Is common for most westerners to approach the Bible from their own personal perspective of culture and language. We often forget that the Bible was written by ancient Jewish thinkers, not in English but rather in Hebrew and Aramaic for the First Testament and Greek for the Second. Foreign concepts of Middle Eastern lifestyle, traditions, archaic language and idioms of that time period are not easily understood by modern readers today.

The Church has developed a mindset that was passed down by our Greco-Roman Church Fathers. Christians rarely realize that Yeshua, and all of His disciples were speaking and thinking from a Jewish mindset called “block thinking” which is quite unfamiliar to non-Hebrew speakers.

Greco-Roman thinking is based on linear or sequential thoughts. The Greeks taught us to move from point A to point B and come to a calculated conclusion. We have also learned from the Greeks that opposing positions of a matter can’t both be true. However, block thinking is different. Opposite ideas are actually considered in order to derive a conclusion. This kind of “dynamic tension thinking” seems to be contradictory to westerners—which is why so many think the Bible contradicts itself.

On the contrary, the Bible only appears to hold a sense of conflict—but in reality, it is a perfect balance of Godly love and mercy and at the same time righteous indignation to the opposition of everything God is. There is good and evil; light and darkness; God’s ways and man’s ways; heaven and hell and right and wrong. Yeshua is called The Prince of Peace, but He said, “Don’t think I’ve come to bring peace but rather the sword” (Matthew 10:34 CJB).

The first coming of Yeshua 2000 years ago caused many to receive Him as Lord and others to reject him, which in itself is dynamic tension. The first coming of Messiah eventually caused revolts against Rome as Yeshua prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed.

However, His coming again will bring peace. So…both are true. Yeshua brought conflict, the sword and a splitting of a nation, but He is coming as the prophesied Messiah who will usher in world peace as He rules all nations and causes every authority to bow as He establishes His throne. A good example of Jewish block thinking is a familiar scene from Fiddler on the Roof. Tevye is considering the dilemma of his daughter Tzeitl and Motel the tailor. After learning that his daughter and Motel gave each other a pledge for marriage, he considers what he should do concerning this untraditional betrothal.

Tevye expresses his inward thoughts out loud: “He’s beginning to talk like a man. On the other hand, what kind of match would that be? With a poor tailor? On the other hand, he’s an honest hard worker. On the other hand, he has absolutely nothing. On the other hand, things could never get worse for him, they could only get better.”

This typical train of thought purposely considers both sides of a coin, explores the good and the bad, the pros and the cons. All the while both sides of the argument are true.

Is God a “God of Judgment?” Yes, and He has all power and authority to punish those who hate and oppose Him.

Or, is God a “God of Mercy?” Absolutely, He has the power to pardon, forgive and bless those who deny themselves and choose to love Him.

It’s not something you did that you can be proud of. Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives (Ephesians 2:9-11 CEB). We are children of faith.

We must trust in the unseen and believe the Good News that we have been redeemed by the power of the blood of Messiah yet we must also show forth the good works that are the fruit of that Spirit that has transformed us.

Are faith and works oppositional? No, the two concepts are a part of a perfectly balanced mindset that empowers dual actions of the physical man and the spirit man. It all comes down to trust and obey—which really means trust and do.