“Bible study is a dynamic, progressive, continuous process that teaches us to find ways to engage the text with reason and experience, seeking God’s wisdom for our lives and applying these to our current realities.” –RenewalWorks
Scripture is the story of God’s creation and God’s people that opens the door to understanding the presence and purposes of God in the midst of nature, history and our personal journeys. We believe Jesus is the lived Word of God who reveals what constitutes a whole and authentic life. His radical trust in God and freedom to reimagine the traditions of his people call us to follow in his way of trust and freedom. But studying Scripture is more than reading a collection of ancient writings; it is an ongoing process of dynamic engagement with God, others and Creation—one that invites us to become part of this dialogue and find ourselves in the narratives it offers.
While Christians no longer add to the written canon, each generation who engages the Bible offers their own insights, interpretations, experiences, and meanings. “The function of Scripture is to carve out a creative space in which the work of the Holy Spirit can yield fruit in our lives of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Once we recognize the creative space that Scripture offers, we find God’s Word illuminates who we are and who we might become.”
Interpreting the Bible
“Scripture is the doorway to experiencing the Word of God more deeply not only through written word or conversations around the table but in our actions, in our relationships in our lives. This is why we study and read Scripture–to relate to God’s Word as a way of life.” –RenewalWorks
The Bible contains revolutionary ideas and timeless truths – the equality of all humanity and the inherent dignity of all human life created in the image of God; the command to love strangers (and enemies); and a call to care for the poor and the outcast. Such a vision remains vital for all people.
Scripture also contains difficult texts that promote violence, killing, the subjugation of women, even genocide. Wrestling with earlier teachings, we learn to recognize the text for what it is (moving beyond literal concerns) to engage Scripture with updated knowledge and personal experience that allows the Word to newly inform, guide, and transform us.
Early Church theologian Augustine of Hippo offers the following method to read and engage God’s Word more fully and deeply:
- Literal: Read Scripture and study commentaries and sources that critically examine the meaning of the text.
- Allegorical: What else might this story indicate? How does this point to Jesus, the sacraments, and your Christian faith? What does this encourage us to believe?
- Moral: What does this story encourage us to do?
- Anagogical: What in this story lifts us up to God? Where do we experience eternity, peace, joy, transcendence? What does the story reveal that we should desire and hope for?
Engaging Scripture at St. Michael’s
Weekly Bible Study
Gather with clergy and parishioners on Wednesday nights to study and discuss Scripture seeking God’s wisdom for our lives through the lens of knowledge and lived experience.
Hearing God’s Call — How can my faith help me lead a more balanced life? How can I identify and follow God’s voice when there are so many options and motives? How can I grow spiritually by loving, praising, and serving God and others? Join us as we walk with Moses, Mary, Abraham, and others in Scripture who teach us the art of hearing God’s call. All are welcome to come learn the art of discernment – finding God in all things!
The Bible Challenge
Join us on a challenging venture to engage the Bible every day for a year! Set aside 15-30 minutes each day and experience how the Word of God can inspire, transform, and strengthen you to know God in daily life. Daily readings include selections from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and a Psalm.
Men of St. Mike’s Bible Study
The Men of St. Mike’s monthly bible study provides an opportunity to delve deeply into a Scriptural passage in a way Sunday mornings or the “Bible Challenge” do not. Meets 7:00-8:00pm on the third Tuesday of each month.
In the Episcopal Church, we primarily read the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. This translation is used by a large number of denominations and is strongly supported by respected Bible scholars.
For those seeking easier readability, the Common English Bible is an exciting new translation that combines similar academic rigor with a limited vocabulary.
If you’re looking to purchase a Bible (either paper or electronic), here are a few suggestions:
- For serious study (paper): New Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV) or The Harper Collins Study Bible (NRSV)
- For serious study (electronic): Olive Tree (Android, iOS, Kindle Fire)
- For readability (paper): Thinline Common English Bible
- For readability (electronic): NeuBible with CEB (currently iPhone only)
- For young children: Spark Story Bible
- For Jewish-Christian families: TANAKH from Jewish Publication Society
- For examining the Hebrew and Greek: Blue Letter Bible
More resources coming soon.