Hebrew Bible Personal Reflection

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My religious background began in the Church of God in Christ also known as C.O.G.I.C. whereas the Old Testament was the primary teachings that shaped my life’s values and forms. Upon publicly stating that I believed in Jesus Christ and that He died for my sins, I was baptized and thereafter considered “saved and sanctified.” The basis of my knowledge the New Testament derived mainly on the importance of my belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God; he died for our sins and is our risen Savior. As such the Old Testament was the letter of the law, and if I did not live up to its teachings I was a sinner and God would punish me. Therefore my lens of the world was black and white, if one did not follow it verbatim then God would surely deal with them, thus it became fire and brimstone to me. For example, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was commonly preached to illustrate the punishment that would happen if you was disobedient and committed sin. At this point, I must pause to address the common teaching in today’s society regarding the story of Sodom and Gomorrah primarily used to validate the “sin” of homosexuality. In fact, I cannot recall ever being taught from that stance; it was briefly mentioned that men slept with men or same sex relationships. However, as stated above, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was used to point out the Lord used fire to destroy the city for committing a vast number of sins. Moreover, the Bible was strict, an open and shut case—either good or bad. Either you were going to heaven and live with God, or hell with the devil, constantly burning. In this narrow-minded perception of the world, I viewed anyone who lived differently as a sinner. If a woman dressed in a way as to expose any flesh she was considered, as being a “loose” woman and was not saved. Also the Bible was the only source of reading, with the exception of schoolbooks, and you should carry it everywhere because it was your sword and protected you from the world. Because of this belief I grew up afraid, trying desperately to live exactly as the Old Testament instructed so that I had the assurance that God would be pleased and therefore I would go to heaven when I died. My adult years are the time period at which I learned that the Old Testament was also known as the Hebrew Bible. With this knowledge I came to understand scripture and thus derive at my own interpretation. Therein I got a more in-depth view learned the Hebrew Bible is the history of God’s history and his creation of the world. How he interacted with all people (Jews and Christians), even though his son Jesus would be a Jew. The Hebrew Bible also tells that the Jewish country was the beginning of the inhabitants and how God selected Israel to be his chosen people. It was then that I discovered God was, in fact, a forgiving God. There is written numerous accounts whereas God’s chosen people strayed, committed sin and disobeyed his Word; after repentance; they was forgiven. Furthermore The Hebrew Bible also tells of the prophecies of the birth of Jesus Christ that would be fulfilled in the New Testament. The prophet Micah foretells the story of the Messiah being born in Bethlehem (5:1-2). In the New Testatment, the Gospel according to Matthew tells the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlelem (2:1-6); thus fulfilling Micah’s earlier prophecy. However, I came to further understand the Hebrew Bible because it gave me another viewpoint that prompted the birth of Jesus that in my opinion was connected to societal ills. Which is evident in the historical account of Israelites social structure is the fact that it depicted inequalities of racism, classism and sexism. Here is a few examples of how the Israelites used their interpretation of scripture to defend their belief-system: 1) instruction to only marry amongst themselves to eliminate the possibility of having mixed children to ensure purity (racism); 2) Rome was notorious for their hierarchical and...
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