Hebrew Mind vs. Greek Mind
by Brad Scott
Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Messiah Yeshua'
What kind of mind do you suppose Yeshua' had? This will be the central focus of this class. We are going to search the Book of Life to determine the great gulf fixed between the ways of the nations and the ways of YHVH. We will learn some Greek history as well as Hebrew history. I hope to show two different paths, two separate and distinct ways, of looking at life and the world around us, and how this directly influences how we look at Scripture.
There are a few things that need to be explained before we begin.
1. I will use the King James version of the Scriptures for all quotations. This is not because I believe that this translation is any more accurate than others. It is simply because most reference material is still keyed to this translation. It makes it easier to trace the etymology of words, which we will do often.
2. Most of what you will read will be in English, however some words will be in Hebrew. Special words or phrases that are part of the lesson will be transliterated or translated in the text. Names of books would be a good example. I will always use Yeshua' instead of Jesus, Sha'ul instead of Paul, Yochanan instead of John, for example. Why? Because it is the Hebrew that best represents what YHVH's intention was, not because we like to toss around some sort of highbrow priestcraft. Besides, that is what their name is!!
3. I will not give a test at the end of every lesson. More than likely, it will be every 3 or 4 lessons. Tests will be in essay type or form. I want to know that you have grasped the material and it's meaning, and that it is part of your thinking process as well. I want to know that you understand the material.
One of the most popular books of the last ten years is entitled, "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". It is popular because it reveals much about ourselves. In a very simple, realistic way this book shows us how different the genders are. There is a vast difference in the way men and women view the same set of circumstances, and how different our conclusions are, as well. It also teaches how those differences can be accepted and used to benefit a marriage relationship. But, as you are reading this book, you can begin to see how different the two thinking processes are. The focus of this course is much the same. Eastern thinking is not like Western thinking. The major difference between this and the gender gap is that no where in Scripture does YHVH ever desire to unite His ways with the ways of the nations. There is no way that Hebrew thinking can ever be united or combined with Greek thinking.
What are we talking about when we say Hebrew thinking or Greek thinking? Let us begin by talking about thoughts and words. Another way of describing thoughts is meaning. What is meaning? With very strict observation, you will find that in practice we use the term in two principal ways: if someone asks me the meaning of a word in another language, I give him a word in his language which best expresses the same thing as that word. You may observe that we never, therefore, know the meaning directly, but only through a symbol - a word or linguistic expression. Hence, I have no way of knowing your meaning except by the language you use to express it. I cannot possibly tell what you mean except by what you say. In other words, I, as opposed to YHVH, cannot read your mind. Being human, I am relegated to understanding thoughts and intentions by the symbols used to represent that thought or intention. That is really all that language is. When I want to express a thought I arrange letters in a certain way to form words, which also, when placed in a certain order, reveal my thoughts. Different languages use a different combination of letters and symbols to express thought. This is precisely what this course is about. We will be concerned with language or expressions that reveal thoughts about marriage, children, government, education, the nature of man, the nature of YHVH, what is right or wrong, good or bad, holy or unholy. We will see how very different the Western world views these subjects from the world in which the Scriptures was written.
FROM THE BEGINNING
From the start we see that 'Elohiym separated. In the beginning He separates mass from spirit, visible from invisible. He then goes on to separate night from day, light from darkness, waters from waters, earth from seas, the greater light from the lesser light, beasts from humans, man from woman. In Bere'shiyt 2:9 He places two different and distinct trees in the garden. In Bere'shiyt 3:24 He separates man from Himself. He goes on to make a clear distinction between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. He puts a difference between Abel's offering and Cain's offering. He removes Noach's family from the rest of the world. He drives Avraham away from Ur of the Chaldees and the worship practices of his father, Terah. In Bere'shiyt 17:11 He separates Avraham from his foreskin. In the books of Shemot (Exodus) and Vayiqera (Leviticus), He reveals what is clean and what is unclean, holy and unholy. In Shemot 11:7, He makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. In Shemot 19:5 He separates Israel from the rest of the nations, commanding them to obey Him that they might be a peculiar treasure unto Him. The Tehillot (Psalms) reveal the vast difference between Yah's ways and the ways of the nations.
Bere'shiyt (Genesis) 1:1In the beginning 'Elohiym created the heavens and the earth...
In the Tanakh we see YHVH giving His instructions for life to Israel and warning them not to mix with the nations. Why? Was it the people themselves that were unclean or was it their customs, their ways, their worship, and their practices? In the Tanakh we find the contrast between YHVH's people and the nations or gentiles. In the New Testament we find the general term Greek used to represent ways contrary to Scripture. Many times, this is seen in the word the world (Yochanan (John) 1:10, Acts 17:6, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 2:2). This is because at this time the world outside of Jerusalem was still influenced by Alexander the Great's brilliant psychological tactics, not to mention his military genius. The Scriptures of the New Testament draw this contrast several times.
Romans 1:16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Ma'asey hashsheliyechiym (Acts) 14:1... both of the Jews and also of the Greeks, believed.
1Corinthians 1:22, 24For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom. 24 But unto them who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Acts 19:10And this continued for the space of two years; so that all they who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Adonai Yeshua', both Jews and Greeks.
When we add these accounts to the several occasions in which Sha'ul reminds us that in the body of Yeshua' there is no difference between Jew and Greek, we begin to see that there was a difference. This is the very reason why Sha'ul had to teach us that there is now no difference. This will become much clearer in later lessons. Sha'ul's letters are specifically aimed at other than Semitic nations i.e., the Greeks. I might remind you that I am not referring to the country of Greece and it's inhabitants, but rather the Greeks as they represent western culture. In the same way that Babylon is symbolic of all false religion and pagan practices. The Greek or Hellenistic culture was dominating the uttermost parts of the earth at the time the New Testament was penned.
The following is a brief outline of what this course will cover.
- Introduction and Glossary
- An outline of the history of Hellenism A. Homer and his writings
- Homer and his writings
- The campaigns of Alexander the Great
- The Rise of Greek Philosophy 1.Socrates, Plato and Aristotle
- The Clash of Two Cultures
- Hebrew thought versus Greek thought
- The nature of YHVH
- communicating with YHVH
- The nature of man
- gender roles
- fathers and mothers
- our souls and our bodies
- what is life?
- The nature of YHVH
- Hebrew thought versus Greek thought
- How this affects our reading of the New Testament