So, You Need an Education to Understand the Bible? How Dare You Say Such a Thing

by Max Andrews

I recently shared a previous post of mine in which I discuss my response to the atheist objection that God is a moral monster on Facebook.  Referring to my comment that understanding the Levitical law requires an advanced knowledge of hermeneutics an agnostic/atheist responded:

Are you saying that a person can’t judge morality without some fancy education?

No, this is not what I’m saying at all.  My point is that you don’t learn the hermeneutical approach to understanding the laws and commands in the Old Testament in a first year hermeneutics class.  However, if one wants to have a deep knowledge of the material one does need an education on it.  This doesn’t mean you have to get a degree in it but you do need to be well read on hermeneutics.  Somehow Christians and non-Christians have a stigma suggesting that it’s offensive if a certain degree of knowledge is required to understand something.  How is this offensive? Surely, the Bible can be understood without a degree in theology or biblical studies but to understand it with depth you will have to read and learn.  We do we demand such simplicity?  If a cosmologist says that I need an advanced knowledge of relativity theory and quantum theory to understand the early models of our universe should I be offended? No. There are certain antecedent conditions that must be met in order to really understand something with meaningful depth.  It’s the process of learning and getting an education.

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2 Comments to “So, You Need an Education to Understand the Bible? How Dare You Say Such a Thing”

  1. Exactly. We wont buy into the fallacy that states “unless you’re an expert with upper level degrees in a field you can’t know anything about the subject”, however, to argue that your opinion is equally valid on hermeneutics (only 10 minutes after figuring out the word hermeneutics refers to Bible interpretation) as say someone with a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies, is absurd. Degree doesn’t equal infallible, but it does suggest a greater understanding of a given area of study.

  2. The more important thing is to continue learning. Fascinating that the greek word for disciple (mathetheos) implies “learning in order to be able to teach”. These are the times that I regret not having dedicated much more effort to learning earlier in my walk. But then again, in the early 80’s, we didn’t have this kind of access to information that we do now. Thank you for teaching the stuff that we don’t study as intently. My passion is for historical Christianity and the philosophy behind it, and I would rather read your posts on quantum theory from a Christian worldview than study it as intensively.

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