More on Bible Study
The truth that Scripture is the Word of God and is to be used to measure the church’s beliefs and actions is a faith decision made by the church, past and present. The reason that some ancient texts are part of Scripture and others are not is that the early church said so. We remain committed to that witness. That means that Scripture and the church are interdependent. There is no Scripture without the church and there is no church without the Scripture. We trust that the Biblical writings represent not just the opinions of ancient people but the voice of God.
What God has given us in Scripture is a collection of testimonies inspired by God over a long period of time and mediated to us by a variety of people in a variety of cultures who did not all have the same ideas about God. No matter what we might wish God has given us, what God has in fact given us is not a set of rules but a conversation among people who experienced God and tried to express their experiences in words.
Because the Bible cannot be reduced to a single unifying principle, it demands interpretation by the community of Christians. As Baptist Christians, we readily acknowledge that there is not one interpretation of the Bible that trumps all others. That is why we are committed to listen to each other respectfully with an intent to learn from those with whom we disagree.
- We do not teach people to use the Bible to make lists of rules.
- We do not empower people to impose their interpretations on others.
- We do not encourage people to use the Bible as a moral roadmap that will absolve them from making difficult decisions.
- We do not encourage people to see Jesus as merely a moral example to imitate.
- We do hope that people will grasp the overall Biblical narrative and find their own stories in God’s story.
- We do want people to understand that God is real and is part of their lives. We want them to own their faith.
- We hope that the teaching that goes on here will not give simple answers but will muddy the waters and encourage youth and adults to evaluate and critique easy answers.