There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal. 3:28 ESV.
We all read Scripture from a personal bias. Which leads to the question, “what is yours?” Over the years in different seasons of life, we probably have read the Bible from multiple worldviews. Most of us initially read Scriptures from a 21st Century western civilization thought pattern. Eventually over time, we may start to read the Word from a Jewish Christian perspective. Then again, others may read from a feminist or humanistic platform. Than others from a denominational background. Or more prevalent today, from a combination of multiple-denominational and non-denominational teachings. The question for today though is “what is your personal bias?”
It is good to know for two reasons. One, it helps you identify different positions that your brothers and sisters in the Lord have taken; and secondly, it helps you to stay humble realizing that there is a possibility you may be in error and therefore be open to learn from others.
Today I lean heavily toward a Jesus Centered, Incarnate Triune God worldview. This is my bias. So when I read Scripture, I use this as my filter to clarify those difficult sections and gain more knowledge and understanding of who Jesus is in relationship with His Father and with humanity.
For example, take the Scripture, “Greet one another with a holy kiss (Rom.16:16).” Depending on one’s view, a different understanding will arise on what a holy kiss looks like. Some of our Arminian friends may explain it as a righteous kiss since they associate holiness with righteousness. Again, our humanistic or feminist sister may view a holy kiss as one with passion or maybe one that shows respect toward others. Then again, some of our denominational buddies would say it is a command and should be done today. Others agree but establish other norms such as no kissing between the sexes. Some say it was a custom of Biblical times but in the western civilization of the 21st century we may shake hands or hug to show the same love and respect the holy kiss is meant to portray.
No matter one’s preference, one still needs to understand the culture of the time period being covered to determine the application for today’s Believer. Some principles are eternal and others are for specific events and times. The kiss is still the cultural norm in the middle-eastern countries today where men and women greet one another with a kiss on both cheeks. However in America, we typically hug or shake hands depending on how well we know the other party. So no matter what your preference, the principle is to extend a Godly greeting to the other. Since God is holy and holiness is a combination of love, joy, kindness, gentleness, and self-control (among a multitude of other positive attributes), the holy kiss of the 1st century is still a holy greeting in the 21st century. The attitude and heart of the greeting is the measuring stick; not the mechanical means employed.
So what does this all mean? Simply know your bias and recognize the bias of others when you read and employ the Scripture in everyday life.
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