I’ve been engaged in some form of Bible study for more than 30 years. Ever since I attended a small study group for young mothers at Selwyn Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC in 1978, I’ve been hooked. I’ve regularly participated in Bible study since then because I often find it difficult to understand scripture on my own. Too often, I’m left wondering, “What’s the point? What does this really mean – especially in the context of today?”
It’s been life-changing to discover that there certainly IS a point. And that the Bible still speaks to us as the most amazing, fascinating, complex and inspiring book ever written…. especially if we take the time to delve deeper.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
- The Bible is a record of God’s abiding, compassionate presence and participation throughout the history of humankind
- Scripture should be interpreted in the light of the historical context and literary form and as theological vs. literal truth
- God continually creates order out of chaos, works for good, tells us to trust his promises, and persists in wanting to be in relationship with us
- Learning what God has done in the past gives us hope for the future
- The Bible’s message is rooted in love, ultimately demonstrated to us by God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ and by the one commandment that summarizes all commandments: to love God and to love all our neighbors
- The most important thing the Bible tells us is who we are, who God is, and who we are in relationship with God
- Don’t lose sight of these basic themes when trying to understand a specific verse
Intrigued? I hope so – I certainly am. I encourage you to nurture your own understanding of scripture by digging deeper this fall. “Bible for Beginners” welcomes newcomers at monthly evening gatherings – you’ll see me there. Coffee Cup Bible study for women will again be held on Wednesday mornings. In October, our Theologian-in-Residence, the Rev. Dr. Brian Blount, will offer weekend lectures focusing on the Gospel of Mark. And other opportunities will be posted in the worship bulletin and in eNews. No time for a class? You’ll gain weekly insight from our pastor’s sermons, which you can access on our website if you miss a Sunday service.
Here’s to active engagement in understanding God’s word – and a closer relationship to God!