‘Things new and old’

Jesus says that every scribe becoming a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old (Mt 13:52). Things new and old; I hope to find some of this.

The McClendonChair studies convictions, in particular lived convictions. They are to be explored and studied carefully. The academic mind-set is to observe and observe, again and again. Interestingly, this is exactly what the apostle Paul says in the emotional appeal he makes in the second letter to the Corinthians. However, translations of the opening phrase in 2Cor 10:7 differ. The Greek phrase ta kata prosōpon blepete may be translated in three ways. The King James Version translates it as a question, full of irony: ‘do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him remind himself that as he is Christ’s, so are we!’ The New American Standard Bible translates it as an accusation: ‘You are looking at things as they are outwardly!’ But, the Revised Standard Version translates it as an exhortation, even as a command: ‘look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him remind himself that as he is Christ’s, so are we’ (so does T.E. van Spanje in his 2 Korinthiërs [CNT III; Kampen, 2009]). I think this is the best translation. In fact, Paul is saying: Now, look at what is before your eyes! Look, look once again and look even better! This is exactly what lived convictions is all about, especially in situations of conflict as the apostle Paul went through. Apparently, ecclesial divisiveness, as in Corinth, may be dealt with, or even healed, by taking a closer look at things. We have to learn to observe, not in a superficial way, but by collecting the facts as they are. So, let’s go for spiritual depth and accuracy, combined with facts and academic excellence, not for easy conclusions. Some will be new, some will be old.

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