17 March 2014 DVD series “Exploring Open Christianity” Episode 5: ‘Exploring the Future of the Bible’ with Greg Jenks

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Greg had a conservative Christian upbringing – buying a Scofield Bible instead of a train set.  It was a number of years before he came to realise that the Scofield was not the Bible, but instead gave a particular theological perspective of the Bible, eg that Moses didn’t write the first 5 books.  Now an understanding of history and archaeology provides an opportunity to explore the alternative views and interpretations within it’s framework – it’s very human-ness and historical significance has made questioning an imperative.  The Bible is not a set of answers, but people’s experiences often in situations of stress or conflict.  Hence need to let each of the Gospels stand on their own and not try to reconcile the different views and experiences of the writers.

Greg conjecture’s that no-one thinks everything in the Bible should be taken literally; his starting point is that nothing in it should be taken literally.  It’s analogous to a musical score – it’s not the score that is important; it’s the interpretation by the conductor & musicians and then the interpretation of the resulting sound by each listener that is important.  One’s interpretation of the Bible says more about you, than about the Bible text!  We need to engage with it.  It is not a ‘constitution’ used to prove one’s point of view.  [Somewhat off topic, Greg notes that a lot of church activity is organisational – not discussion of theology, spirituality or the Bible – how true!]

Technology has and will continue to have a significant impact on the Bible – at the moment not clear where this will end.  Paper material is read differently than electronic media.  Hyperlinks can be a distraction or assist understanding.  Less need to memorise verses – can easily search for them.  Books are likely to become less important in Western society where the Bible has been ‘the predominant book’ that everyone for many centuries knew stories from or had read pieces of.  There is a lot of ‘Christian’ material on the web at present – of very variable quality.  Over time Greg thought this will settle in a similar manner to the 200+years it took to agree on the Cannon for the Bible.

Ian Harris

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