Some Baseless Speculations about Christianity and Words and Speaking and Writing, With Regard to Hearts, and Regarding Dostoyevsky, Clumsily Conceived, Part 4

For Yuri. Continued from part one, part two, and part three.


It is silly to say that the oral preaching in the New Testament does not actively refer to the writings of the authors of the Hebrew Bible, that the preaching and teaching is not highly “inter-textual”, to use a worn-out academic label. The Bible, for the earliest Christian communities, or “the writings” (often nauseatingly translated as “the scriptures”), is principally (though not quite exclusively) the Hebrew Bible, and is central. Nonetheless, the person of, and teaching of, and rituals by, and story about Jesus operates, for these earliest communities, as a key for the Hebrew Bible, is something that happens in a community as they do certain things — one of the foremost being speaking. The speaking can be ritual or non-ritual, and the line between these two can at times be somewhat fuzzy in the earliest communities. Typically, however, the speaking occurring in apostolic communities is either teaching or preaching, and both of these refer to what we call the Hebrew Bible, and which they collectively referred to as “Moses and the prophets” — a very personally appellation. A number of these earliest teachers and preachers left behind letters that show us what this looked like, letters that enact, in written form, a literary instance of that very activity of preaching that went on within the communities (not only St. Paul, but St. Ignatius, for example — though St. Paul’s style is better, “higher”). The literary training and references of these men is rather clear to those who know the period well (as is the absence of elements of training from some of these teachers), and has been rather well studied. The literary activity of these figures is not, however, undertaken in order to be a virtuoso or contribute to a body of literature for a culture or civilization, or as an abstract expression of creativity merely to be appreciated, or as a form of play, or as a product to entertain, but in order to change the hearts of hearers, urgently, immediately, and to build up the hearts of Christians who have received these words within a network of communities.

I do not meant to make these authors or these communities seem too idyllic, for any foray into these letters or the secondary scholarly literature on them will reveal just how many contentions were occurring within these communities and between them and some authors, like St. Paul. Counsel regarding some kinds of conflict are helpful for illustrating our theme, however. Even in the earliest gospel (the Gospel According to St. Mark), moments of conflict regarding the proclamation concerning Jesus are not to be carefully crafted with literary or rhetorical preparation, but with a kind of heartfelt S/spirit-born spontaneity:

“But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:11, NKJV)

καὶ ὅταν ἄγωσιν ὑμᾶς παραδιδόντες,
μὴ προμεριμνᾶτε τί λαλήσητε,
ἀλλ’ ὃ ἐὰν δοθῇ ὑμῖν ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ,
τοῦτο λαλεῖτε· οὐ γάρ ἐστε ὑμεῖς οἱ λαλοῦντες
ἀλλὰ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον. (Nestle-Aland 28)

There is a strong sense, here that the ends of providence do not require rhetorical training. [a1]

Nonetheless, the heart has a role with regard to the goal of spiritual writing that is ineliminable, and which makes the role of the interpreter-preacher-teacher seemingly necessary; writing in such a world is only a proxy for a living voice. When St. Paul writes to the Galatians that “as an angel of God you received me, as Christ Jesus” [4:14b] (ἀλλὰ ὡς ἄγγελον Θεοῦ ἐδέξασθέ με, ὡς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν), it is difficult to imagine that his angelic function or role, which parallels those of the earlier Jewish prophets who ascend to God and are sent as a message, could be translated to a text without remainder; the text seems like it is intended as a proxy in this case, or else a now-artifact component of an an otherwise living and dynamic charismatic office and relationship. This earliest movement was, granted, “born with a Bible in its cradle” as C. F. Evans has written, but this was the Hebrew Bible, and the angelic-charismatic task of the apostle is not simply to exegete this text, but to, as it were, “unlock” it with reference to Jesus. The Hebrew Bible is appealed to in order both to ground and to give shape to the self-interpretation of Jesus, as it would any apocalyptic mystical Jew of that time. The eschatological key changes how the book is interpreted, though; something new is understood to be happening, so the reading and use of the Hebrew Bible are not simply exegetical. The Hebrew Bible is also appealed to in order to ground and give shape to the various interpretations of the various apostles about the person of Jesus and the significance they understood the event of his resurrection to hold for both Israel and humanity; in any case, the Hebrew Bible populates living discourse.


There are passages in the New Testament where the heart is connected to oral words, such as several passages in Luke. In Luke 6:45 one reads about how good humans bring good things out of the “treasure box” of their hearts (ἐκ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ θησαυροῦ τῆς καρδίας; “θησαυροῦ” from “θησαυρός”, meaning, basically, a box where one keeps one’s treasure), while evil people bring evil things from their hearts — “for from the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (ἐκ γὰρ περισσεύματος καρδίας λαλεῖ τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ). (Matthew 12:33-37 has a much stronger version of this saying.)

It seems that, for the author of Luke, the “treasure box” of the heart must be filled with good things before the words one speaks can be, in any sense, good. The “Road to Emmaus” passage in Luke 24 has two disciples of Jesus joined by the risen Jesus incognito, who asks about what the two are discussing; after the risen Jesus hears their narrative, then, “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures” (v.27). After what seems like a Eucharist, at which the disciples recognize him at the moment he vanishes, they turn to one another and say:

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” (v.32, NRSV)

οὐχὶ ἡ καρδία ἡμῶν καιομένη ἦν [ἐν ἡμῖν],
ὡς ἐλάλει ἡμῖν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ,
ὡς διήνοιγεν ἡμῖν τὰς γραφάς; (Nestle-Aland 28)

The heart burns in response to a conversation about a person; the writings under discussion are not discussed for their own sake, nor discussed as writings, but as the writings of people (vi&., “Moses and all the prophets”, not some impersonal thing like “the Bible”). The burning of the heart in response to a conversation about a text, yes, but with regard to a person, and the purposes and activity of God that they understood to be displayed in this person. The whole thing is kept grounded in an attitude about the role of words in this kind of expository-proclamatory speaking; it is not legal, not procedural, not functional — not primarily (it is certainly not commodified kitsch or an aesthetic statement or simply good playful fun). These words are spoken to change hearts, and it is not quite clear that a written proxy could exist for what Jesus does here to these two. Finally, we should note that, in this passage, “the scriptures” (vi&., “the writings” — τὰς  γραφάς) must be “opened” (διήνοιγεν, from διανοίγω), as though their status as writings was merely “dead letter” until the written words were broken open by oral words and gathered into a certain shape to reveal…the meaning of a person, setting the heart on fire.

Were I allowed to connect Luke 6 and Luke 24, I might suggest that, for Luke, if the words one speaks are to be fire, one’s heart must first be filled with fire.


Letters that are merely external vs. an internal S/spirit are a key distinction at certain polemical points in St. Paul. 2 Corinthians 3 has a long passage riffing on some of the themes from <~2~>, above:

Surely we do not need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you or from you, do we? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (NRSV)

Ἀρχόμεθα πάλιν ἑαυτοὺς συνιστάνειν; ἢ μὴ χρῄζομεν ὥς τινες συστατικῶν ἐπιστολῶν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἢ ἐξ ὑμῶν; 2  ἡ ἐπιστολὴ ἡμῶν ὑμεῖς ἐστε, ἐνγεγραμμένη ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν, γινωσκομένη καὶ ἀναγινωσκομένη ὑπὸ πάντων ἀνθρώπων, 3  φανερούμενοι ὅτι ἐστὲ ἐπιστολὴ Χριστοῦ διακονηθεῖσα ὑφ’ ἡμῶν, ἐνγεγραμμένη οὐ μέλανι ἀλλὰ πνεύματι θεοῦ ζῶντος, οὐκ ἐν πλαξὶν λιθίναις ἀλλ’ ἐν πλαξὶν καρδίαις σαρκίναις.

4 Πεποίθησιν δὲ τοιαύτην ἔχομεν διὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ πρὸς τὸν θεόν. 5 οὐχ ὅτι ἀφ’ ἑαυτῶν ἱκανοί ἐσμεν λογίσασθαί τι ὡς ἐξ ἑαυτῶν, ἀλλ’ ἡ ἱκανότης ἡμῶν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ, 6 ὃς καὶ ἱκάνωσεν ἡμᾶς διακόνους καινῆς διαθήκης, οὐ γράμματος ἀλλὰ πνεύματος· τὸ γὰρ γράμμα ἀποκτέννει, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ζωοποιεῖ. (Nestle-Aland 28)

This contrast between the “letter” (bringing death) and the “S/spirit” (bringing life) is coupled with the writing not “in letters on stone tablets” (v.7), but “with the Spirit of the living God […] on tablets of human hearts.” (Romans 2 also has something like a natural law “written on the hearts” of Gentiles, and judging between thoughts.) This seems to me to be crucial for the roots of one of the key elements we’re after from TBK, Yuri. Elsewhere, St. Paul writes to another church about how “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Rom 5:5); in 2 Corinthians 4:6 he writes that “the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness […] has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”; if Luke-Acts reflects Pauline thinking at this point, we may say that, for Paul, God “cleans[es] […] hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9, ESV), and Paul connects this to a kind of scripturally-informed preaching, “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17, NKJV); the “heart”, not the “mind”, seems to be the primary recipient, and the best thing words seem to do is to write on them with the divine S/spirit.

This functions not only between God and the human heart, but interpersonally, too, the heart-as-target. In 2 Corinthians 6, St. Paul talks about how his and Timothy’s “hearts have been enlarged [πεπλάτυνται]” towards the Corinthians, how they have opened their mouths to them because of this “enlargement” of their hearts, and that they have taken nothing from the Corinthians, so that this enlargement of the apostle’s affection is no displacement or restriction to the Corinthians. In return, the apostle exhorts the Corinthians to “enlarge [πλατύνθητε] their hearts”, because the Corinthians’ misguided affections have been the reason they have not made room for Paul and his companion. The heart can be enlarged or restricted by what it loves, and is the faculty that makes room for others, it seems.

This is why, in the letters attributed to St. Paul (assuming that Colossians and Ephesians are both written within a Pauline “school”, rather than by Paul himself), the act of speaking to one another, whether ritual or not, must meet spiritual and ascetical standards, must have something of the shimmering of divinity to them [1]; this standard also appears in other letters included in the New Testament. [2] It is likely part of what is behind the prohibition against gossipping in the Pauline epistles.


Most of the fireworks I’ve seen in New Testament anthropology broadly, or Pauline anthropology specifically, have surrounded the different uses of body (σῶμα, usually neutral in tone) and flesh (σάρξ, usually negative in tone), with the precise Pauline sense of spirit (πνεῦμα) as a solid second. Pauline thought is full of distinctions like this. Following a separate distinction from these, however, it would probably behoove us, Yuri, briefly to note the difference between heart (καρδία) and mind (νοῦς or διάνοια) in St. Paul, especially as we don’t have space here to examine it at any length. If only there were time and space to look at these words as they appear in the writings of the Septuagint translation into Greek of the Hebrew Bible (sometimes the Septuagint translates the Hebrew “heart” as “νοῦς”, but overwhelmingly translates it as “καρδία”; Hebrew does not seem to have any equivalent for the general Greek sense of “νοῦς” following Plato). I say nothing about looking at these words in the writings of the New Testament more broadly. If only we could, as this distinction appears often in TBK, often very explicitly — “your heart is better than your head”, Alyosha says to his father at one point early in TBK, even if the head/heart distinction in Dostoyevsky is post-Kantian, rather than following (as though it were so easily conceivable) a neo-Neoplatonist model of heart (καρδία) and intellect (νοῦς). The distinction between heart and mind also appears in the writings of St. Isaac, in which the heart plays a key role, following the lead of the desert monastic tradition.

Put briefly, and without documentation, the tripartite anthropology that we’ve become accustomed to in the West from Plato looks at soul (ψυχή) as what is self-moved (not really so much a ‘gas’ that self-moves, but simple self-motion), and distinguishes three parts to the simple self-motion that is soul: intellect or mind (νοῦς), “spiritedness” or the incensive faculty (θυμός), and desire (ἐπιθυμία). Plato covers this, as you know, in the Republic (or, if you prefer, as my departed friend and teacher John Bremer did, The Polity). Most of the Greek-speaking world that I am aware of has a version of this. I’ve seen it in the pagan Middle Platonists (Alcinous and others, if memory serves), in the Neoplatonic tradition stemming from Plotinus, and in essentially all of the educated Christian Neoplatonists of the 2nd through 8th centuries. Again, if memory serves, I’ve seen this in Evagrius of Pontus and Gregory Nazianzen. It really deserves its own post.

Intellect sees things directly, even if it is thrown into the world in a state of slavery, and should be governing the ship of the soul. The appetitive/desirous and the incensive powers are what move the soul, and move towards various goods, but it is intellect that can see “The Good” (I take liberty with capitals here to drive home its supremeness), and steer the motile powers of the soul away from lesser goods and towards what is best. It can only directly influence “spiritedness” or the incensive power, though, and can only influence desire through the training it puts on the incensive faculty. That is, the head governs the stomach through the chest. The head, the intellect, is what perceives the truth in things, and sees the divinity in things and the relative goodness of things, as well. Because it can go astray, because it is in fact led astray by the other faculties, it is necessary, in this vein of thinking, that the intellect be purified by ascetical practices, to touch the highest truth, and that without illusion, the mind/intellect being the thing in humanity that is most like ultimate reality.

This is all very different from the anthropology from the earlier Greek tradition, just as it is distinct from some of the latter Stoic and Aristotelian positions on what makes up our humanity, and different from the picture of the human being that we find in the earlier stages of the Hebrew Bible.

St. Paul seems aware of how Hellenistic Judaism has interacted with the post-Platonic stream of Greek anthropology, and inherits its privileged status for the intellect, but seems to qualify this by privileging the earlier tradition, flowing out of the Hebrew Bible, of the heart being the source of emotion and will and feeling and even thought.

There are times when a seemingly high view of mind is on display, even if the mind’s height is qualified. In Romans 7:23 & 25, the “law of [Paul’s] mind” is ordered to God quite distinct from the “law in [Paul’s] members”, and Paul “serve[s] the law of God” “with the mind”. [3] In Romans 12, Paul sees the intellect (νοῦς) or mind as central to the being of the person, for the person is “transformed” by the mind’s “renew[al]”. [4] In 1 Corinthians 2:16 Paul can even go on to say, in response to the question “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?”, that “we have the mind of Christ” [5]; I cannot think of a single passage in which he talks about “the heart of Christ”, though he often speaks of the “heart”, over twice as often as he talks about the “mind” (if word counts mean anything, νοῦς appears 21 times in St. Paul, καρδία 52 times). For the place within the spiritual life concerning things that are up for an individual’s discretion, Paul writes that “each” must “be fully convinced in his [or her] own mind” (Rom 14:5), implying the mind’s central role in rendering any course of action as ethical within discretionary spheres, such as regarding whether this or that festival day is to be observed. [6] The mind is associated with clarity of thought and communication, and with proper prayer — and is needed for words to penetrate to the heart, as we see in 1 Corinthians 14. [7]

Certainly for the later author who wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews, thoughts (ἐννοιῶν) come from the heart (καρδίας). (Hebrews 4:12)


Having looked at my poor sketch of this distinction between mind and heart in Paul, Yuri, we can now, however briefly, touch upon the distinction regarding these faculties in relation to the themes we’ve opened up. Thus, as a penultimate thought for this section, we should look at Hebrews 8:10, 10:16, and 10:22.

No one knows who wrote the Letter to the Hebrews. There is no author given in the text itself. It reads to me like a long sermon, Yuri, not like a letter, though this doesn’t matter for us. There are, however, the passages I noted above that do matter for us. I will list them in order, and sever them from their place in the overall argument of Hebrews.

[8.] “Behold, days are coming”, says the Lord, “when I shall complete with the house of Israel and the house of Judah a new covenant, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers […]. [10.]  For this is the covenant which I shall make with the house of Israel after those days”, says the Lord. “While I put my laws into their mind I shall also inscribe them upon their hearts, and I shall be their God and they will be my people.” (Harold W. Attridge Hermeneia transl., quotes fixed)

The idea seems to be that memorization of the Law is not enough; “while I put my laws into their mind I shall also inscribe them upon their hearts” (italics added), seems to suggest going further than previous forms of interiorization. Regardless of what we make of the polemic use of this distinction, the distinction itself is what matters for our cheap history, Yuri.

The basic distinction here is repeated in 10:16 and 10:22.

“This is the covenant which I shall make with them after those days”, the Lord says, “I shall put my laws into their hearts and I shall write them upon their mind”

suggesting, again, the priority of the heart. The purification of the heart –the mind is not noted in this passage at all– seems to reinforce the impression that, for the author of Hebrews, the heart’s purification is prior to any ascent to God, and prior to whatever the mind is supposed to do:

“[…] [22.] let us approach [with Jesus through the veil to the sanctuary of God] with a true heart in an abundance of faith, having been sprinkled in our hearts from a wicked conscience […]”

Fidelity and hope are connected strongly in Hebrews, as in much of St. Paul’s writings, and are here connected to the heart, not the mind (though we, and the post-Platonic Greek tradition likewise, would affiliate the “conscience” not with the “heart”, but with the “mind”, suggesting again a Hebrew conceptual cluster here, the mind and conscience seated in the “heart” as some kind of vital center and root). I would spend too much time if I were to note that in St. Matthew’s Gospel, “the pure in heart”, not “the pure in mind”, are those who “shall see God”. Hebrews is full of language about God speaking (Heb 1:1ff.), and has “the word of God” as “living and active” (Heb 4:12), dividing the spirit and soul, and “discerning the thoughts of the heart”.

The “word of God” that is “living and active” (v.12) is very much like the creative and judging personified word of God one frequently reads in the Hebrew Bible (Philo of Alexandria [25 B.C.–A.D. 50] also picks up similar themes with regard to his understanding of the cosmic Λογος). This word connects with the “promise” (v.1) that is “the word heard” by the people as God, “speaking through” (v.7) David, for example, or others, as people are invited to enter the divine rest. It is clear from the arguments that are made in Hebrews that the author regards the Hebrew Bible as scripture, but the emphasis is not on textual work, no matter how many fancy exegetical moves the author makes over the course of the letter/sermon: the emphasis is on the living words of the proclamation about Jesus. It is clear that “the word of God” in such a passage is not the-Bible-as-text, but seems rather to be the-Bible-as-interpreted-by-the-life-and-teachings-about-Jesus-and-actualized-in-speech-by-the-apostolic-proclamation-about-God’s-raising-him-from-the-dead-as-sign-and-promise.

The extent to which a stable body of literature could be constructed in such an environment would depend upon the degree to which eschatological expectations were imminent — but even if they were to appear, in such an environment they would likely take aim at the heart above all, in a manner analogous to the patterns found above. Anything else would likely be seen as frivolous at worst (lewd poetry for entertainment, of which there are numerous examples), or a concession to necessity at best (manuals, shopping lists, &c.).


So much for the priority of the heart by itself, with some scraps about its relation to the mind. What about the heart and writing? As a final note about this thread among the attitudes shown to words in the New Testament (whether spoken or heard, read or written), I should cite a very large stretch from James 1:

17 Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

19 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23 For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24 for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25 But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.

26 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless.

The “word of truth” that has “given birth” to the Christian being addressed is clearly a spoken word, and it is, moreover, “the implanted word”, not something external. The spoken salvific word of truth is a mirror: in light of it, one sees who one is, and translates it into action (like the texts from the Hebrew Bible in the previous post), or else forgets.  The mirror imagery may refer to a similar metaphor in the Wisdom of Solomon, which is itself apparently inspired by the mirror imagery in Plato’s First Alcibiades. Such metaphors loan themselves much more readily to the creation of a distinctively Christian literary culture, but as they are here, they live within an oral milieu.

What seems important is that the words are not written, but spoken, and likely preached, even if the preaching has a specific form. (“Quick to listen, slow to speak” suggests active behaviors occurring within a community, just as a letter to a community is a proxy for that preacher being there; contrast this with solitary modern behaviors, somewhat more passive in character, which would make this injunction not “quick to listen, slow to speak”, but something more like “quick to read, slow to type in the comments section”, or “quick to read, slow to Netflix”, &c.) Given my verbosity, so much for my salvation…



So Mark 13:9ff. has:

“But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. (NKJV)

Matthew and Luke both have versions of this. In chapter 10:16ff., Matthew’s is:

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

Luke’s version in 12:11-12:

11 “Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. 12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Joel Marcus comments on the passage in Mark 13:11 in his Anchor Bible volume Mark 8-16: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009) 883, 886, that these passages have Exodus 4:10-17 and Jeremiah 1:6-10 as their parallels in the Hebrew Bible: the purposes of God do not require rhetorical skills from those whom God has elected to bring about his ends; to rephrase: the ends of providence do not rely on the technical rhetorical skills of the leaders of the people who have been chosen to bring these ends about; to rephrase: the purposes of God are not “left to the experts”, but rather “depends on the divine power” (Marcus, 886). Further, the later Prophets and other 2nd temple texts associate the divine Spirit with eschatological events, so that the Spirit either points to eschatological events or makes one eschatological oneself (see Marcus for the many references).


So Ephesians 4:29 reads

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. (NKJV)

and Colossians 4:6 has

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (NKJV)


So 1 Peter 4:11

whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God (ESV)

which in the Greek is simply

 εἴ τις λαλεῖ, ὡς λόγια Θεοῦ

and sounds like it’s addressing a ritual-ceremonial context, even if there are ecstatic elements to it.


Romans 7:23-25:

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. (NKJV)


Rom 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (NKJV)


1 Cor 2:16

16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.


Rom 14:5

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. (NKJV)


1 Cor 14:10ff.

10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. 21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.” 22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. (ESV)


Header image is handwritten by Dostoyevsky himself regarding The Brothers Karamazov, and can be found here.

13 thoughts on “Some Baseless Speculations about Christianity and Words and Speaking and Writing, With Regard to Hearts, and Regarding Dostoyevsky, Clumsily Conceived, Part 4

  1. How’s Boston these days hot or what
    The very first time I was in Boston we were in that market area and I saw a pigs head for the first time I’ll never forget that for some reason i
    Hope all is well
    Don’t forget to breath every once in a while…..keep those books open…I want you sharp for double Jeopardy

    Liked by 1 person

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