Recently I saw an ad to send New Testaments to Iran. Now I think sending Bibles to every man woman and child on this planet in their own language is a great idea. However sending only half a Bible causes huge social, economic, and personal faith misunderstandings. Look at Africa where missionaries have been giving out half the Bible for two centuries. Their cultures have remained either tribal or they have turned to socialism. There is no concept of One Law for the people and the same One Law for the sojourner. Property rights are often not respected. Without property there is no way to obtain a loan to start or expand business, trade, or education. If you don’t believe us look at the Indian Reservation of North America. At the Reservations were there are land rights and everyone in the tribe owns their own piece of God’s green earth, industry thrives. However where the land is held by the council nothing is improved, nothing is made productive.
What we except as God’s word has a great effect on every aspect of our lives.
Groups of people can be so funny about what they will accept as the authoritative word of God. Such decisions can greatly effect the way a people and culture develops. Both the Eastern Orthodox and the Church of Rome have put the Apocrypha into their accepted printed versions of the Bible. Although these books are useful for the history they provide, they are not even considered canonical by anyone.
We are all familiar with those who reject the authority of the Old Testament. Make a theological point with only Old Testament verses and one will be meet with “Well, that’s in the Old Testament” as if to imply that that is old fashioned, or out of date, and that in the end of their argument. Their contention is that God has changed his mind instead of being Immutable. Then of course there are the Jews who reject the authority of the New Testament, and of course the Islamics who claim none of the Books of the Bible have been preserved or translated correctly.
There are books and passages that people are discouraged from reading. Sometimes for concerns of maturity like the last three chapters of Judges, or the erotic poem that is the Song of Songs. However some are just ignored or discouraged because they don’t match the groups beliefs, e.g., most pacifist groups never discuss the violent passages of the Old Testament. Their children have very little knowledge of the great warriors of the Old Testament e.g. Samson, Saul, or David.
See Also: Why books were left out of the Canon
The New Testament seems to the casual reader to embrace socialism, with an emphasis on giving everything to the poor. Where the Old Testament seems to embrace capitalism.
The economy that God gave the children of Israel in the Law was a capitalist one. Everyone was to own their own land except the Levites, who were to devote themselves to teaching the people, and distributing the tithes to the poor.
The reason that the New Testament talks about selling off ones worldly goods and giving all to the poor, is because Messiah prophesied in Matt 24, Mark 13, Luke 17:21-37; 21:5-38 that Jerusalem was to be destroyed. There was no real way of saving the wealth one had. There were no international banks. It was all to be lost, so one might as well give it away. And so it was for the first 300 years of the congregations history. We faced heavy persecution in those early centuries. Then came the Dark Ages where those of the false church persecuted the true believer with their Crusades and INQUISITION. It is not till the Reformation, when people could read the whole Bible for themselves that people begin to see the need for property rights. At which time the economies of Northern Europe began to grow.
Without the full Old Testament and the whole New Testament, one is left trying to piece together the workings of God with His people from references to passages that are unavailable, for one reason or another. The New Testament references and quotes from the Old Testament passages are not full because they assume that one is going to a synagogue and hearing these word.
Without the first four chapters of Genesis there is no understanding of Creation or The Fall. Without the Flood story the layers of the earth have no explanation except that which provided by the non-science teaching that the geologic ages of the Earth are in these layers. Instead of these layers being formed during a world wide flood. Without the Tower of Babel there is no explanation for the migration of the earths peoples our languages and our physical differences. Messiah’s sacrifice make little sense without the Great typological prophecy in the Sacrifice of Isaac.
But most damaging is the lack of understanding that the children of Israel did not walk in a pure faith, and they ended up scattered all over the world. Many Christians do not understand that God has a Jealous nature.[Rom 11]
Praise be to God that this control of information is almost over. With the advent of the computer age, Bibles are in every language and can be found all over the internet. As well as courses on Greek and Hebrew. One sight to start with is the Bible Gateway