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Making Sense of the Bible

4/10/16 – 5/22/16

The Bible is a wonderful, disturbing, perplexing and inspiring book. I love it, and I wrestle with it! There’s no shortage of questions that I have about the “clear teaching of scripture” and I imagine that you have similar questions. We will spend some time looking at some foundational questions like “How and when was the Bible written? How literally must we read it? Is the Bible ever wrong? Then we will address some key questions about the Bible’s power and authority today with respect to Science, Changing Social Values, and Violence in the Bible. The series is based on the book of the same name by United Methodist pastor Rev. Adam Hamilton.

April 10 – Who Wrote the Bible? – 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
April 17 – Making Sense of the Old Testament – 2 Kings 25:1-12, 24b
April 24 – Making Sense of the New Testament – John 1:1-18
May 1 – Do we have to Ignore Modern Science? – Genesis 1:1-2:3
May 8 – Making Sense of the Violence – Exodus 32:25-29, 2 Samuel 24:15-17
May 15 – What do we do with Challenging Passages? – Matthew 7:12, 22:35-40, Acts 2:1-5
May 22 – Should our Social Values ever Change? – 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2:8-15

should our social values change?

Should our Social Values Change?

Do the social values and the literal words in the Bible stand forever? As the world’s cultural values shift, should we shift with them or should we remain true to the literal words we read in our Holy Scriptures? We are called to be in the world but not of the world. Much of Christianity is counter-cultural, so when there is a Biblical precedent set for how to behave we have to be really careful to see whether we change with the culture or whether we push back and hold onto the values we’ve always held. Our understanding of Biblical interpretation plays a large part in this. There are often Christians on both sides of an issue. And yes, if it is a hot-button issue, then Church splits occur when Christians hold different positions on treasured views. (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2:8-15)

making sense of the violence

Making Sense of the Violence

Violent passages in the Bible, and specifically in the Old Testament, rightly trouble thoughtful Christians. They also give fodder to those who argue that it is religion that is the source of much of the violence in the world. How can these actions that God is said to command be reconciled with a God of mercy, compassion, justice and love? (Exodus 32:25-29, 2 Samuel 24:15-17, Luke 6:32-36)

do we have to ignore modern science?

Do we have to Ignore Modern Science?

If you want to repair a car will reading a hymnal help you? No! If you what to sing a song will reading a car repair manual help? No! You read a car repair manual if you want to do auto maintenance and a music book if you want to sing the lyrics. The same is true with the Bible. You need to know what type of book it is, and therefore what type of questions it will and will not answer! (Genesis 1:1-2:3)

making sense of the new testament

Making Sense of the New Testament

The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) paint a more human picture of Jesus with hints of his divinity. John portrays Jesus as more divine with hints of his humanity. You can see this divinity shining through in the opening passage of John as we read today: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.” (John 1:1-18)

who wrote the bible?

Who Wrote the Bible?

What does it mean when Paul says in his letter to Timothy that “all scripture is inspired by God?” Does it mean that God dictated every single word, guiding the author to write exactly what God intended, and that it is free from human error and infallible and the words apply literally for all time? (2 Timothy 3:14-4:5)