Looking Back: 3rd Installment

Duality: Everything Has a Flip Side

The duality of all things is not unintentional. It is one of the most stunning aspects of God’s creation. Brilliant in its simplicity with just two sides to everything … counterparts … opposites … yet related. A set of counterparts of special importance to Biblical understanding is physical and spiritual. Each has its own set of characteristics. Each is contacted with its own set of eyes and ears.

Accepting the reality of the duality concept is critical to Biblical understanding. You can know the Bible, and then you can understand it. Knowledge and understanding are counterparts. They are not, however, totally unrelated. Their difference is dramatic, yet they complement each other. Understanding cannot stand alone. Hence, knowledge is necessary to understanding. In short, you can’t understand something you know nothing about. You must know the Bible before understanding it. But knowledge should not be considered more valuable than understanding. Biblical knowledge, since it is physical in nature, will lead to conclusions drawn from the physical senses. This practice leads to false doctrines, legalism, and ultimately confusion, conflict and division. All of these things are avoided by combining understanding to knowledge. Make no mistake, understanding is the prize. Solomon tells us in Proverbs that she (understanding) is more valuable than gold, silver or jewels, and nothing we desire compares with her.

Knowledge is fulfilled by understanding. Jesus said He hadn’t come to abolish, but to fulfill the Law. This was said following His declaration of what are called the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes are counterparts to the ten commandments. Said another way, they are the spiritual component of the physical commandments. Thus, it is correct to say the Beatitudes correspond to understanding, and the ten commandments to knowledge. Therefore, the Beatitudes fulfill the commandments.

The ten commandments were carved in stone tablets on top of Mt. Sinai, and they were placed in the Ark of the Covenant. The Hebrews carried them everywhere they went. The people’s goal was to keep the commandments, ordinances and statutes by physically doing them.

Jesus turned the tables on that idea. He went up on a mountain and delivered another set of commandments. We call them the Beatitudes. Rather than tell us what we should do, the Beatitudes describe the kind of person we should be. The Beatitudes are the spiritual counterpart to the physical commandments. A person who is a Beatitudes person … one who is poor in spirit, one who mourns, etc. … will keep the commandments in the way they live their lives. In other words, their lives will be a fulfilling, rather than a doing, of the Law. Jesus shows us how to fulfill the Law, not by doing it, but by being it. So we have discovered another set of counterparts … doing and being. When we were talking about change, we said that the Bible was a call to change from being a physical person to one who is spiritual. These correspond to knowledge and understanding. They also relate to doing and being.

We must become spiritually oriented people rather than physically oriented. Hence, we must change from physical to spiritual beings … from people grounded in knowledge only, to ones who fulfill knowledge with understanding. Until we make the change from physical to spiritual … from knowledge to understanding … from doing to being … we will remain bound in the physical, and we’ll be recipients of its consequences.

This is a good time to introduce two new principles dealing with learning and teaching. The first is It is Not Necessary to Teach the Content of the Bible. The second is, The Meaning of the Bible is Discovered, Not Taught or Learned. You can read about these in the Principles section.

That’s my Viewpoint, what’s yours? Whether the same or different, I would like to hear from you. It’s all right for us to have differing viewpoints. Having dissimilar points of view hasn’t been a problem for the body of Christ. Resolving differences has. Most conflicts over doctrine, practices or beliefs usually end in arguing and division. It should not be that way. It need not be that way. Only we can make the necessary changes. I believe it can and will be better when we change the way conflicts are resolved in the body of Christ.

Your viewpoint is welcome and encouraged. You can post you views in the comment box below. If there is no Comment Box, please click on Leave a comment at the bottom of the article.

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2 Responses to Looking Back: 3rd Installment

  1. Peter,
    I have profited by your articles very much, and look forward to more.

    I do think, however, that your remark above about it being unnecessary to teach the content of the Bible, could be better stated, since in one sense at least it contradicts your earlier statement that understanding is impossible without first having knowledge.

    It seems to me that there is more than one way to teach content, but that it be communicated, especially to young children in a Christian home, would seem to me to be a thing very much to be sought after, if not required.

    I must admit that I have not as yet read your principle, so perhaps you have already answered my question.

    Your articles are very thoughtful, very beneficial.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    • David,

      Thank you for your comment. You raise a valid point. As I said in the article, I was not saying, or even implying, that the content of the Bible should not be taught. I understand that my phrasing may seem strange, and I want to explain my reason for wording this principle the way I did. I will do that with another article in the near future.

      Again, thanks for taking time to share you views.

      God bless you,


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