My Thoughts. . .

Monday, January 28, 2019

An English professor wrote the following on the chalkboard and asked the students to punctuate it correctly.

“A woman without her man is nothing.”  The male students wrote: “A woman, without her man, is nothing.”  All the females wrote: “A woman: without her, man is nothing.”  Punctuation is powerful.

All three sentences are grammatically correct.  Punctuation is not only powerful, but important in expressing a specific point.  In the above sentences, despite each having the same words, three different ideas are developed.  Not only are they different, but in the class, there were two opposing views.  Each expressed a truth formulated by the group it came from.

When a Hebrew boy reached the age to pass from youth into manhood, most of his early training was in the scriptures (2 Timothy 3:15).  This training was the responsibility of the parents (Exodus 12:24-28; Proverbs 22:6).  To become a man, a boy was required to read a passage from the scriptures that was assigned to him.  It had to be read correctly.  Keep in mind that scripture was written on material without margins, without spacing between words, and without the vowels in those words!  He was not only required to read the text, but to punctuate it without that grammatical assistance.

When Jesus rebukes the Sadducees with, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures,” some may think their knowledge of the Bible was as deplorable as “Archie Bunker’s” who attempted to quote scripture in the show, “All in the Family” (Matthew 22:29).   The knowledge of the Sadducees far outstripped Archie’s!

If fifty members of today’s church were in a contest to see if they could quote more scripture than a 20-year-old Sadducee, one might think that young man was at a noted disadvantage.  If the fifty were required to quote only one new verse each time until the group could not say another, but the young Sadducee had to quote ten verses for each of the fifty’s one, he would still be quoting long after their knowledge had dried up!  The Sadducees facing Jesus were not stupid nor ignorant.  They were as well versed in scripture as the Pharisees or any male Jew.  As boys, they received the same training as Jesus did!  They, like the Pharisees, had a problem of not staying within the context of what they knew.  Satan made the same mistake (Matthew 4:5-6).  Do we follow the lead of the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Satan?  Do we quote scripture but miss the context?  Do we fail in the art of punctuation?  Do we read into a passage what is not there?  Do we quote a passage correctly, but mentally add to or subtract from it to harmonize with our faith?  Is our understanding of scripture hampered because what we believe is based more on our culture and tradition than in what God stated?  Do the divisions of Catholicism and Protestantism, along with the divisions in jour fellowship support such an explanation?  Shouldn’t those facts drive us into the scriptures to discover why we are divided?  Division is neither approved nor helpful.  Corinth tried it and wallowed in the problems it created (1 Corinthians 1-16).

How do you punctuate the following passage in 1 Peter 3:21?  Don’t cheat by looking in the Bible!

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us not the putting away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”?

Here is how some punctuate that passage.  What did Peter write?

  1. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.
  2. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us not.”
  3. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us not the putting away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God.

All three quotes are out of context.  All three leave out “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”  All three are in error!

When Jesus is removed from what we quote, what is left?  Who are we mimicking?  The Sadducees?  The Pharisees?  Or, Satan?