Greek versus Hebrew mindset


After King James had authorized the English translation of the Bible a contra-movement started which was called the ‘Enlightenment’. With a strong emphasis on intellectualism, human reasoning became more important than the simplicity of the pure faith and trust in God.

The Greek mindset

In the 19th century the general mindset of the people in Europe changed. Influenced by the philosophical and humanistic movements, the intellectual community started to look critically at the foundational concepts, like the reliability of the Bible. This resulted in the evolution theory of Darwin that changed the view of the general public about how they could trust the origin of creations as it was written in Genesis.

The result was that even the Scriptures were not seen as the infallible Word of God and had to be critically investigated. The critical investigation of the original manuscripts is the foundation of nearly all modern translations we currently use. Scientifically correct reasoning has proven to be more important than the faith to accept the divine inspiration of the Bible and our experiences. The credo has become: “If I do not understand it cannot be true”. This line of reasoning resulted in making our intellect to be our god. So most of us are not aware that this Biblical exegesis is based on Greek thinking, where reason precedes faith. What are the characteristics of this Greek mindset?

Aspects of the Greek mindset

  • Greek thinking is based on the explanation of the form.
  • To hear and to know is the source of insight
  • Practical faith is based on orthodoxy: doctrine is essential.
  • Greek thinking is linear: 1+2+3=6
  • Mankind reigns over nature by understanding it and applying it scientifically.
  • Faith is based on blind trust without relationship.
  • The universe is evolved coincidentally.
  • Everything exists of matter which can be touched by hands.
  • Everything exists coincidentally, cause and effect form a restriction.
  • There is division between the natural and supernatural.

The Hebrew mindset

Like Paul already stated, there are two main streams that are opposing each other: the Jew versus the Greek. The Jewish people have, as no other group, a firm relationship with the living God. They are His chosen people and they are entrusted with the mysteries of God. They are assigned by God to bring salvation for all of mankind. We can learn so much from there passion to study the Scriptures. They have doing that for 5000 years, we barely study it 200 years! So how is the Hebrew exegesis different from the Greek way?

Aspects of the Hebrew mindset

  • Hebrew thinking is based on the explanation of the function.
  • To see and to experience is the source of insight.
  • Practical faith is based on orthoproxy: doing is essential.
  • Hebrew thinking is circular: 1+2+3=6=3+2+1
  • Mankind is set to reign over everything, the relationship with God defines the result.
  • Believing God is based on knowing God.
  • Strong spiritual entities exist inside creation.
  • God is the source and the essence of creation, everything is possible.
  • The natural dimension mirrors and is a shadow of the heavenly dimension.

We as Western Christians have the opportunity to change our mind, to learn to think differently. Do we worship reason more than the creator of reasoning? Do we accept that the Creator of logic, can act illogically because He is not bound by its restrictions? Only when we have an open mind and an open heart are we able to experience the richness of our Creator and Lord.