What is more important: right conduct or right thinking?
Your answer will depend in some part on the culture you were raised in. How you read and understand the Bible will also be greatly affected by your answer.
In a research paper entitled “The Hebrew Mind vs the Western Mind,” Brian Knowles explores differences in Hebrew and Western thinking.* Where the Hebrew is concerned with practice, right conduct, and strict duty, the Greek puts the emphasis on knowledge, right thinking, and the spontaneous play of intelligence. Practice vs theory; morals vs intellectual exploration.
Knowles prepared a comparison chart of thinking, part of which is replicated below:
In our Western way of thinking, we want to organize our Bibles and our faith into manageable blocks. We want our questions answered, our problems solved, and any contradictions resolved. It is important to us to have everything tied up in neat packages that we can chart and understand. We want a comprehensive definition of an incomprehensible God.
Perhaps it is time for us to go back and re-read our Bibles from a different mindset–to learn to think and understand as a Hebrew.