Over the course of this month, we will explore some of the theories and interpretations Ehrman presents, but this week it might be good to explore our backgrounds.
- What traditions have we come from and how did those traditions approach the Bible?
- Were you taught that the Bible was the inerrant word of God? And what exactly did that mean?
- Did your tradition interpret the Bible literally, metaphorically, or dynamically?
- Did your tradition even admit that the Bible is interpreted at all?
- Did you ever encounter the historical and cultural setting of the Bible or did that matter?
- Was the Bible presented as the Word of God or the writings of men, and what did that mean for how it was read?
- Have you ever even heard of textual criticism, original documents, or translation issues?
- Was the Bible the fourth member of the Trinity and the first point on your church's statement of faith or was it a coffee table decoration?
- And were those to saw the Bible differently that the tradition you were a part of looked upon with scorn and derision or not even considered real Christians?
This whole issue is a very emotionally charged issue for many. I remember when I first encountered (at Wheaton like Ehrman) the idea that there are other valid ways of interpreting scripture and being a Christian than that with which I had grown up. I was fascinated by that and sought to explore and learn more. Others I knew denied the idea and shut down any conversation on that topic. I still get nasty comments and emails from fundamentalists when I bring up the mere concept of Biblical interpretation on my blog. So I want to start this month's discussion with a time to share our stories. To let each other know our journeys and our struggles. I ask for truthfulness and respect and hope that we can better understand what this issue looks like from a wide variety of perspectives.