In an August 29, 2016 post, Pastor Mark Dever lists twelve questions to ask before posting something online. See the article “12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Posting Something Online” at the 9Marks website. Link: https://www.9marks.org/article/12-questions-to-ask-yourself-before-posting-something-online/ . This article caught my attention since I am relatively new at posting articles on my Christian Bible study-related blog (stevebelsheim.com). Each one of Pastor Dever’s questions is very good. If you post messages or blogs, you ought to carefully read his article. I plan to try to write my posts to be consistent with the thrust of his questions.
In this first blog post, I discuss Questions 1-5. I plan to discuss Questions 6-8 in a second blog post, and Questions 9-12 in a third blog post.
The first question is: “Will it edify? Or significantly inform a useful conversation?” The Scriptural citations are Mark 12:29-31 and 1 Corinthians 14:26. These passages read:
Mark 12:29–31 (ESV) – 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
1 Corinthians 14:26 (ESV) – 26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
In the Marcan passage, the ESV translates the Greek noun dianoia as “mind”, and it means, “the psychological faculty of understanding, reasoning, thinking, and deciding—‘mind.’ See Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, pp. 323–324). New York: United Bible Societies. If I love God, I will fully commit to engaging my intellectual capabilities in writing my blog. If I love God, then I will love His ultimate creation, i.e., mankind, in a cognitive, thinking manner.
About 1 Corinthians 14:26, the Greek adjective pas means “the totality of any object, mass, collective, or extension—‘all, every, each, whole.” See Louw, J. P., & Nida, Vol. 1, p. 596. The ESV translates the Greek noun oikodomē as “building up.” The Logos 8 sense of this word is, “building up – the act of bringing something closer to fullness or completion; understood as if assisting in the construction of an incomplete building.”
How do these passages impact what I post on my blog? The content of my blog posts ought to demonstrate that I love God and fully commit my intellectual capabilities to develop the content. The content also ought to show that I love people as much as I love myself so that what I write helps people grow in spiritual maturity. This goal is consistent with Mark Dever’s question, “How will it [blog post] increase their knowledge, or faith, or love?”
The second question is: “Will it easily be misunderstood?”The Scriptural citations are John 13:7 16:12, and they read:
John 13:7 (ESV) – 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”
John 16:12 (ESV) – 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
John 13:1-20 reports Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. At the time Jesus did this, the disciples’ lacked knowledge of all the facts, e.g., the Passion of the Christ, to understand Jesus’ actions. But, someday they will know all the necessary facts to understand Jesus’ actions. One commentator writes about John 13:7:
But Jesus expects him to submit to the washing in faith. As the disciples cannot yet understand how the one whom they venerate as the Messiah must go to the cross, so they cannot understand the symbol-laden acts that anticipate it. Peter and the others will understand later—or, better, ‘after these things’ (Gk. meta tauta). This does not refer to the footwashing, but to the passion to which the footwashing points.
Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 463). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.
John 16:4b-15 records Jesus’ description of the future work of the Holy Spirit. In John 16:12, the ESV translates the Greek verb bastazō as “bear,” and it means to accept, but with the implication of the truth is challenging to comprehend or to respond to appropriately.” See Louw & Nida, 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 372. Referring to verse 12, one commentator writes:
Jesus knew their situation, and he knew they were totally confused. He knew they could not handle much more in the way of up-front instruction, so although he had more to add, he would wait until the coming of the Spirit (v. 13).
Borchert, G. L. (2002). John 12–21 (Vol. 25B, p. 168). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
How do these passages impact what I post on my blog? My take away is that I need to make sure that all the necessary background data is present or known to my intended audience. What I mean by “necessary background data” is all the facts that make the content of my post understandable on its face, or free-standing. Pastor’s Dever’s questions appear to be in the context of a post with harmful content, and his last question is excellent:
And, thinking of more public postings, ask yourself: are there reasons why I may not be a good person to speak on certain matters?
The third question is “Will it reach the right audience?” The citation is “Mark 4:9 et al.” Mark 4:9 (ESV) reads:
9 And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
The ESV translates the Greek noun ous as “ears”, and it means, “(an idiom, literally ‘to have ear’) to be able to hear, with the implication of being expected to hear or having the obligation to hear (with a further implication of related mental activity).” See Louw & Nida, 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 282. The Logos 8 sense of ous is the ability to hear with understanding. Comprehension only comes when the recipient can understand the message.
How does this passage impact what I post on my blog? My intended audience must have the capability to understand. I must make sure that my post corresponds to my intended audience. Dr. Dever asks the questions in the context of correction:
If you’re correcting someone, should the audience for that correction be wider—or more narrow? Is that audience correctable?
The fourth question is: “Will it help my evangelism?” He cites Colossians 1:28–29 (ESV):
28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
The phrase “Him we proclaim” means to preach the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. The ESV translates the Greek verb noutheteō as “warning,” and it means, “to advise someone concerning the dangerous consequences of some happening or action—‘to warn, warning.’” See Louw & Nida, E. A 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 436. The ESV translates didaskō as “teaching,” and it means, “to provide instruction in a formal or informal setting—‘to teach, teaching.’”. See Louw & Nida, 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 412. In preaching the gospel, there is warning and teaching which have the purpose of to bring people to be reconciled with God or “mature” in Christ, i.e., a spiritual maturity, whichever is applicable.
How do these passages impact what I post on my blog? I must be confident that the content of each blog proclaims Christ and does so via warning of sin and teaching of salvation with the goal that the intended audience either moves closer to reconciliation to God the Father or grows in spiritual maturity. Like what Dr. Dever says, “Is what you’re about to communicate going to help or hinder those you’re evangelizing?”
The fifth question is: “Will it bring about unnecessary and unhelpful controversy?” The citation is Titus 3:9 (ESV):
9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.
The ESV translates the Greek adjective mōras as “foolish”, and it means, “pertaining to thoughts devoid of understanding and therefore foolish—‘foolish, nonsensical, to be nonsense.” Louw & Nida, 2nd edition., Vol. 1, pp. 386–387. Dr. Dever is correct to say, “Think carefully about controversy.”
How do this passage impact what I post on my blog? First, I do not intend to avoid a post that raises a controversy. Today, there are societal movements (e.g., LGBTQ movement and the abortion movement) that espouse teachings in direct conflict with biblical teaching. I will not stay away from a post, even if controversial, that articulates a clear biblical principle. However, in the absence of a clear biblical principle being at stake, I want to try my best to make sure that if what I say will stir up a controversy, it is worth the pain and suffering. The benefit must outweigh the potential detriment.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Please send me any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the comments feature of the blog.
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