- What color is a football?
- What is your favorite type of chip?
- What is the picture on the right?
If you live in America, you might have said brown, BBQ, and quite obviously, a cookie. However…
…If you live in England, your answers are completely different. A football is black and white because it’s what we call a soccer ball. A chip is what we call a french fry. And that picture? It is inarguably a biscuit.
The Bible was written in a different time and civilization. When we read scripture through modern eyes, we miss the culture it was written in. We end up kicking a football rather than a soccer ball.
For instance, the first word in the Hebrew Bible translates to “In the Beginning”. To make that really have an impact, I have heard American ministers go to the fourth English word and preach riveting sermons about “In the beginning, GOD…”.
But folks, to play Name That Tune, ancient Hebrew can preach a riveting sermon in THREE translated words.
The first word of the Bible in Hebrew is pronounced Brasheet. The first letter of that word is Beit, equal to our letter B. In ancient pictographic Hebrew it symbolized a dwelling on a hill.
In short, it’s a house. And the picture/symbol it is illustrating is that all of scripture is flowing out of a home. That’s the cool thing about pictographic languages. The words create pictures for the readers as well as have their meanings. The closest thing we have to this in English is thinking about the Fonz when we hear the letter “Aaaeeyyy”.
But the house cool factor doesn’t stop there. Who lives there? The answer is in the word itself. The second letter is the resh. When beit and resh are alone together, they form the word son.
And the third letter is the letter aleph, which signifies God the Father.
So, out of the house comes the Son of God. It is a picture of the living word of God giving us the written word of God. The Hebrew people got this, but we miss it unless we view the scriptures as they did.
It is a subtle nuance of God caring for us. It shows warmth, and relationship. It’s not that we don’t get the Bible. But when we see it in the culture it was written, it connects simply with us on a deeper level.