What we believe and say about  THE BIBLE

Things we say about the Bible in the church:      

  • We take the Bible seriously not literally. ·        
  • I don’t know if it happened this way or not but I know it is true.       
  • Let us begin our worship as the Bible enters the Sanctuary.  

A Few facts about the Bible: ·        

  • 66 different books ·        
  • Material from over 1600 years of history.      
  • The oldest material is most likely the book of Job, although there is oral material that may be older.
  •  The newest material: most likely the Book of Revelation or letters of John.   
  • The oldest book in New Testament: Galatians - written around 42AD     
  • The newest book in Protestant Canon “Old Testament” Daniel
  • The most common message from God in both Testaments: “Do not be Afraid”
  • The word Testament comes from the Latin for Covenant.
  • The New Covenant or Testament is a reference to Jeremiah 31.
  • We now speak of the Hebrew Scriptures rather than the Old Testament to affirm the value of the Covenant God made with the People of Israel.

Different types of writings in the Bible:

  • Metaphorical
  • Symbolical
  • Allegorical
  • Parables
  • Historical accounts
  • Poetry
  • Ritual and liturgy
  • Mythological story
  • Prophetic declaration
  • Apocalyptic writing
  • Prayers
  • Songs
  • Letters

Interpretative considerations.

  • Historical context
  • Social and cultural issues and context
  • Literary context – Where is this passage placed in the larger context of this particular book?
  • Word study: What is the meaning of words in this passage in the original language?
  • How did the first readers of this text understand the meaning?
  • Do the translations suggest that there are potential theological decisions made by the translator? Check the footnotes in your Bible or look at a few versions and take note of the differences.

From 1992 General council of the United Church of Canada report on the authority and interpretation of scripture:

The authority of the Bible is found:

  • in the interrelationship of the individual and the community
  • in the interrelationship of the past and the future
  • In the struggle to understand God’s word for us today
  • In the act of engaging which confirms or denies that authority
  • In the conviction, liberation, and transformation that it brings two our personal and community lives. 

To Engage the Bible Faithfully is:

  • To engage in a discussion of power, justice, and writing relationships; 
  • To engage in a dialogue that is life-affirming;
  • To enter into a journey that takes seriously the pain of the world and our response to that pain.

Engaging the Bible is:

  • A dynamic activity where we do not simply engage the text but are engaged by it;
  • Most faithfully done in the Community;
  • Enlivened by the power of the Spirit;
  • Authoritative when it is experienced as liberating.