Drinking Deeply

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 at 9:41 AM

Book Review: Outliers

I recently read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. The central thesis of the book is that inborn talent isn't everything. You do need a bit of talent to get in the door, but the people who are at the top aren't exactly the people who have been born with the most, but rather people who, through a lot of work were able to take advantage of the opportunities given to us. He surveys a number of different things that proves his point and makes his case very persuasively.

I think about my own math ability. I probably have spent a couple thousands of hours working on math problems - math competitions, spare time, fun problems, arml, math team, etc etc. And now numbers make sense! So that certainly is nice. And no excuses to those who complain they "just don't get numbers!"

That said, the major takeaway for me is that John Piper doesn't become the preacher he is and the scholar he is simply because he's incredibly gifted. He is incredibly gifted, but he's spent thousands and thousands of hours in the greek text, learning and teaching and preaching. The same goes for anyone and anything - they spent hours and hours honing their skills and weren't simply "talented." As I think about my Greek and (ailing) Hebrew abilities, the frustration at not remembering words, not understanding grammar, and not being able to do much comes quickly. But hopefully with (lots of) practice, it will start to come.

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Friday, August 27, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Greek is fun!

An interesting passage that came up today. Greek is surprisingly helpful... if you have the habit (like I do) of skipping those helpful footnotes.

2 Corinthians 8:1-7

8:1 We want you to know, brothers, [1] about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, 4 begging us earnestly for the favor [2] of taking part in the relief of the saints— 5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. 6 Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. 7 But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you [3]—see that you excel in this act of grace also.

What does Paul mean when he says, "he should complete among you this act of grace" and "you should excel in this act of grace also" ?

The only other mention of grace is grace given to the Macedonians... that is if you don't read the footnotes! It turns out that the Macedonians begged for the grace of taking part in the relief of the saints (per footnote 2). In Greek, the translation of v.4 is literally -

"Asking us for the grace and fellowship of the ministry of the saints."

Interestingly enough, the ESV changes this to, "the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints." (Taking part/relief and fellowship/ministry are fine equivalents, mine is probably more wooden because I don't know the range of the words).

But anyway, I think when Paul is saying "complete this grace also," he's asking that the Corinthians to complete what the Macedonians began - the grace and partnership of ministry. Obviously the general gist of the passage is clear (especially from the passage heading), but it's interesting to see something come out in the Greek.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010 at 5:23 PM

To whom does the king turn to?

Someone mentioned they read my blog today, and that reminded me I wanted to make a post about Daniel 6. Just one interesting thought -

In Daniel 6, Darius makes a decree that no one is to pray to anyone except to him, upon pain of being thrown to the lions. What an interesting way to assert one's authority! Of course, Daniel, being the upright man he is, ignores the decree and prays, as usual. He's caught (he didn't try to hide it) and thrown into the den of lions, much to the dismay of Darius who appreciated the faithful service of Daniel. Darius, the one who made the decree about only praying to him, is completely powerless to do anything. He spends the night fasting and unable to sleep.

But God, the only true authority here, delivers Daniel from the lions, as only God can do!

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