I receive a number of devotional emails every day. I try to read through each of them, in addition to my standard time of prayer and Bible reading that I endeavor to accomplish each day. One of the devotional emails that I receive is from Ephesians Four Ministries and is entitled, “Prime Time with God.”
I particularly enjoyed today’s devotional content. I am currently involved in an in depth study of Church History for one of my seminary classes and have read extensively about the differences between the Hebraic thought and the Greek, or Hellenist, thought. Here’s the text of today’s devotional from Ephesians Four Ministries:
Greek versus Hebraic
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman
“I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim. I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and make you like a warrior’s sword” (Zech 9:13). In the early church there was an emphasis on developing a heart toward God. This was the Hebraic way. The scriptures were not accessible like they are for us. So, the relationship with God was the key focus. God related to his people on a personal and intimate level. And obedience was the key to a healthy relationship with God. Decisions were not made based on reason and analysis, but by obedience. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10).
This is why many of the miracles performed in the Bible went against natural reason, (i.e. feeding five thousand, crossing the Red Sea, retrieving a coin from a fish’s mouth, walking around Jericho to win a battle, etc.) God constantly wanted to check the leader’s obedience, not his knowledge. Knowledge and reason came into the early Church with the Greek scholars in subsequent centuries. This is when the church began to affirm oratory skills among Church leaders. Gradually, over many centuries the focus on knowledge and reason has become more accepted in the Church.
Loss of intimacy with God has been the fallout as a result of the influence of the Greek spirit. The primary focus has been teaching and discipleship instead of the development of a personal and intimate relationship with God. This has resulted in a form of religion, but one without power.
In the early church, the rabbi was there primarily for quality control, not as the primary teacher and speaker. He did not even address the people from an elevated platform. The whole congregation was in a more circular format, each sharing what they believed God was saying. The focus was on the power of God working through each individual, not one individual (1 Cor. 14:26).
Is your focus on gaining more knowledge or growing in intimacy and power with Jesus? He desires to know you intimately.