So, maybe it'll be a chance for a number of us to start a discussion. To really look into what God says, and think critically about it. I'm nervous, but I'm praying I'm moving in the right direction.
I'm going to open tomorrow with my vision:
I want this to be a collaborative Bible study. That means that I want us all to be able to contribute to the discussion. I don't believe I'm qualified to be teaching - to impart my knowledge of God and God's word to you. We all have a lot to learn, and we all need to be better students of the Bible.
So, I'll lead the discussion. I'll tend to read and research, and guide the discussion. And keep us on track when we need to be focused. But, if we want to get off-track, and follow where the Spirit leads us, that's fine, too. I don't want to be all over the place, but if, when we're taking a specific path, you find that you've got something you want to understand, research, or discuss, bring it up. Maybe that can be our next discussion.
I'm hoping we can use this to jump-start some Bible study in our own lives. In addition to coming here and discussing these things, we all need to be able to go back and do our own reading and research. If I had a Ph.D. in New Testament Theology, maybe I'd be qualified to share the depths of my knowledge with you, but as it is, I think we all need to be studying and teaching each other. I hope that's ok.
So, we're going to use the Bible as our primary source. But - we all know that we all read the Bible a little differently. The greatest Bible scholars have read the Bible differently. And what we're working with here is a a translation of a copy of of a copy. So I think we need to be able to disagree, and have discussion, and read other sources.
If you've read something that contributes to the discussion we're having. - in a book, or a blog, or a Facebook status - feel free to bring it. I think that reading outside sources is important and necessary. Regardless if we disagree with them or not. They may be more important if we disagree with them - that will make us study harder and dig deeper into God's Word. And God's Word says that teaching is a spiritual gift - and I don't see anything that says that teachers can't be writers, bloggers, or friends on Facebook. Always keeping in mind what Paul said to the church at Thessalonica: "Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good."
St. Augustine (in the 5th Century) wrote something that I really like:
"In matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scripture passages which can be interpreted in very different ways without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such cases, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search of truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it. That would be to battle not for the teaching of Holy Scripture but for our own, wishing its teaching to conform to ours, whereas we ought to wish ours to conform to that of Sacred Scripture."