As Christians, we say we follow what the Bible teaches. We describe it as God’s Word, and we say it is inspired and authoritative. It talks about love and forgiveness, but it also prohibits eating shellfish and says that adulterers should be executed. Some Christians use it to justify things that other Christians find abhorrent.
The Bible was written a very long time ago, over many centuries, in a very different world from today. Is it possible to interpret its teachings for today’s Belfast in a faithful and consistent way, without either taking it impractically literally or spiritualizing it to suit what we think it should say?
In this short series, we will look at the Bible, its message, and how we can find meaning in it for today’s world. We will put the case that there is a way to handle the Bible faithfully and consistently, in a way that guides us and challenges us, while remaining relevant. These talks won’t be heavily technical, academic talks, and they won’t answer all our questions. They are aimed to be devotional and exciting and to give us the confidence that we can find meaning and guidance in the Bible, and to inspire us to read more.
Sunday evening 21st September 7pm – The Story of the Bible.
The 66 books of the Bible do add together to tell us one overall story. We will look at this grand narrative and the sort of God it describes. We will see how the different books contribute to the story, and how knowing where they fit helps us to interpret their relevance for us.
Sunday evening 5th October 7pm - The Literature of the Bible
Some Bible books are history, some are poetry, some are letters, others are prophetic writings. Just as we don’t read Seamus Heaney the same way as we read the Belfast Telegraph, so we will look at how we can’t read Deuteronomy or Psalms the same way as we read Revelation or Luke’s Gospel.
Sunday evening 19th October 7pm – Focusing In
We might look at some specific passages and see how knowing what type of writing they are and where they fit in the story, helps us to know how what they say applies to us. Or we might pick a part of the story that isn’t so well known and look at it and see what we can learn from it.