I have a lot of questions about Judges. Most of them need further looking into, the consulting of experts I have not yet had time to pursue. I have much to think about.
I guess I’m not alone. It seems to me that there’s a lot here to inspire questions. I hope anyone reading this book will have a least a couple. The first question is, what do you do when you encounter those questions?
Do you seek out translation experts and historians? Do you look for podcasts or articles on the passages or themes in question? Do you approach your pastor?
Or do you take issue with the confusing bits and decide that it’s either over your head or ‘problematic?’
Because I agree that it’s problematic, but not in the modern cultural usage. I agree that it’s problematic in that it presents a problem. It’s puzzling. It’s challenging. And yes, some of it is downright mysterious.
Worse than that: I believe that there’s elements that can only be theorized. I honestly believe that there are questions we absolutely cannot claim to KNOW. Language and understanding of language alters over time. Historical records get lost. Translation is tricky between two contemporary languages under the best circumstances.
I want to reiterate my belief that puzzling content does not weaken scriptural authority. Recognizing translation weaknesses does not imply a lack of confidence in the modern Bible. Calling into consideration the historical cultural context does not call into question the message being communicated.
I want to reiterate my belief that it is the narrative that is important, the message being conveyed. How do the individual accounts contribute to the narrative? How does each passage inform the message?
Yes. Details matter.
Yes. Historical cultural context is vital to understanding the structure and therefore implications of a passage.
Yes. The Bible is divinely inspired.
Yes. Translation is biased.
Yes. Mistakes in interpretation can be made, and sometimes held for generations or even centuries.
Yes. I believe all of these things are true.
I believe in the authority of scripture AND the importance of constantly examining, studying, and reconsidering our understanding of it.
For the space I’ve allotted myself for these reflections, that’s all I have to say about these chapters.