Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Biblical Scholarship, Jesus, and Religious Education


What should Friends in the unprogrammed tradition teach about the Bible? About Jesus? I often hear these questions asked. Certainly, we should teach the classic narratives and poetry and the discursive passages which have spoken powerfully to people in every generation for thousands of years. The really big question, I believe, is not what to teach, but how. Friends have long said we should read scripture in that Light in which it was written. I believe this means reading prayerfully with deep honesty, integrity, and compassion, and with vulnerable humility. If we so read scripture, I think we would be surprised with each new reading. The Bible contains words about the Word, but is not that Word itself. Friends are clear about this. But God can use those words like a marvelous trickster to open up new places within us. The religious educator helps provide environments for this opening and offers opportunities for others to share with the community the measure of Light, or Truth, given them through their prayerful engagement with Biblical texts.

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