Uncompromising Orthodoxy (Part Three): The Bible
By Cameron Silsbee and Levi Warren
Begin with prayer
Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting. Take a moment to sit in silence in the presence of Jesus and each other, and then have somebody pray to ask the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together.
Spend a few minutes and go around the group asking how your time reading Exodus 34 went.
Read this overview
The Bible is a collection of writings written over a span of about a thousand years. The various authors come from a variety of cultures and backgrounds that inform their writings. Despite all of this, the Scriptures tell an amazingly cohesive story of God’s salvation of the world in an artistic and sophisticated way. The Bible is much more than just a religious text, it is literature and art breathed out by God through his Spirit.
However, many read the Scriptures on a surface level only, assuming it is a simple, black and white manual for life in the modern world. When a person or church tradition approaches the Scriptures as, say, a rulebook for living a righteous life, that approach impacts how they read the Scriptures. Many modern approaches to the Scriptures do not respect the Bible as sophisticated literary art.
That doesn’t mean you need a Ph.D. just to understand the Bible. It means that the Scriptures are something that will need, reread, studied, explored, and contemplated throughout a person’s life. It will take a lifetime of wrestling, doubting, and learning to utilize the Scriptures as they are intended by God to be used. The Bible is good, but not simple.
Talk through the following discussion questions:
Before you work through the following discussion questions, have one person read out loud 2 Peter 3v15-16:
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 2 Peter 3v15-16
The Bible acknowledges that there are things within it that are hard to understand. As you discuss these questions, listen carefully to each other to come to an understanding of where everyone is at with their understanding of the Scriptures. Do your best to refrain from correcting, teaching, or debating.
- Is there anything in this season of life that is troubling to you in or about the Scriptures? If not, has there been anything in the past?
- How are you or have you sorted through something troubling in the Scriptures?
- What is or has been the impact on your relationship with Jesus when you’ve struggled with the Scriptures?
- What’s one thing in the Scriptures that you’ve found particularly meaningful, helpful, or comforting?
Talk about this week’s Practice as a Community:
For this week’s Practice, spend time reading and reflecting on how the Scriptures talk about itself. Set aside time to slowly read each of the following texts:
- Psalm 1
- 2 Timothy 3v14-17
- John 5v39-40
As you read each of these texts, consider how God might be teaching us to approach the Scriptures and how to view their purpose in our lives. Close in prayer by reading the Apostles’ Creed together.
Close in prayer
Close in prayer by having one person read the Apostles’ Creed over the group.
I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived from the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary,
who suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried,
descended into hell, rose again from the dead on the third day,
ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty, who will
come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.