A Bit of Quaker Bible Study for the Independent Minded

Don’t know much about the Bible, but think you would like to? Are you an independent-minded person who prefers to form your own judgments rather than simply accept the pronouncements of a traditional authority, no matter how venerable? You can start here.

  • A Respondent Spark: The Basics of Bible Study This book is also for people who want a practical approach. There is, of course, much more to this subject than could possibly fit into these few pages; but it is my hope that when you have finished it, and become familiar with the tools it describes, you will be able to pick up the ...
  • A Bit of Quaker Bible Study Part I There has been some recent talk on the list about the Bible being an objective authority for Friends. I believe the Bible is a valuable, even vital spiritual resource for Friends. But an objective authority? No. There are many difficulties with such a notion. One of the most serious can be put as a simple question: WHICH ...
  • A Bit of Quaker Bible Study-II There are hundreds of technical terms in this field, but we’ll only dwell on two: The first is “EXEGESIS.” Exegesis means simply interpretation; when you are exegeting a text, you are trying to make sense of it or explain it. A HERMENEUTICS, on the other hand, is what guides your exegesis: it is a set of ...
  • A Bit of Quaker Bible Study Part III In Part Two I spoke of the issue of who decides how the Bible is to be interpreted, which I call the Hermeneutical Issue of Power, or the HIP Question. Answers to the HIP Question have varied widely, but they can be arranged in a somewhat oversimplified but useful order like a pyramid: PBBBEEEEECCCCCCCIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII In this pyramid, the ...
  • A Bit of Quaker Bible Study Part IV Suppose you could make a list of all the people who have been officially authorized to interpret the Bible for Jews or Christians down through the centuries. Until just recently, despite the many denominations and cultures represented, practically everyone on such a list would have had one characteristic in common: Virtually all were men. Has this ...
  • Wisdom and Biblical Understanding Part 1 Several books in the Hebrew Scriptures are widely referred to as “Wisdom books,” in which is summed up much of a “wisdom tradition” that developed in ancient Israel. This series will discuss some aspects of these wisdom texts, in part for their intrinsic interest, and in part as a way of approaching the always challenging issue ...
  • Wisdom and Biblical Understanding Part 2 Deconstructing Wisdom The “deconstructionist” challenge to the complacent orthodoxy of Proverbs came about evidently because over the course of time, some of those who pursued the optimistic formulas for attaining the good life and its benefits presented in Proverbs, began to notice some major discrepancies between these proverbial texts and their lives. One powerful voice of these ...
  • Wisdom and Biblical Understanding Part 3 JOB: Another View You know the story: Job is rich and righteous, but Satan talks God into making a bet on how steadfast Job will be if he’s subjected to pointless and unjust suffering. So Job’s family is killed and he ends up covered with boils and sitting on a manure pile. And as if that’s not ...
  • Wisdom and Biblical Understanding Part 4 The Wisdom of Uncertainty One reason I’m convinced that the wisdom tradition is central to the understanding of the bible and biblical religion is that this tradition thereby legitimizes a condition of inner struggle and ambiguity of understanding that is very familiar in my life, and I think is familiar to many others today as well, ...
  • The Core Quaker Theology: Is There Such a Thing? Chuck FagerAdapted from a presentation atAmawalk Meeting, New York, 8th Mo 14, 2004 When I hear or read of questions about such things as “normative Quakerism,” or “authentic Quakerism” or “traditional Quakerism,” it usually means one of two things: either a person or group feels very much confused and at sea, and is honestly looking for ...