- The Bible is living and active. How can something written to a specific people at a specific time be living and active for us?
- John Wesley didn’t have all the information we have. But he gave us a way of reading
Outcomes/Goal: To REALLY know God, and to be transformed into people who LOVE God and LOVE neighbor inwardly and outwardly.
How does this happen?
- Scripture – Tradition – Experience – Reason
- How do we read the Bible? The simple answer is TOGETHER across spaces, times, etc. and ALWAYS
It matters what we bring to the text
- God is active in our lives all the time through many different ways and we bring all of that to the text
- God has been active throughout history and in other places Experience and Tradition help us bring that to the text
What we’re fighting
- Plain reading of the text
- Layers of context and culture moving from Hebrew/Greek to English sometimes passing through Latin
- Layers of experience
- Layers of reason
We, as UMCers, believe Jesus is THE WORD. The text is revelation but THE WORD is Jesus.
- So everything we read has to be held up to the revelation of God’s nature in Jesus
- Each conclusion/interpretation we come up with must match up the whole tenor of Scripture and the revelation of Jesus
Bring our WHOLE selves to the text
- What have we experienced in life? What have others experienced? What does science and psychology teach us?
- What does tradition teach? What have Wesleyans said about this? What are the creedal statements and the hymns and liturgies about this?
- Does it make sense? Are we skipping steps in our conclusions and interpretations?
What we can’t do: Assume we are perfectly right – we have to hold a bit of humility that we might be wrong!