Lesson 5: Scripture and Culture
Based on R. C. Sproulís lessons

Facilitator: J. Compton, Jr.

Study the 20 minute lesson at this link: Scripture and Culture

Study These Lesson Points:

The purpose of this lesson is to spark your interest in the value of examining scripture and its relationship to the culture in which it was written.

In order to achieve this we must tackle three problems:

  1. The problem of Trans-Cultural Communication - it's interpreting the intent of a message for your culture, from what's communicated between a speaker and his/her audience of the same foreign culture.
  2. The problem of Historical Tension - between our 21st century and the times in which a scripture was written, there is a time gap that separate us from the time of the events in which we read and seek to understand. Much has changed, in technology, linguistics, customs, civilization, etc.
  3. The problem of Understanding and Applying what we read to today. Every missionary has this problem.
    • Some cultures do not have concepts for key items that are in the bible (i.e. God's attribute of love).
    • Inner-city kids have a difficult time identifying with stories, parables and examples that were based on an agricultural or pastural culture.
    • As our culture becomes more industrial and technological it also becomes further removed from the agricultural or pastural culture, upon which the scriptural events and parables were based.
    • Custom of prophets to rely upon object lessons (Jesus a fig tree, Moses a rock) to pronounce, "what thus saith the Lord". Unless we know something about the objects and customs from bible times, we will miss the point of a scripture. That's why it is important to study the geography, customs and background of the biblical land and times.

Critical Thinking Skills Are Still Essential for Rightly Dividing Biblical Truth - 2 Timothy 2:15

Distinquishing Principle and Custom

  1. Principle is a teaching, admonition or precept that is runs across diverse cultures. It applies to all people, in all places, for all of time.
  2. Customs reflect principles that are necessary for specific people, during specific times and in specific locations. Customs do not convey divinely inspired truth.
  3. Some Christians believe that the bible is all principle and must apply to all people at all times. While others believe that the bible is subjective customs that can very from people, times and locations.
  4. The bible itself understands the difference between principles and customs. The truth is that there are some passages that have local significance only. There are those that transpose across cultures. The question is, how do we know which scriptures are custom, and which are principle. We must get this correct, else we could make a great offense against God. Likewise, to impose a custom onto all people, during all times at all locations is a great offense against the people of God.


Call Me When You Are Ready For The Exam (and bring answers to the above)

Your exam must be completed within the same month the lesson was assigned.