on the Atlanta shootings and the “problem” of porn in the Christian church

The Atlanta shooter was said to “love God and guns.” It turns out he loved pornography too. Apparently, he suffered “sexual anguish,” aka: guilt and shame because of his “addiction.”

What that guy did was wrong. It was misogynistic, hateful, and it terrorized the Asian community in Atlanta. His stated reasons for why he did what he did is also complex. He said he was “sexually addicted.” The idea of the possibility of being “addicted” to sex is highly debated. On the one hand, it is a natural normal biological activity, seen as a physiological “need.” Yet, on the other, one can control the desire for sex.

This is a complex issue in the Evangelical church. Should one who views pornography as a way to manage his sexual desire which is normal and even healthy, feel guilty for doing so? Well, sin has a tendency to do that. It causes one to feel guilt and shame. It comes from the devil and or own self hatred for doing what we know is wrong. Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus – the condemnation one feels is not from God, but from the devil who wishes to separate us from God. God desires that we see what we did was wrong, repent of that action, and turn to him for help.

Yet also, on the one hand, sexuality (and desire) is normal and natural and how God made us. God made the man and the woman, in Genesis 1-3, for one another, and he said it was good. Yet, on the other hand, the Bible consistently urges people to “flee (and or avoid) sexual immorality” and condemns such activity such that at the end of the book of Revelation, the sexually immoral are listed among those not allowed into the New Jerusalem (Rev 22:15; See also, Rom 13;13; 1 Cor 6:18; 10:18; Eph 5:3; Col 3:5; 1 Thess 4:3). Christians are explicitly admonished to flee and to avoid sexual immorality.

For many, pornography (and its twin sin “m” which basically has to be done to get release from the viewing of porn, hence why it is a twin sin) is a vice. It encourages, demonstrates the practice of sexual immorality. “Porn” is seen in the Greek word “porneia” (πορνεία) which is the word most often translated as “sexual immorality,” which is simply the act of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse such as through prostitution, unchastity, fornication (or even in the act of adultery), which is having sex with someone not your husband or your wife on an intentionally consistent basis with no regard for what is right or for the other, or for whatever consequence may arise from such activity. Those who engage in it are “πόρνοι” (pornoi – sexually immoral persons; c.f., Rev 22:15). It is an act of dehumanization. Note, sexual intercourse within marriage is not dehumanizing but rather is good, and beautiful, and meant to be enjoyed in married life. It is when it is done outside that context with consistency and regularity and with disregard. This action demonstrates hostility to God and to what is right, which is why also it is so closely tied to idolatry.

I would venture that the person who views porn often and regularly is acting in defiance to God and what is right. this person should reconsider their actions. If they are a Christian, they need realize their defiance and reconsider their commitment to Christ.

What the difference is, is this – the occasional “sin” will not separate one from God or cause one to lose one’s soul to hell. What is worrisome is the ongoing consistent act of defiance against God to do what the self wants with no regard for God, or for what is right – or for the other. This is what will separate one from God. This is what will put one in danger of eternal separation from God and his goodness, his light, his life.

What the Atlanta shooter did was wrong. He should have sought help when he decided to shoot and kill the women he did. He has to take responsibility for his own actions. He cannot blame it on his supposed “addiction.” He worried he would lose his soul to hell and he went too far as to shoot and kill 8 people, 6 of whom where Asian women to try to rid his temptation. Now he will spend the rest of his life in jail as a consequence. It is too bad he did not reach out for help before committing this atrocity.

Perhaps the conversation around sexuality in the church needs to change. Too often the responsibility for men’s moral failures are put on the women (how they dress and or act) (note nothing is ever said about men tempting women and how men should change to make it easier for women). Adam blamed Eve for his own sin. This needs to stop. It must be remembered that each person, in the midst of temptation or the the act is “dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:145-15).

At the same time, the church tends to talk about sex like it is dirty, bad, and immoral, creating a culture of “eww” and “that’s gross,” so that, when couples do marry, sex is way too weird for them – and guys (and women too) who have “porn brain” (you can look it up, it is real thing) risk being dissatisfied due to the false intimacy they experienced viewing porn and then are not able to appreciate or experience intimacy and love that comes through the marriage relationship. So the conversations need to change. How the topic is discussed needs to change, and probably instead of in a hushed tone in quiet places, it needs to be talked about openly in a way that is not weird but is healthy and life giving.

on 1 Timothy 2:11-15

Regarding 1 Timothy 2:11-15 …. (these are my own thoughts trying as able to just stick with the text)

The focus of Paul’s letter to Timothy is in chapter 1:3-7 –

“As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain persons not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.”

Here Paul tells Timothy to:
1) command certain persons not to teach false doctrines any longer; (there was a false teacher among them) (v3)
2) to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies and that (v 4)
3)Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk (v6)
4) they want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about (v7)note in v 20 he calls out two men in particular who have shipwrecked their faithWhy is this important? because
5) Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work (v4).
Instead,
6) he urges everyone to pray (2:1) and live quiet lives (2:2)

Why? Because there is one God and one mediator – Jesus Christ (2:5).

7) he repeats the exhortation to pray in 2:8 – don’t be angry, stop quarreling; dress modestly (in keeping with his exhortation for the men to live quiet lives (2:2)) learn in quietness (2:11).

Now he makes a shift to the singular:

8) there’s this woman, I do not permit her to teach or “αὐθεντεῖν” (don’t let her assume a stance of independent authority – or be domineering) (2:12) (Is she one of the ones in 1:7? She wants to be a teacher of the law, but she does not know what she is talking about?? She was teaching the false story of the fall…) In verse 11 he said women should learn.

She must be quiet….. (2:12)

It is imperative to get false teachers out of the church and not allow them to have a voice….

Nothing to see here about women not being able to teach or lead in the church…. the imperative is guarding against false teaching and usurping domineering type people… (men do it too).

“Is God really everywhere?”

A student asked in a DQ forum:

Don’t have to answer this in class but if you could respond in the private forum that’d be great. Is God really everywhere at once? Or is this just a misconception that I have from what I was told when I was younger?

The IA responded via private message:

It is true. We teach that God is omniscient (all-knowing, or infinitely knowing), omnipresent (all-present or infinitely present), omnipotent (all-powerful or infinitely powerful), and omnibenevolent (all loving or infinitely good). One good example of this from the Bible is in Psalm 139 where the Psalmist asks in verse 7, “Where can I go from your Spirit?” He then proceeds to say he can go to the far side of the sea and God is there; he can go to the depths of the earth and God is there – everywhere he goes, God is there. God is always present everywhere with us in all of creation because he is transcendent above it, so he is able to be everywhere in all of creation. The Psalmist then declares: “even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.” This vital truth is both scary and comforting at the same time. You cannot run or hide from God. He is always everywhere present, and yet we can know because of this, he will always be with us. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will ever be with us to guide us and hold us near to him.

Blessings,

QOTD: on Loving God and Loving others

Dorotheus of Gaza, a sixth century desert abbot, asks us to imagine a circle with God in the center and us and our neighbors around the rim. When we and our neighbors move closer to each other, the circle gets smaller so that we also move closer to God. And when we move closer to God, we move closer to our neighbors. Thus love for God and love for neighbor naturally go together. As Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets” (Matt 22:37-40).So before asking how we can perceive our neighbors, we will ask how we can perceive God. If we see something of God,, we will be able to recognize his image in our neighbors.

-From Nonna Harrison’s book God’s Many Splendored Image: Theological Anthropology for Christian Formation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), 49.

A reflection of Shultz’s Reforming Theological Anthropology

These are responses to questions listed on the discussion board for Evangelical Seminary’s course CT902: The Formation of the Human Person.

Question 1In your reading of Shults, what did you learn or notice anew about ‘relationality’? How would you characterize your overall response to using relationality as a framework for exploring the richness of what it means to be human?

The concept of theological anthropology is new to me as is the concept of relationality.  I had not engaged this issue before.  Some parts of the book were new, others were not new but I had not read them in light of relationality,  I thought Shultzs use of Kegan and Loeder was interesting because I engage their work somewhat in my chaplain residency and had awareness of the need to self differentiate and how that would affect one’s understanding of life experiences such as being admitted to the hospital.  But really how successful one is in working through relationality will depend on which “fiduciary structure” one is in. It will affect how open you are to others and to learning and growing, even having that “transforming moment.” Changing relation can be a scary thing and without good support and or fiduciary “structure,” that can be deconstructive, not re-constructive.  Clearly Shultz, despite his own deconstruction is not wanting to deconstruct his reader’s understanding of relationality but to help transform it. I suppose there was some transformation in the reading process. However, it seems for that to take place at a deep level one needs to stay in it for a time. I do admit my overall response to the book was a mix of cautious and somewhat ambivalent. I don’t think this is because I am in the traditionalist fiduciary structure per se but maybe it is. I will have to consider it further.  

Question 2Employing the framework Shultzs describes in chapter three (the dialectic between theological and psychological experiences of fear), what have you found strengthens or inhibits your own transformational learning in your doctoral work/research? How might those insights inform your preparation for teaching/presenting later in this course?

I am okay with the dialogue between theology and psychology as I feel they are very closely related. As I stated already it was interesting he used Kegan’s work to talk about how people will move forward in understanding relationality. He speaks of repression and fear as if they are blockers for growth and change, even transforming change. I think that is true that they are factors.  The growth and transformation often happen slowly and unnoticeably, until it is noticeable.  Fear can play a role in how fast that change happens.  Too much and not enough can be real issues.  

As to my own experience in this program, if there has been transformational growth it is not super obvious to me right now,  It has been stressful in my personal life with managing work and family, and kids. I think I have given in too much to the psychological fear of succeeding in this program. Will I pass the comp? WIll the dissertation even make sense. I feel my work hasn’t been the best that it can be and often I know it could be better and that upsets me and that hinders the growing experience a bit. Even though my learning environment has always been warm and supportive and encouraging, and I really do like the track focus, I almost literally physically and emotionally burned out at the end of the last term (which is what our ‘Rule of Life’ project was supposed to help us prevent – help us set rhythms in place to avoid burn out). I think I will be fine from here on out, but I do need to be more careful in this final term. I will need stoutness of heart and the courage I mentioned to have confidence and put that into the presentation and not let my fears and anxieties overrule me in the coming weeks. 

Question 3As you engaged with Shults’s proposals for reforming theological anthropology in Part III, which of them did you find most challenging, and why? How did you respond at first, and how has that response deepened or shifted for you as you continued to process the challenge? 

Here is where I am at with this – it felt like the first two parts were the long-winded way of saying, how you think of sin, and human nature and, the imago dei is wrong.  Here is a better way to look at it.  I see the value of mixing theology and modern views to discern what it is we believe, but as a biblical track student, I did recoil slightly at a few places,  I know that Shultz has since become an atheist and I felt this section show the path for how that may have happened for him. Even so, while there are modern concerns to consider in such a topic as human nature and sin, the Bible remains our final rule for faith life and practice.  I will need to consider his definition further as he says that “sinning has to be understood in the context of its relation to the general human longing for goodness” (ch 9 kindle). Lots of people long for goodness and it’s not found in God. For others it is. Yet, it seems, maybe I see it differently than he does, but in my view while humans were made good in the beginning, they became sinful. The sin lies in disobedience, and perhaps in terms of relationality, it was changing one’s relation in the wrong direction, away from God instead of towards him. 

My issue with what Shultz had presented then was, that if I disagreed with his conclusions did that mean I am not in the right fiduciary structure to be able to receive what he has to say? if I think he is wrong, is that my fear or epistemic anxiety speaking? These were some of my challenges with the book.  In the end, he had some really good things to say, and some good theological assertions I liked and thought were well worded. It’s too bad he walked away from the goodness of God.

Is God affected by our Prayers? An Open view.

IS GOD AFFECTED BY OUR PRAYERS?
by Terence E. Fretheim (2012)

When asked about their prayers, many people say that God has three answers available: Yes, No, and Wait (or some variation thereof). I invite you to consider an additional response: God has determined to answer prayers in a positive way, but God’s will to do so is being successfully resisted. This resistance may come from within ourselves (e.g., our arrogance), but it may also come from powerful factors at work in the context about which we are praying.

Some people speak with too much confidence regarding the effectiveness of prayer. I pray for a parking place, and lo! one appears around the next corner. Or, the efficacy of prayers is related to the depth of one’s faith. Really? Do you suppose that the apostle Paul did not have enough faith, and that was why his prayer to remove the thorn in his flesh failed?

Among believers, a remarkably limited sense regarding the efficacy of prayer is common. Sometimes, prayer is nothing more than a meditation that centers us or quiets us down, like a good nap! Others will extend the point: Prayer has an effect on the relationship between the one praying and God; the relationship is, say, made more mature. But all too often, change is thought to occur only on the human side of the relationship. Yet, the Bible claims that God is also affected by prayers offered. Many biblical texts claim that prayers do have an effect upon God and do shape the future (e.g., Exod 32:7-14; 2 Kings 20:1-7; Luke 18:1-8). God will take the human expression of concern with utmost seriousness, not least because God values the relationship and honors it. Somehow, the power of God is made more available in a situation because we have prayed.In such considerations, much depends on one’s image of God. For some believers, God cannot be affected by our words and God certainly cannot be persuaded by what we say. God will do what God will do — regardless of what people have to say. At the same time, prayer is sometimes so conceived that God always gets God’s way. God’s will always gets done! Or, does it?

Consider several factors. Our relationship with God is not mechanical in nature, as if our prayers triggered in God some already programmed responses. One must insist on the living, dynamic character of the relationship. Responses within any relationship — with human beings or with God — are never programmed or predictable, even between those who know each other very well. And this is even more the case in that God is God and we are not. Another factor to be taken into account is the pervasiveness of sin and evil that can get in the way of God’s responses to our prayers. For example, we pray for healing, and healing is not forthcoming. When that happens, we may end up blaming God for not answering our prayers. We so often make God the “heavy” in these matters.

In fact, however, it may have been the medicine we were (not) taking or a member of the medical community who blew it.Sometimes when we pray, we may think: all that is at work in this situation is our prayer and God. But a multitude of other factors are present in any given moment of prayer. Some of those factors may be so resistant to God’s will, that God’s will does not get done. The accumulated effects of sinfulness may be so powerful that even God’s options are limited (in view of promises made, to which God will be faithful). And God’s heart is the first heart to break, and God’s tears the first to flow. An analogy may be suggested: human sinfulness has occasioned numerous instances of the misuse of the environment. Some of that misuse (e.g., pesticides) has caused cancer in human beings and devastated animal populations. Human beings may be forgiven by God for their sin, but the effects of their sinfulness will continue to wreak havoc beyond the act of forgiveness.

We confess that in response to prayer God is at work in these effects, struggling to bring about positive results in and through human (and other) agents. It is not a question as to whether God wills good in the situation. The issue is God’s relational commitments that may entail self-limiting ways of responding to evil and its effects in the world. Anti-God factors may be powerfully present and shape the future in negative ways, even for God.To conclude, prayer is a God-given way for God’s people to make a situation more open for God, to give God more room to work, knowing that God always has our best interests at heart. Prayers do shape the future in ways different from what would have been the case had no prayers been uttered. At the same time, the people of God are not in the hands of an iron fate or a predetermined order of things. God’s will may be successfully resisted or God may be open to taking new directions in view of new times and places. Yet, never changing will be God’s steadfast love for all, God’s saving will for everyone, and God’s faithfulness to promises made.

– Terence E. Fretheim (1936-2020) taught Old Testament theology at Luther Seminary (St. Paul MN) for 45 years.

QOTD: Robert P. Menzies

From the pen of Pentecostal scholar and theologian Robert Menzies:

Pentecostals, today, likewise affirm that every Christian has been called and promised the power [of the Spirit] needed to become bold, Spirit-inspired witnesses for Jesus. The Church is nothing less than a community of end-time prophets … The Church, in “these last days,” Luke declares, is to be a community of prophets — prophets who are called to take the message of “salvation … to the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).

Read more here….

Terry Fretheim and the Renewal of Creation Theology

CREATION to ESCHATON

One of my favorite Old Testament scholars, Terence Fretheim, died yesterday (November 16, 2020).

Terry was both a wonderful person and a brilliant biblical scholar. He excelled both in detailed exegesis of the Old Testament and in his reflections on the theological and ethical meaning of of this ancient text.

The first book of his that I read was The Suffering of God: An Old Testament Perspective (1984), which was a short but profound study of how God is affected by us. Although the book focuses on the Old Testament, it helpfully laid the foundation for understanding the coherence of both Testaments, since the same God who allowed himself to be affected by humanity at the flood (God’s heart was grieved by human evil) and by Israel’s unfaithfulness (see the prophet Jeremiah), ultimately became incarnate and went to the cross for our sake.

I found some similarity…

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on the Church as a Chosen race, a Holy nation (1 Pt 2:9)

I read Minear’s book Images of the Church in the New Testament and wrote this response to the image of the church as a Chosen race, a Holy Nation:

I chose the church image of the church as “a chosen race” [35] and the church as “a holy nation” [36]. I chose to do both because I see them as connected and in some ways two sides of the same coin. Both these images are referenced in 1 Peter 2:9 which reads: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Peter uses many images for the church in this letter- these are just two. He starts out his letter “To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces….” He then proceeds through the letter to delineate characteristics of the elect and their calling, which can also be seen as the chosen. Joel Green has “elect clan” for chosen race in 1 Peter 2:9 (Green, 1 Peter Two Horizons Commentary, Kindle loc 861) This reading would fall in line with Peter’s usage. Yet elect and chosen are similar concepts.

Under the heading of “the People of God” (ch 3) Minear seeks to explicate those images in the New Testament that are analogous to conceptualizing the church as a community, the people of God (Minear, Images, ch 3, Kindle loc 1369). For Minear, the basic function here is to relate to the contemporary Christian “the historic community” they belong to “whose origin stemmed from God’s covenant promises and whose pilgrimage had been sustained by God’s call” (ibid kindle loc 1377) As it was for them, so it is for the church today.

In 1 Peter 2:9, we find a little bit of what is called “intertextuality.” This is when the author makes intertextual connections and or allusions, such as recalling past events and reinterpreting them in light of the present (a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own possession, etc). For the Jewish people in biblical times, the exodus event and the narrative that tells the story shaped Israel as the people of God well through to the time of Christ. It is the heart of the Torah and is central to their theology. After being enslaved 430 years, through the leadership of Moses, God called his people out of Egpyt and out of the land of slavery. Exodus 19:5-6 and also Isaiah 43:20-21, which recalls the exodus and Sinai events (Ex 19), are foundational Scriptures for these images. 

Three months after YHWH called Israel out of Egypt, and led them through the desert, they came to Sinai. There they spent a year getting to know YHWH and getting acclimated to being on their own in the wilderness. It was here God established his covenant with the people of Israel and essentially let them know he would be their God and they would be his people. In the ANE world it was common for a king to set up such a relationship with a group of people; to be their king and they to be his people. It was on the one hand, a standard King/vassal relationship, yet on other hand, YHWH was not like the ANE gods and sought a reciprocal relationship with his people (c.f. Walton’s ANE Thought and the OT, 2018). The terminology in Exodus 19:5-6 is common King to vassal language. What sets it apart here is that YHWH is the one true God and he is a living God (as evidenced when he told Moses he was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and stated as such by Jesus in Matt 22:32). For YHWH, Israel was his “treasured possession.” 

The term here sᵉgullâ while typically referring to private property or one’s personal possession (like precious stones or a special ring, etc), it also “was a master’s term of endearment for a beloved vassal” (c.f. S.A. Lowenstamm, “עם סגולה,” in Linguistic Studies Presented to Ze’ev Ben-Hayyim (Jerusalem, 1983), 321-328 [Hebrew]). Israel was God’s precious possession special to him and him alone. Perhaps like with the image of Israel as God’s wife, sᵉgullâ was a term of endearment. She was his precious to him and him alone.

Additionally, sᵉgullâ was a near technical term for a valued treaty partner – one who went out to represent the treaty, in this case, the covenant made with YHWH; they live by the covenant stipulations, not as a set of rules to follow, but from out of a relationship with YHWH as a light to the nations. Israel was God’s treasured possession. His chosen race, (the people he formed for himself” (Isa 43:20)), hence their function as a royal priesthood and a holy nation. They were the people of God, set apart, called out, and meant to serve him and represent him and the covenant in the world. It is highly reciprocal and participatory. Sᵉgullâ also indicates “a particular portion of one’s possessions not used for ordinary purposes but saved for a special purpose” (A. B. Ehrlich, Randglosses zur hebr. Bibel  [1908], 1:336f.). That they were his chosen people, a holy nation, his treasured possession – shows God had uniquely chosen them out of all the nations to be his own and that not for the ordinary but for a special purpose – that purpose ultimately is missional – to be a light to the nations and see his salvation to the ends of the earth! (Isa 49:6).

Moving forward to 1 Peter 2:9, Peter writes this letter to “God’s elect” – the chosen. Here Peter is including all who have been redeemed by Christ and are now “in him.” Ultimately, it was through Jesus’ redemptive act on the cross and through the resurrection, God created a people as his chosen race, his precious possession. And he reminds the reader in 1Peter 2:10, “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” A people who once were not now are. Peter has appropriated the prior terms of endearment YHWH used for Israel and applied them to all of God’s people who are now his “treasured possession,” his “chosen race,” those he set apart to be a “holy nation,” set apart “to declare the praises of him who called them out of darkness and into his marvelous light.” The people of God now constitute all who are “in Christ.” They are the chosen ones, chosen to be his “holy nation.” The interesting thing about “nation” is that it refers to “a body of persons united by kinship, culture, and common traditions, nation, people,” “τὸ ἔθνος.” This “elect clan,” these “chosen people” are no longer just the people of Israel but are now all God has chosen in Christ. They are no longer defined by ethnicity (ἔθνος – ethnos, from where we get ethnicity or nationality) but instead by their identity in Christ. They are not marked out by anything but kinship in Christ, and the common fellowship as “the people of God.” 

The church now is this very thing. The church as a whole is the “chosen people” of God – a “holy nation” – set apart “to declare his praises” among the nations. Regardless of mega, mini, or para-church – each is a segment of the whole – the people of God called to be his sᵉgullâ in their respective communities – those who represent God to the people around them in their neighborhoods, schools, employment, and so much more. So now this image should unite churches and not divide them. It should bring churches and ministries together “to proclaim the praises who called them out of darkness and into his marvelous light” and make known Christ to the world.  Together we are the people of God, his chosen people, a holy nation.

Why study the LXX?

Question: How you would answer a friend who is asking you why you are bothering to study the Septuagint? Of what value is the study of the Septuagint for a faithful Christian who is seeking to know God better? 

The Septuagint is the Bible Jesus and the Apostles read. In Christianity, we believe in the authority of the Bible as the written word of God, that words matter, and that the word of God matters. While the Bible is God’s word in human words, it is divinely inspired. The Septuagint (also LXX for 70 because tradition holds that the original portion, the Torah (or the Pentateuch) was written by 70 men -but in time it refers to the whole Old Testament) is the translation of the Hebrew and Aramaic portion of the Bible (the Old Testament) into koine Greek, the same language the New Testament is written in.  Koine Greek was the common language of the time, similar to how English is today. 

Engaging in textual criticism and the study of the Septuagint is a reflection of this concern for the authority of the word, that words matter, and that God’s word matters. Some time before Christ, a man named Aristeas wrote a “letter” detailing the account of how and why the Septuagint came to be. While in part it was to have a copy of “the Law of the Jews” in the Library at Alexandria, written in a language people could read, in time, it came to be understood as divinely inspired and on par with the Hebrew Scriptures as the word of God. It became the word of God for Greek speaking Jews and later, the early church. In time both the Hebrew text and the Septuagint were held to be the divinely inspired word of God and gives support to what have as “the Bible” today.  As an example, the Old Testament in Eastern Orthodox Bible today is based on the Septuagint. Additionally, the Septuagint gives us access to versions of the Jewish Scriptures that would have been familiar to most Christians outside Judea and that were clearly known to and used by several of the NT authors, famously the author of Hebrews (several of whose exegetical points are sustained by the LXX but not the MT, our “go to” text for the Hebrew Bible).

Study of the LXX and its history, in effect, compels us to worship. It helps us know the miracle we hold in our hands today that we call the Bible. Studying the LXX reveals the missional heart of God to adapt to cultures and situations; to keep his word, and be sure his word is in a language that can reach the whole world.  This is why we should bother studying the Septuagint and how such study helps us know and love God.