October - Reading 6

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Oct 6, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening -

    In Jeremiah 12 we once again get a glimpse at the man. Verses 1-6 are often referred to as Jeremiah's Second Confession. The first confession was found in 11:18-23. These passages show the close communication that Jeremiah had with God. They also show how Jeremiah wrestled with his own personal theology and the pleading way in which he sought answers from God.
    In chapter 13 Jeremiah begins a series of actions to show symbolism of Israel and by what God's actions were justified. This was a very common device among the prophets and we will see more of these as we continue our readings into December. The symbolic acts would appear at first puzzling like a parable but the actions were usually explained at the end of the demonstration as we see today.

    We see the first of Christ's miracles today in the Book of John. The statement "My time has not yet come," reflects the belief that Christ worked on a very tightly limited timeline through His ministry. It also shows that Mary was privy to the miraculous powers her Son possessed. John does not refer to these acts of Jesus as "miracles" but rather as "signs." John's focus, and rightly so, was on the signifigance of the action rather than the sensationalism. Remember, even the man of lawlessness will perform miracles (2Thessalonians 2:9). It is in John's wording that we can find the difference.

    Our reading in James today is a GREAT lesson. The human tongue is more untamable than any other beast. It is capable of inflicting the greatest blessings and the most damamge. If we are to walk the walk, a large part of our journey begins with taming the wildest of beast, the speaking human tongue.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lecture - 8/17/03

    James 3

    James mentions responsibility in speech in all five chapters of the Letter (1:19,26; 2:12,16 ; 4:11; 5:9, 12) . Chapter three amplifies these arguments. In the various commentaries I read for this week, each theologian catalogued this lesson into parts differently. I chose to break Chapter 3 into these four sections:

    1) Accountability for Speech (3:1-2)
    2) The Power of Speech (3:3-5)
    3) Misuse of Speech (3:6-12)
    4) Two Types of Wisdom (3:13-18)

    1) (James 3:1-2) James is addressing an office he refers to as “teachers” in these verses. Your KJV interprets the term “masters”, which conveys the same intent, as in the term “schoolmaster.” This is thought to be an early office of the church and many new converts may have been flocking to claim the title “teacher”, literally “rabbi.” This office is believed to have been absorbed by the position of Elder or Bishop as the church evolved.. Paul in Romans 12:7 and again in 1Corinthians 12:28 speaks of those who were given the Spiritual Gift of teaching. As has been the norm in James, the author is concerned about accountability of one desiring such an office. James concedes that we all sin, but to elevate oneself to such a position would put one under greater scrutiny.

    We will speak more on the subject of the office of “teacher” when we discuss Acts 13:1; Ephesians 4:11-12; and 1Timothy 3:1-2,

    As a side note here, Sunday School did not begin to become a practice until the very late 1700’s or early 1800’s. While these types of teachers are not the group being addressed by James, the intention can very well apply. James never calls for anyone to resign the office, just that they recognize the responsibility that comes with such influence.

    2) (James 3:3-5) In this section James makes three analogies of the tongue. The first is to a bit in a horse’s mouth. The second is the rudder (or helm) on a ship. These two analogies convey the same meaning: a very small object is used to guide and direct a much larger entity. The third analogy is to fire and how a small amount of fire can spread to a whole forest. Bear in mind that all three of these devices can be used for good or bad depending on how they are directed. Horses can be used for plowing or war. Ships can be safely piloted or run aground. Fire can be used for cooking, heat and light or it can be destructive.

    The Lifeway supplement for this lesson gave a very interesting interpretation. If we view the word “body” in verse three as the body of the church rather than the body of an individual, James may still be addressing the teachers here. While a unique interpretation, for me this holds merit and adds a bit of cohesiveness as James will be returning specifically to addressing teachers in verse 13.

    3) (James 3:6-12) From verse 5, which may be a poor division of the numeration, James builds upon his analogy of speech to fire. Here he goes into the potential evil of the tongue. In this Passage James illustrates several metaphors describing this evil. He says that it is a fire, an unrighteous world, that it stains the body, disrupts the cycle of nature (5b), that it is untamable, set on fire from hell, is an unruly evil and that it is full of deadly poison.

    The term “world of unrighteousness” or “iniquity” offers some problems to the interpreter. It is probably best not to strain the meaning of the text by contextualizing this phrase with the fire metaphor, but rather to understand verse as saying the tongue is “an unrighteous world among our members.” This way we can understand the verse to mean that the tongue is the center of the iniquity of our bodies (or that the teachers are the center of iniquity of a church).

    James makes no secret of the source of this iniquity. The tongue is set on fire by hell. Man, in his created state, would not have this difficulty but after the Fall, the tongue becomes the implement through which the devil works. Christ said in Matthew 15:11, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person."

    The term “hell” here also has an interesting connotation in the original Greek. The term geennes is a transliterated Greek word from the Hebrew Gehinnom. This was the Jerusalem dump and was historically a site used for sacrifices to the false god, Moloch. (2Kings 16:3). In pre-Christian Jewish literature, this site was already being used as a reference to hell.

    James goes on to say that every type of creature on earth has and is being tamed but man still does not have total dominion over his speech. The obvious, but unstated, conclusion is that it is only by the aid of the Holy Spirit that man can accomplish this. James, however, all through this Epistle is far more concerned about conduct and genuineness of Christianity than the sources of Good and evil. He lays accountability, as it should be, on the believer.

    The author then goes on to show the inconsistency of our use of the tongue. With it we praise God the Father and curse our fellow men. The significance of including “Father” in the blessing sheds more light on the sin of the cursing. The father and his household were viewed as a unit in the Judaistic system. Therefore, by blessing the Father we also bless his children and by cursing men, we are cursing the Creator as well. The cursing referenced here is not cussing as we know it but rather an expression of desire that evil and misfortune fall upon the person being cursed. Though we are not familiar with the vocalization of these thoughts, we are certainly aware of the related emotion and should still view such as sin.

    The author shows that such an inconsistency is as unnatural as fresh and brackish water coming from the same spring or fig trees bearing olives. Such things do not occur and to force such goes against nature and even logic.

    [ October 04, 2004, 08:19 AM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  4. Gwyneth

    Gwyneth
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    Reading plan

    Thank you Clint for your faithfulness in this project. I have been reading with this group for quite a few years now, and am still enjoying the notes and commentaries that you have posted.
    Gwyneth:wavey:
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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