Month: April 2011

More Words of “Wisdom”

–By Ben Gilmore

“The fear (reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom….” [ Psalm 111:10 ]

If that be so, does it not follow that — An irreverent teacher cannot produce a “wise” student? The public school system in America has been made “irreverent” by law!

I praise the Lord for the reverent teachers struggling under the yoke of an irreverent master (the dictates and restrictions of the Public School system). It remains true, the system has done an efficient job of separating America’s children from the principles of their parents, grand parents and great grandparents!

ONLY the removal of national, state, and county education bureaucracies AND a return to neighborhood schools, answerable only to neighborhood voters will save our public school system.

But God is faithful! We have a large body of home-school parents who choose not to place the responsibility of “raising up their child” in irreverent hands. These home-school teachers are predominantly reverent. From whence will the Lord find wise leaders in the next generation?

A word about Noah Webster (1758 – 1843)

His life work was the “American Dictionary if the English Language” published in 1828.

“In my view the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. … No truth is more evident in my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people. …” [Noah Webster]

“Today when the biblical basis for education is under systematic attack we need to capitalize upon the availability of the first American dictionary — the only dictionary in the world to, ‘draw water from the wells of salvation‘ — to utilize God’s written word as a key to the meaning of words. Historically it documents the degree to which the Bible was America’s basic text book in all fields.” [Rosalie Slater 1967, cofounder Foundation for American Christian Education (FACE)]

Upon its publication, Webster’s 1828 became the standard of excellence in the English speaking world. People in the mother country were amazed that such scholarship could originate in the “rustic back woods” of colonial America!

[The following is copied and pasted from Webster’s 1828 [high lights are mine]]

WISDOM, n. s as z. [G. See Wise.]

1. The right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them. This is wisdom in act, effect, or practice. If wisdom is to be considered as a faculty of the mind, it is the faculty of discerning or judging what is most just, proper and useful, and if it is to be considered as an acquirement, it is the knowledge and use of what is best, most just, most proper, most conducive to prosperity or happiness. Wisdom in the first sense, or practical wisdom, is nearly synonymous with discretion. I differs somewhat from prudence, in this respect; prudence is the exercise of sound judgment in avoiding evils; wisdom is the exercise of sound judgment either in avoiding evils or attempting good. Prudence then is a species, of which wisdom is the genus.
Wisdom gained by experience, is of inestimable value.
It is hoped that our rulers will act with dignity and wisdom; that they will yield every thing to reason, and refuse every thing to force.

2. In Scripture, human learning; erudition; knowledge of arts and sciences.
Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Acts 7.

3. Quickness of intellect; readiness of apprehension; dexterity in execution; as the wisdom of Bezel and Aholiab. Exodus 31.

4. Natural instinct and sagacity. Job 39.

5. In Scripture theology, wisdom is true religion; godliness; piety; the knowledge and fear of God, and sincere and uniform obedience to his commands. This is the wisdom which is from above. Psalm 90. Job 28.

6. Profitable words or doctrine. Psalm 37.
The wisdom of this world, mere human erudition; or the carnal policy of men, their craft and artifices in promoting their temporal interests; called also fleshly wisdom. 1 Corinthians 2. 2 Corinthians 1.

The wisdom of words, artificial or affected eloquence; or learning displayed in teaching. 1 Corinthians 1 and 2.

Did you ever enjoy sitting up in bed of an evening and reading a dictionary! I have, with Noah Webster’s 1828! This important book has been republished by FACE. Their web site is easily searched out. www.FACE.net.

Here is an interesting project. Suppose you were assigned to study something, say “mathematics”. Begin with Webster’s 1828 definition. Underline the key words. List and look up their definitions. In each case, underline the key words. After a few cycles you will have the vocabulary of your subject! In this case, the vocabulary is in three categories: quantities, operations, measures. Next, use a Strong’s or other exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Look up the key words in your subject’s vocabulary. This will give you the biblical basis for your subject. (Often, I have found the first and last biblical references to be the most significant!)

Another significance of such an authoritative dictionary — When studying our founding documents, we have definitions contemporary with their meaning at the time they were written. Languages change over time.

Suppose “Jane” and “Sally” are college room mates. Jane receives a letter from “Mr. It”. She opens if with trembling fingers. “Sally” is impatient, “Well! What did he say?” “Jane” presses the letter to her heart, “He loves me!”

In truth, “Mr. It” wrote her about his football practice, but “Jane” read into it what she wanted it to say. She might as well have written the letter to herself. It has no value unless it is read for the meaning of the one that wrote it! Study our founding documents with an 1828 by your side! Our laws have no value unless interpreted by the meaning of those who wrote them!

For His-story & Government!!!

Ben Gilmore
ACH Study Groups

[Contact Ben]

Words of “Wisdom”

–By Ben Gilmore

This is the “Introduction” to the book I am writing, “Principles of American Government” (© Ben Gilmore) I think you will enjoy reading it. Ben

Words of “Wisdom” –

Get Wisdom!

Koiné Greek, the common language at the time of the New Testament, is reputed to be the most succinct1 language ever created. Alexander the Great, between the Old and New Testaments, is credited with development of this language.

Alexander was a general from Greece who conquered most of the (then) known world – the Near and Middle East, Egypt, … all the way to India. He wanted a military language that would be very clear, so that tactical instructions would not be misunderstood.

Isn’t it interesting that God would choose to use this “most succinct language” to write the New Testament!

Were you to research the NT era words translated “wisdom” in English. You would find three words: sophia, phronesis, sunesis2. Suppose little “Spiro” came home to mother. “Mom, I saw the wise man down at the mall.” She might reply, “That’s interesting. Was it the sophist, the phronesist, or the sunesist?”

Let’s bring these definitions down to our level –

  • Sophia = “big-picture wisdom.” An umbrella word that contains the meaning of the other two.
  • Phronesis = “practical wisdom.” Understanding how to do things.
  • Sunesis = “mechanical wisdom.” Understanding how things work.

I like to illustrate the difference with my watch. If I’m in front of a store window with all kinds of watches and I’m comparing my watch to all of them, that is “big picture wisdom” (sophia).

If I show you the watch face and explain how to interpret the display to tell the date and time, whether I am late for dinner, or oversleeping – That is “practical wisdom.” (phronesis)

If I turn the watch over and remove the back so that I can explain how it does what it does – That is “mechanical wisdom.” (sunesis)

A visiting preacher who is a sophist might speak on the “Authority of the Bible” and how 66 books, written by many authors, centuries apart – Authors who were shepherds, kings, poets, prophets and the like, writing on subjects that span the life experience, managed to produce a book without error, or contradiction! Big-picture stuff.

A pulpit guest in your church who is a phronesist might speak on “How to write a letter of restitution to your parents,” or “How to lead someone to a salvation prayer.” Practical things.

A visiting sunesist might point out that justice and mercy cannot coexist (i.e. The guilty wants mercy. The innocent wants justice.) Then he would show how the atonement of Christ reconciles justice with mercy. The mechanics of things.

I nominate the leading sophist of my generation to be Francis Schaeffer (“How Should We Then Live”). Bill Gothard (“Basic Youth Conflicts”) is the leading phronesist. I’ll chicken out in nominating the sunesist. (It depends upon which school of theology you attended!)

We are about to study “Biblical Principles of Government.” As illustrated in America. Sophia, phronesis and sunesist break down into Biblical, Historical, Governmental. Certainly “Biblical” is an authoritative, big-picture topic. God is interested in History. (“Remember this event with a marker”, “Celebrate this day each year.”) History takes something out of speculation and makes it fact. History is all about practics. Investigating how and why Biblical principles work and all others fail, focuses on the Governmental or logical structure.

                    ALL THAT TO SAY THIS:

In the “Biblical Principles of Government” field, the most gifted sophist, master-teacher I have found, is James Rose of American Christian History Institute.

Among master-teachers who are gifted phronesists, there is none better than the world’s most talented story teller, Beth Ballenger of Noah Webster Educational Foundation.

For the present, I’ll be your sunesist. All through this work, you will see me teaching from the mechanical viewpoint.

For a “stereo” teaching on these subjects, I recommend attending an “American History and Government Study Seminar”.

When I speak of “master-teachers” I am not referring to motivational speakers, or intellectual giants who feed giraffes rather than sheep. A “master-teacher” is one with the gift of planting seeds of comprehension that will take root and grow for a lifetime.

For His-story & Government!!!

Ben Gilmore
ACH Study Groups

[Contact Ben]

Footnotes:

       1. SUCCINCT’, a. [L. succinctus; sub and cingo, to surround.] … … Compressed into a narrow compass; short; brief; concise; as a succinct account of the proceedings of the council. Let all your precepts be succinct and clear. [Webster’s 1828 Dictionary]

       2. While Sophia is insight into the true nature of things, phronesis is the ability to discern modes of action with a view to their results; While Sophia is theoretical, phronesis is practical … . Sunesis, understanding, intelligence, is the critical faculty; this and phronesis are particular applications of sophia. [W.E. Vines, Dictionary of N.T. Words]

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