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June 27, 2012

Words

Words are very important.  The written word is a string of characters put together in a certain way to convey meaning.  Spoken word is a string of sounds put together to convey meaning.  This ability to convey meaning through words that we have is unique in creation to the human race.  Words give life to ideas.  They have the power to create and to destroy.  Relationships can be built up by them, or torn apart.  Unfortunately, the ideas expressed by words, and words themselves, can convey different meanings to different people.  With this in mind, we need to be careful and consider the words we express.  When speaking or writing, we need to consider our audience.  We need to consider their demographic features, their culture, their experience.  When we don't, we risk conveying an idea to them that is different than the one we intended.  This is something that I especially need to take extra special care about heading into the ministry.  Not everyone perceives like I do because not everyone has the same experience, thoughts, and beliefs as I do.  This is a hard lesson.  I pray that I will be able to take into consideration my words and how they could be interpreted before I write or speak them so I will never tear down when I intend to build up, destroy when I intended to create, or be misunderstood in any other way.

June 26, 2012

Greek....*sigh*

Greek is finally getting more complex.  A lot of my brothers in my class are sharing the same sentiment: frustration.  If you could pray for my class, that our minds would be open and that God would grant us both patience and knowledge of Greek as we study every day.  Thank you.

June 24, 2012

First Bible Study

I led my first Bible study today at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church.  It was a little rough, but everyone was friendly, just as they have been since I first time I attended.  Except, now people are learning who I am.  I have just entered the line of seminarians who have completed or are doing their field work at Mount Calvary.  What touched me today was how fondly they spoke of their previous seminarians and how much they already are missing them.  This is a community that fully embraces those that they commune with.  It made me happy that not only recently had my beloved friend and pastor Will Hanke accept a call there, but now that I was there too being introduced to the community and have already begun my adventure with them.  I feel blessed to be there, and I know I will be challenged and stretched within a loving and fostering community.  I'm going to try to take in everything I can these next couple years with this congregation and I know I will be better for it.

June 22, 2012

      Critics of the Bible tend to site it's inconsistency in the fact that there are numerous variations between manuscripts.  They preach that this inconsistency shows that the Bible was not written by God, arguing that if it had come from God, a single source, then there would not be these variances and all manuscripts would agree with each other.  What these critics fail to inform their audiences is that Greek, the language in which the New Testament was written, is an inflected language.  This means that the meaning of a Greek sentence is not affected by its word order, unlike English.
      In other words, if you flip around the nouns in the sentence "Christ died for us", it would alter the meaning entirely.  Knowing who is doing the act of dyeing and who it is being done for depends solely on word order.  This is not so in Greek.  Greek places endings on words that show it's role in the sentence.  This gives Greek word order flexibility that English does not have.  For example, the sentence, "The disciple proclaims the Gospel." can be translated in many ways.  It can be translated as: ὀ μαθητὴς  κηρύσσει τὸ εὐαγγὲλιον.  But it can also be translated as: τὸ εὐαγγὲλιον ὀ μαθητὴς  κηρύσσει.
      In other words, you can flip around words in a sentence without altering the meaning at all.  This ability of Greek accounts for most of the variations among the manuscripts.  And most of these variations are not an entire alteration of word order.  Usually they are like two words in a sentence that are flipped.  So in reality, an overwhelming majority of the variances in the manuscripts that critics use to discredit the Bible are variances that in no way effect the meaning of the texts.  Thus, despite these variances, there is still coherence between the manuscripts and it in no way discredits the Bible.
      It's just amazing what people will pick out to try to discredit Christianity and the Bible.  Especially when they don't clarify what they are talking about becuase if they did they know that their argument doesn't hold water.  So the next time someone tells you about the variances among the manuscripts among the Bible indicating it isn't coherent, you can ask them if they have any idea what those variances are and if they know Greek at all.  The things you already learn just by learning the language is amazing.  If you ever want to see what I'm talking about, you can get the Novum Testamentum Graece (The Greek new testament we are using for class) and at the bottoms of the page it lists the variances between what they have in the texts and what other manuscripts say and which manuscripts say it.  If you can make it out, you'll see what I'm saying.  I can't wait to learn more myself!

June 19, 2012

Perseverance

Perseverancesteady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.


This is much easier said than done. As I continue to search for work in the St. Louis area, I've heard many reasons of why I cannot be hired at this point in time and met very few people excited about my potential as an employee. I know that God has a career in store for me. The only question I have is when might that be? Patience, as well as perseverance, is becoming difficult.


On a separate note, Timothy and I have partnered in prayer with the YouthWorks site staff in St. Paul, MN (where I served last summer). They have just begun their second week of programming and their first week completely solo. Today marks halfway through their second week. Serving with YouthWorks is extremely rewarding but also very stressful, as you work around 130 hours each week with a little over a day to recharge before repeating the mission week again. As you continue to join us in prayer, keep this mission team (and the 70 other teams throughout the country) in your prayers as they touch the lives of over 400 youth this summer.

Marie

June 17, 2012

Week 1


      My first week of classes is finally over.  It has been one of excitement as I begin to learn the language in which our Lord's testament was written.  There will be many beneficial reasons for learning the Greek, as I already have been shown some in my first week.  There are a lot of nuances in the Greek language that don't quite make it into the English that add depth to the texts.  At the end of the week, we already are able to read out loud from out Greek New Testaments.  We have learned how to conjugate verbs in the present indicative, and have some vocabulary words to memorize over the weekend.
      Aside from class, I have already begun to make friends with my classmates.  I gathered contact information from all of them and compiled a list to share with the class.  Because of that, today we are already having our first class social event.  We are going to Schlafly Bottleworks to tour the brewery and have lunch.  Getting a taste for the rest of the culture at the seminary has also been pretty exciting.  It's a place I know that not only will my faith be challenged, but I will grow immensely and make great friendships, as I already have started doing.
      Please pray that Marie and I continue to meet new people and develop relationships with them.  Also, that through the course of the seminary that our faiths are built up strong as we press into Christ to know Him more.  Finally, that I will be able to persist in learning Greek so that I will be able to open up the New Testament not only for myself but so I can take those around me deeper into the Word of our Lord.  Thank you!

-Timothy