[Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint that was published online on July 28, 2004.]
I Thessalonians 5:21 urges us to “Prove all things and hold fast to that which is good.” According to Strong’s Concordance, “prove” comes from a Greek word, “dokimazo” that in English means: “to test, examine, prove, scrutinize; to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy.”
Part of the meaning of “examine” is to analyze something in order to understand it. According to Webster’s Dictionary of Synonyms under the heading “analyze,” we read the following:
“Analysis: the separation of something into its constituents in order to find out what it contains, to examine individual parts, or to study the structure of the whole; a statement giving details of all the constituent elements of something and how they relate to each other; the examination of something in detail in order to understand it better or draw conclusions from it; an assessment, description, or explanation of something, usually based on careful consideration or investigation; the branch of mathematics dealing with differential calculus, functions, and limits.” [Emphasis theirs.]
With this in mind, let’s go further into piecing apart or analyzing Psalms 40:6-8. For the reader’s convenience, here it is again:
“Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”
These verses are from The King James Bible. Except for people who are acting in Shakespearian plays on Broadway in New York City or elsewhere, people do not ordinarily use many of the words in these verses from The King James Bible.
How often do we use such words as “thou” or “didst” or “hast” or “yea?” If you do, people will look at you thinking, perhaps at first, that you are making a “funny.” If you continue with such language too long, they may get irritated or, depending on how you act and/or what they think they see in your behavior, they’ll think something is wrong with you.
Christian pastors have worked to bring their language up to date. While using The King James version of the Bible, many either paraphrase its language and/or use any of the many translations of the Bible that use contemporary English.
This passage (from Psalms) is made up of two sentences. The first sentence reads: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.”
This sentence is divided into three sections by means of punctuation marks. A semicolon immediately follows the word “desire.” This punctuation mark ends the first part of the three parts composing this first sentence.
A colon immediately follows the word “opened.” This ends the second part. And the third part of this sentence, which ends with the word “required,” is immediately followed by a period.
As we know, or may know, in writing, punctuations are symbols or marks that are used to organize writing into clauses, phrases and sentences and, in this way, make its meaning clear.
We don’t have to be a master of the English language to see that the words that make up the three parts that make up this sentence, from the book of Psalms, are really three sentences in themselves.
What is a sentence? The Encarta World English Dictionary defines the word “sentence” as follows: “1. a group of words or a single word that expresses a complete thought, feeling, or idea. It usually contains an explicit or implied subject and a predicate containing a finite verb. 2. a judgment by a court specifying the punishment of somebody convicted of a crime, or the punishment itself 3. a well-formed expression in a symbolic language 4. to allocate a particular punishment to somebody convicted of a crime, usually stating its nature and its duration.”
Many of us, especially we Brothers, are intimately familiar with the second and the fourth definition this dictionary gives for the meaning of the word “sentence.” It’s the first and the third definition of this word that I’m using with reference to this passage in Psalms.
What I am trying to say here is that we must all make an increased effort to do better to really focus on what is written when we read. We must learn to really see what is really on the pages we read. This is required before we try to interpret. To increase our ability to read can carry over to the improvement of our other mental powers. It can help us to really listen to and hear what others are really saying–not what we think they are saying.
Let’s remember, even where there is good reason to seek a deeper meaning of the communication of others, this cannot be done properly, nor effectively, without our first hearing (or reading) exactly what the other has really communicated.
Quality communication is an essential factor in developing and maintaining unity among us whom Satan works to keep divided.
There is much more to this. But let’s move on and agree on the following truth. Not one of us can say, with truth, that we really knew and understood the Bible’s truths before we heard the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, from him or from one of his followers then or now–especially since Minister Farrakhan arose to extend his teacher’s work.
For instance, do we really understand that we are the ones who were foreseen as being redeemed, in the 29th chapter, verses: 17-24 of Isaiah? A part of this prophecy reads: “and Lebanon (the original people in America) shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest. And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
“For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought…
“They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.”
No! We cannot say we saw ourselves in this passage; nor anywhere else in the Bible–not to think of the Qur’an–until God came and raised both Messiahs: the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Farrakhan.
Until we learn Who God is, who we are, who God’s enemies are–in terms of His definitions–we are still dead! And this is so, regardless to how rich, how revered we are, or whatever in this rotten dying world, we are still dead!
Many see wonderful qualities in Minister Farrakhan. But how does that view compare with God’s view of him, Who placed him in the seat of his teacher–the Honorable Elijah Muhammad?
The more we properly see him in the scriptures, the clearer we’ll understand his teachings and moves.
More next issue Allah willing.