  5. Hope of Glory

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    PsKN 12:6: The words of the LORD [are] pure words: [as] silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

    No, I don't think he wasted any words and I think he said exactly what he means and means exactly what he says.

    Are some of the words just to flesh out the story? Maybe, but that does not mean they are not germane to the exact meaning of the parables. Is it his servant? Is there a certain number of something?

    I don't think a parable is going to use a detail that is contradictory to anything else in the Bible. IOW, we are to compare Scripture to Scripture, including parables.
     
  6. richard n koustas

    richard n koustas
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    It is when scripture (in the parables) is compared with scripture (especially the OT that many hearers were presumably familiar with) that some very interesting things surface.

    Maybe I can find some common ground with B_P/T. Let’s consider one detail in the prodigal parable: And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.(Luke 15:15). Why swine? Why not goats, sheep,or oxen? Those that heard the parable and ‘had ears to hear’, knew that swine was unclean because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud. Is this detail arbitrary?

    BTW B_P/T, I'm having some difficulty following your logic. you say that in the story of Cain, some details are left out because they are not important. yet in the parable of the leaven, details are provided, but they are not important, either.
     
  7. Allan

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    You could have used better wording in this as it is an important aspect of bible doctrine but not specifically to the story being conveyed.

    However I agree with those who have stated the words were not wasted as they had great value in conveying the moral lessons or truths involved.
     
  8. 2BHizown

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    "There has sprung up in the church of Christ an idea that there are many things taught in the Bible which are not essential; that we may alter them just a little to suit our convenience: that provided we are right in the fundamentals, the other things are of no concern...But this know, that the slightest violation of the divine law will bring judgments upon the Church, and has brought judgments, and is even at this day witholding God's hand from blessing us...The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible is the religion of Christ's Church. And until we come back to that the Church will have to suffer!
    "Ah, how many have there been who have said, 'The old puritanic principles are too rough for these times; we'll alter them, we'll tone them down a little."


    (C.H. Spurgeon, quoted in The Forgotten Spurgeon by Iain Murray)
     
  9. J. Jump

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    Man is not to live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Sounds like every word has life if we have eyes to see and ears to hear.
     
  10. av1611jim

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    Amen brother!

    Therefore;
    The fellow who unsuccessfully tried to convince us that some words are not important in the teachings of Jesus, God the Son, Our Advocate, Our Saviour, Our Bread of Life, apparently missed that verse!

    Hee Haw!
     
  11. Hope of Glory

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    Mark 4:2: And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,

    Jesus apparently had no problems teaching them doctrine through parables, so did not consider his words wasted.
     
  12. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

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    Anything that is not essential information is not expanded upon and does not need to be elaborated upon. There is no attention given to who the people were and where they came from therefore you must understand that they as a people are not important to the story of Genesis. In parable of the leaven, the gender of the woman is given but is not essential information and is not expanded upon. It is not nearly so important that you ask the Bible your questions that you see as relevant as it is that you find out what questions the Bible asks of you for your consideration.
     
  13. Hope of Glory

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    I wish more people could see this idea, in light of other "doctrines" that have been presented.
     
  14. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

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    Yeah, that is what happens when someone majors on the minors....
     
  15. rbell

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    previous theologians sought to "allegorize" every single detail of parables that Jesus taught. The result was voluminous commentary on the parables of Christ...they were often clever, but in their cleverness they missed the simple yet crucial truth that Jesus communicated to His audience...this epitomizes what Jesus says (quoting Isaiah 6): the paradox of those who "See but don't perceive," and those who "hear but don't understand."

    In Matthew 13, Jesus Himself explains two of His parables...the sower, and the weeds. That chapter is a good example of how we should look at His parables, and interpret them...He sets an example.

    Conclusion: the phrase "wasting words" implies words spoken lightly, or without regard for their consequences. Jesus could never do this...He was sinless. Did Jesus ever speak words that could be taken at face value--without a deeper meaning? Of course. He was human, and Divine. Certainly, Jesus would say, upon seeing a bird, "There goes a bird." And that was it. Other times, He spoke parables with unsearchable depth of meaning. The balance is getting "the point" without resorting to allegorizing everything and missing the forest for the trees.



    But that is not wasting words...it is simply using them.
     
  16. rsr

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    I am in general agreement with BPT and rbell. I am wary of overallegorization of the texts, which can lead to some pretty strange theologies.

    As to "wasting" words: Good storytellers do not "waste" words. While the words may not have some allegorical meaning, they may advance the narrative and make the message resonate more strongly than would otherwise be the case. Jesus' parables are filled with homely images that his hearers could well imagine - many times, they may have done something similar. Maybe the woman seeking for the lost coin was familiar to those who heard the parable. It could have been someone's mother or sister, or even himself.

    Now, Jesus could have simplified the story. "A person who had a bit of money lost some of it. After a search, the money was found and everyone was asked to celebrate." Ho-hum.

    No, this was a woman. How did she know the money was missing? Well, it had to be counted, and there had to be some number. Maybe she was expecting the tax collector the next day, or perhaps it was for a dowry for a daughter who could not arrange a proper marriage without it. She found the coin gone and didn't just sit down and say "Well, where did I put it?" No, she fired up the lamp - oil's not cheap, you know, and you use it only when you have to - and then sets out with her broom to look into every nook and cranny. Finally she finds the coin and instead of just sliding the coin into her purse, she calls out for friends and neighbors to come celebrate with her.

    The details give texture to the story and allow listeners to conjure up their own images that resonate with them. The numbers mean nothing - there is no difference between the one of 10 coins lost and the one of 100 sheep lost or the one of two sons lost. They give life to the story.

    In good storytelling, there are no "wasted" words. They are the raw material from which responses of the heart are molded. They need have no great theological meaning but are designed to advance the narrative, to breathe life into teaching.
     
    #16 rsr, Oct 30, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2006
  17. Brother Bob

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    Mat 12:36But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

    You think Jesus was guilty?
     
  18. rsr

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    Who is you?
     
  19. Brother Bob

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    The OP references. Whatever caused this question to be asked, I guess it goes back to another thread really the "who".
     
    #19 Brother Bob, Oct 30, 2006
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