Thursday, October 20, 2011

Romans 4:15

Romans 4:15
Have you ever studied a foreign language? Language learners make a lot of mistakes along the way that they're not even aware of. I find it fascinating to listen to my daughters, because they are old enough to speak our native English fluently but young enough to make mistakes with the exceptions to the normal rules. For instance, they apply the rule of adding "-ed" to verbs to make them past tense, making new words like "go-ed" and "hurt-ed" and "write-ed". They know instinctively how to use the normal rule for past tense conjugation and successfully apply it multiple times every day. They aren't breaking the "law", they're obeying it, but only because they don't yet know the more complicated intricacies of that "law". Once they learn those details it will be inappropriate for them to continue breaking them by adding "-ed" to irregular verbs.

The Jewish Law contains a lot of intricacies that are hard to sort out. Reading through it isn't easy. How many people who try to read through the whole Bible give up partway through Deuteronomy or Leviticus or end up simply skipping over entire chapters? Prohibitions are listed there I would never have thought of on my own and applications are developed further by scholars and rabbis which I would never have understood from my reading of the Law. Is it truly sinful to eat an alfredo sauce with my chicken? According to modern Jewish understanding of Exodus 23:19, it is. In this way what seems to be right without the Law becomes sin with it. Just as words that seem right to my daughters now will become wrong as they learn further the intricacies of the "laws" of the English language.

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