Introducing Quakers: Bible Study
Bible Study is an activity in which (primarily) Christians study the text of the Bible in order to achieve a greater understanding of the message of Christianity and its spiritual roots, with the purpose of taking them forwards on their spiritual journey, and often with a view to strengthening their Christian faith.
The Bible is a sanctioned collection of texts considered sacred in Judaism and Christianity. There are many ways in which the Bible is studied academically, including:
- studying the history of individual texts and documents;
- studying Biblical documents in support of or to challenge archaeological and anthropological evidence of past times;
- the history of the development of a Biblical canon, the discarding of texts, and their relationship to heresy;
- literary analysis of texts; and so on.
A copy of a King James bible, open at
the first chapter of the Book of Genesis.
Bible Study is an activity in which (primarily) Christians study the text of the Bible in order to achieve a greater understanding of the message of Christianity and its spiritual roots, with the purpose of taking them forwards on their spiritual journey, and often with a view to strengthening their Christian faith. Bible study may be, therefore, of particular interest to those who identify themselves more obviously as Christian. Many Quakers individually engage in private Bible Study, at least from time to time.
“Christians do not merely study the Bible as an academic disciple, but with the desire to know God better. Therefore, they frequently pray that God will give them understanding of the passage being studied. They also consider it necessary to consider what they read with an attitude of respect, rather than the critical attitude which is frequently followed in formal study. To them, the Bible is not just a sacred book, but is the very Word of God, that is, a message from God which has direct relevance to their daily lives.” [Wikipedia, Bible Study (Christian), retrieved 29 May 2015]
A more definite shape is given to Bible Study when it is undertaken in a small group. It is usual for a sequence of Bible Study sessions to adopt a theme, and for a number of Biblical passages to be identified in advance, thus permitting study ahead of time, so that participants may prepare, should they wish to do so. Each of the passages is examined in turn, in a sequence of sessions stretching perhaps over a few weeks or months.
Attendance at a Bible Study session tends be a little more ‘open’ than attendance for a Study Group, although maybe rather more regular and predictable compared with the ad hoc Meeting for Learning.