Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Reading the Bible: a personal story of scripture

The last entery in my New Testament Journal:
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“This is the repeated discovery of generations of Bible readers. “I meet that in Scripture,” said Coleridge “which finds me”. (Henry Cadbury, 1959)

“I don’t read Scripture to learn doctrine.
I don’t read it to find answers to every question.
I read it to find God.” (Carole Spencer 1999)


I read the Bible both as a scholar and as a person of faith. As a historian I have
found it impossible to look at anything without looking at it through the lenses of a scholar. However as a person of faith I am also constantly searching for my own faith throughout the Bible. When I come right down to it, I feel that I am examine the Bible both from the perspective of understanding it historically as an ancient text and all of the things that go with this and as the holy scripture of my faith. Does this work, is the question many Biblical scholars ask them selves and some like Ehrman, would say no.
However I believe that it can and must be done. Christians who’s faith is weak enough that it will crumble by discovering the historical truths behind the Bible and carefully reading scripture, should already be seriously questioning what it is that their faith in built on. I personally only find my faith strengthened from studying the Bible from a historical perspective, it not only adds layers of meaning I had not thought of previously, but also gives me answers to parts of the Bible I would other wise find troubling or confusing. I also study the Bible as a person of faith. According to my faith I do not believe that the Bible is the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I believe it is a sacred text that reflects my personal faith beliefs and experiences. While having a discussion with some of my (F)friends about New Testament classes at Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion I mentioned Ehrman’s particular tendency to be as my friend put it “evangelically atheist”. We talked about some of the examples I feel Ehrman uses for no academic reason except to shock Christian readers. My friend pointed out that most main stream Protestants probably would be shocked by studying the Bible historically. I responded that no matter what I found out about historical Bible study or the historical Jesus my faith would stay in tact because that was not what my faith was based on.
In the end after all it comes down to this, really, my faith is based on my personal experience of God. Therefore when I experience God through scripture that is a blessing when I don’t, I don’t, that is all. Through reading the Bible I have found parts that frustrate me, and parts so beautiful they move me to tears, in this way reading the Bible is like experiencing God.
“May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.” ( Galatians 6:18)

7 comments:

NaNcY said...

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15: 13

reflect06 said...

"In the end after all it comes down to this, really, my faith is based on my personal experience of God. Therefore when I experience God through scripture that is a blessing when I don’t, I don’t, that is all."

a commendably mature and balanced take. would like to add something about God's spirit of inspiration coming and going. sometimes something will strike you, other times not. God is still there- one can still talk to Him.

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