The Bible and Culture
Culture is at the heart of who we are. We interact and react to the world based on the culture we have developed. When encountering cultures different from our own there is an almost automatic judgment. We quickly find differences and disparities and judge that culture against our own; often sitting in judgment of the other culture’s ways of operating, not even entertain the idea that our way may not be optimal. We as humans are quick to set ourselves and our ways (our culture) above others. We find small, often insignificant, ways in which we differ from those around us. We use our differences to make ourselves feel special. All of these things become even truer when the culture is based on religiosity. We separate ourselves into such different categories that, while just living, we encounter different cultures throughout each day. The question is, how do we respond to different cultures in a Biblical way? I really like the cultural aspects depicted in Acts. Not only do we get to see different cultures with in a racial group, we get to see cultural tensions between ethnic groups and most interestingly, we get to see how people respond to God changing the culture of His people. We get to see humans from several different cultures struggle to become a new culture that is centered in Christ. In Acts we begin to see movement away from exclusivity of Jews (specifically Hebraic Jews) as God’s people towards the incorporation of people from all cultures into the development of a new culture. Acts shows that even with the adoption of this new “Christian” culture there were clashes between cultures when people allowed differences among cultures of origin to become more important than the new culture that God was creating. In the beginning of Acts we learn that there are around 120 members of the Christian church waiting in Jerusalem for God to send His gift of the Holy Spirit. This was a small, like-minded community that was about to expand...
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