Y’know, one of the things I’m looking forward to about the new creation is the opportunity to ask a whole lot of questions. And I don’t mean that in the “When I get to heaven, I’m gonna have a word with Jesus” way, either, because while that’s cute and all… no.
Seriously though, I have a ton of questions I would love to have answers to eventually. They’re not questions which affect my faith all that much. They’re the curiosity ones about events in history, the background of certain books of the Bible, and how Jesus really feels about King James Only-ism… (Kidding. I’m pretty sure I already know that last one.) But of those, there are three that, at this moment anyway, I’d love to have an answer to eventually:
1. Who actually wrote Hebrews?
Seriously, I would love to know who actually wrote this. From what I understand, the early tradition was that it was Paul (a view still held by many today), but other contenders in the debate include Apollos, Barnabas, Luke, and, as generally advocated by progressive and/or revisionist scholars, Priscilla.1 Who do I think? Honestly? I don’t know. My gut says someone with connections to Paul. I’m certainly intrigued by the Lukan authorship theory, haven’t had an opportunity to investigate heavily. Maybe this book would be helpful?
2. Was Paul really a poor verbal communicator?
I’ve seen this charge in numerous books and sermons, but it’s never sat right with me, mostly because of the Bible itself. Something important to keep in mind is that the references to Paul’s being a less than stellar orator appear when he is addressing the charges of false teachers and “super-apostles” in cities like Corinth. And call me crazy, but I suspect those dudes were probably fond of lying a little bit… I lean “no” on this. I suspect, based on the Scriptural evidence (particularly the sermon extracts found in Acts), that he was a very good preacher. But do I know for sure? Not really. But I’d love to find out.
3. What’s the one thing we all got wrong that might surprise us?
Let’s face it: none of us should ever claim to perfectly understand or interpret the Bible. Thankfully, very few of us (at least that I’m aware of) actually do this. While there’s much we can know—and we should strive to know as much as we can—there’s guaranteed to be something we’re either going to misinterpret, misunderstand or overlook entirely, despite the basic clarity of the Scriptures on its essential message. I wouldn’t be surprised if whatever it is is something ridiculously obvious. So it’d be interesting—and honestly, humbling—to learn what that thing is.
Like I said at the beginning: these are not epic, faith-changing questions. They’re curiosities. Questions that pop into your head periodically when you’re reading or getting ready for bed. Will I lose sleep if I never have an answer to them? Probably not. But do I believe there is an answer to each? Absolutely. And I look forward to the day when I get to learn the answers to these questions, and a thousand more besides.
- This theory was first put forward by Adolf von Harnack, who also rejected the historicity of John’s gospel, so there’s that. ↵