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Monday, March 22, 2010

Pursuing Ad Fontes: an Example

One of my professors, Jay Sklar, begins every class with the following mantra:
Jay: "Shalom, class."
Class: "Shalom, Jay."
Jay: "Start with the Bible."
Class: "Not with the commentaries."
Jay: "Context..."
Class: "is king."
Apparently this call/response is Tivoed into my brain because it came to the tip of my tongue as I left the library this afternoon.  I have an upcoming exegetical paper on Deuteronomy 28, and I am genuinely excited about studying the passage.  However, if I am honest, walking out of the library with an arm full of Deuteronomy commentaries made me eager to read what these commentators have to say regarding the passage.  How easy it is for me to first gravitate towards what other scholars and pastors have said about God's Word!

Growing in our relationship with God and developing the scope of our theology must be done in community, and this involves what other scholars and pastors have gleaned from their studies.  To be sure, we are surrounded by a wondrous cloud of witnesses!  But, may we look to the One who their fingers point to, rather than to the one who is pointing––the validity of their witness properly corresponds to the One who they bear witness to.

Therefore, let's first start with our Bibles.  My prayer is to recall this mantra for the rest of my life.


  1. Does he not make you say, "It would be good to take a Greek or Hebrew reading class"?

  2. "It would be taken an independent Hebrew reading course." he said that in Hebrew in Exegesis. He hasn't yet for Pentateuch.

  3. Hmmm, that's kinda like me today...
    Sergeant Airborne: Who do you want to be!?
    Sergeant Airborne: Who do you really want to be!?
    Sergeant Airborne: Who are you now!?
    Us: (look down, bashfully mumble something and ruffle your foot on the ground)