"Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence..."
I had a great time at the new used bookstore this afternoon. I was browsing the Bible shelves...rolling my eyes at the study notes in them: "Oh wow, that was easy...Jesus couldn't possibly mean what he said." A couple were next to me, the man had a huge book in his hands. He and she were talking about what it was for, how to use it. I turned toward them to go, and they asked me if I knew about the book: Strong's Concordance. Wow, I love Strong's Concordance! Yeah, lemme show ya how it works! If you're wanting to learn more about how the Bible thinks, ya want this book (or the online equivalent). And I asked them some questions like I do my Catechism class kids, such as, "Y'all tell me why Sarah and Abraham were unhappy...yep, and then...uh huh, and what did Sarah do...laughed, that's right..and they named him...Isaac. Yes, so we check Strong's like so and see that Isaac means...and why does that matter? Yes. And so when God wanted Abraham to kill Isaac...yep! See, and without knowing the Hebrew you miss that very human and pro-life part of the story!" And we went through a couple more examples, and how the Concordance shows how similar Hebrew words share a common root, and that sometimes their meanings overlap in ways that matter, but won't show up in English or Greek, like Adam and Ground. Where do I go to church? St. Mary's? That's Catholic right? The man was a former Catholic and now a deacon at his non-denom. We talked about growing up with the Latin Mass, how that alienated him, and how I loved reading the Latin and English out of my father's Missal. Talked some more about faith journeys, other Bible bits, what some other Hebrew names mean, such as Elizabeth. Discussed our decisions to take Jesus seriously. So we had a great time faith sharing without arguing, and without me selling Catholicism the least bit short.
Image from 2nd & Charles in case you were wondering.