I’ve never really enjoyed the book of Esther. I’m not exactly sure why that is. Maybe it’s because I haven’t heard any teaching on it outside of children’s Sunday school. My daughter suggested that it’s because of the Veggie Tale version (Warning to all parents: Apparently the tickle torture in it creates lifelong nightmares in some children). The bottom line is that I’ve just never “gotten” it . . . until this week.
While the exegetical and theological practices of the Church Fathers differ in many ways from that of moderns, it must be remembered that the inspired word of God was still the core of their teaching. Their writings and preaching evidence a desire to both explain the text in the context of the Church, and to demonstrate how the theology of the Church informs how one reads Scripture.
I know the reality of ministry and the number of directions one gets pulled, but considering all of the time, energy, and money spent to learn Greek, I am determined to retain what I’ve learned.
Approaching these texts from an oral perspective honors the oral nature of the society from which the gospels emerged. They were written at a time when fewer and fewer eyewitnesses were alive to validate the oral traditions of the gospel accounts. The gospels represent the solidification of these traditions into a written form, preserving the accounts for future generations.
As a legacy of the Soviet Union, many Central Asian Muslim peoples spoke and read Russian as their first language. If you gave them Scripture in their national language, they would accept it, but they couldn’t read it. But if you offered the Bible in Russian, which they could read, they would refuse it, because in the popular mind, the “Bibliya” is a Holy Book only for Russian people. How could we reach this Russian-speaking Muslim population, estimated at over 26 million people?