Ephesians 4:8-11 has been a challenging text for interpreters, probably since Paul first wrote this epistle.
The study of ancient culture can be very enlightening and beneficial for students of the Bible. We can define the cultural hermeneutic as the use of ancient culture to help in our understanding and interpreting of Scripture. While the tool of culture is helpful and valuable, it can be used in a negative and destructive way.
Jesus’ most famous sermon, recorded in Matthew chapters five through seven, is often quoted. However, there is much diversity among its various interpretations. The reasons for this variety are many and complex. Still, I believe that a better grasp of the historical background of the Sermon can help us to sift through the different approaches to its interpretation.
Jerome, translator of the Latin Vulgate, called the Holy Land pilgrimage “the Fifth Gospel.” It is read as you walk the Land. Without doubt, a journey to the Land of the Bible is one of the most significant experience of a Christian’s life.
The Hebrew word translated “teach” is the verb shanan which means “say again” or “repeat.” Moses is telling the parents of the Israelite children that they need to “repeat” the words of the Torah in many different contexts and situations—when sitting, when walking, when lying down and when rising up. What I learned from this text is that repetition with variety is the key to learning. In other words, people will learn best when their lessons are repeated.