This is the last part in the 3-part series on Hebraic Thought. In Proverbs 23:7a, Solomon wrote, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” The way that we think affects how we view the world and the Bible. This in turn influences how we live. In this last part, we are going to view form versus function.
Thought Pattern #3 that must be transformed: Form versus Function
The last thought pattern that we need to change is form versus function. In the Greek world, things were viewed by their form or by their appearance. This is why the statues of Greek heroes such as Alexander the Great look so detailed. Every single muscle is chiseled into the statue. We know that he did not look that way, but again, this is a focus on form. As Western believers, we agonize over the smallest details of things. We want things to look just perfect.
In the Hebraic world, things are viewed from the stand point of function. In other words – “Does it work?”. If it works, it is usable. In the Bible, we see God use people who were quite ordinary or even less than ordinary. They often had big problems! Gideon was considered the least important person in his family, and he was from the weakest tribe in Israel (Judges 6:15). God chose him to lead the Israelites to victory! Moses and Jeremiah could not speak very well. They were each chosen to be the spokesperson in their respective time periods! By outward form, these individuals were the very least – but when it came to function, they were people who would get the job done.
So, the Greeks might argue for hours about what makes a chair a chair, but the Hebraic mindset is that a chair is something you can sit on. The appearance alone is insufficient; the function of something determines its use.
There is nothing wrong to have something beautiful and orderly, for in God is found order. God told Adam and Eve to dress and keep the Garden of Eden. Form has its place in our lives. At the same time, form can destroy our faith.
The issue of Form versus Function often affects our worship. Too many times when we worship, we want to look a certain way. Were our movements perfect? Did we look dignified? You can look flawless worshipping God and never really worship Him. Your form can look great, but you can still miss the point. The Pharisees looked great outwardly, but inwardly they were full of dead men’s bones (Matthew 23:27)! The Greek mindset had severely influenced the people in Judea by the time of Christ!
Consider David. He worshipped God with all of his heart and even cast some of his clothing off of his body (2 Sam. 6:12-16). It did not look pretty. In fact, one of his wives scolded him for the way it looked. To God, David’s worship was beautiful and moved His heart. David is called a man after God’s own heart.
Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:5, we can be a people “…having a form of godliness but denying its power”. We are so focused on form; we miss the function of God’s Kingdom to manifest power. That power often manifests in ways that we do not expect or consider!
To really connect to our Hebrew roots, we must change our actions. We can put a tallit on, blow a shofar, and show up to church on Shabbat and still be mixed up in our doctrine and lives. We can flow in the gifts of the Spirit, but fail to see the Spirit at work in other ways. We must move from evolutionary thinking to cyclical thinking. We must start viewing God from His perspective so that we do not skew His character to other people. When our thinking changes, then our views of the Bible will change, and our lives will conform to His Word.
I hope you all have enjoyed this tremendous 3 part series!