The Importance of A Primary Text

We are in full on PhD mode at the Norman house. Christian is in the middle of writing at least two of his major papers for the semester, which includes researching for those papers even during spring break.

Before you feel to sorry for him, you should know that one of Christian’s major papers is about the evolution of metaphor in the X-Men comic books. So some of his research involves pulling out his comic book collection and leafing through those bad boys. It may not sound very academic but it is important.

The very basic academic theory is this: If you are going to write about something, you should read that something, not what other people think about it, what does it actually say? Then draw your conclusions from there.

If any of you were smarty pants students and took AP history, you learned about a primary text. Rather than study what the book says about Ben Franklin’s thoughts on the constitution, how about read a letter from him to someone about it. Then make your conclusions based on that. Not that other commentary isn’t important, but for serious study we need to look at the primary texts.

I am learning that the academic standard is God’s standard as well. He is okay with me reading Bible commentary and spiritual blogs. But I shouldn’t substitute it for His word. God doesn’t want me to base decisions for my family or draw conclusions about Him and our relationship based solely on what Beth Moore or Priscilla Shirer say about God. Those ladies definitely help point me toward the truth, but they don’t speak THE TRUTH. And I think they would say the same thing, you  have to get into the word. You will grow when you understand better what it says.

Bible commentaries and spiritual books are awesome, but we have to put a priority on the primary text. The question is not “what does this awesome spiritual person say about what God says?” The question is “what does God say?” And I need to spend more time looking at the primary text.

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7 thoughts on “The Importance of A Primary Text

  1. Spring break doesn’t actually exist once you’re a PhD student. It’s a time when you can focus on research without the distraction of those pesky classes or undergrad students getting in the way. I added about 20 pages to my dissertation during spring break last year. (I also didn’t really sleep that week, but that’s beside the point.)

  2. I really need this reminder. I ted to lean toward the prayer and fellowship with others components of the Christian life and even when I do read, it’s usually a book about scripture. Thanks for the reminder that i need to read my bible!!

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