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Lesson 5 – “Position 4”

WHITTIER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
“How We Read the Bible”
Fall 2011

Session 5 – Nov. 9, 2011

Opening Prayer

Opening Quote:   The sermons of Ambrose convinced me that all those deceptive knots others had died around the Scriptures could be untied.  As I listened to him, I was ashamed that I had been barking all those years, not against the Church but against imaginary doctrines.  I had impulsively spoken against things I should first have learned more about.  The Church never taught these things I accused her of teaching.  It was refreshing to hear Ambrose repeat so often to his congregation, the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Augustine, (354-430)  “Confessions”

Position 4

Portions of the Bible, including some of its theological and ethical positions, may not be the inspired Word of God.

 Material from the guidelines  (Guidelines give confession background for each)
http://oga.pcusa.org/publications/scripture-use.pdf

It is in Jesus Christ that God deals decisively with humanity and constitutes the church.  This affirmation implies that all Scripture is to be interpreted in light of the centrality of Christ and in relation to the salvation provided through him. This principle requires a use of Scripture that recognizes Jesus Christ as its center, though not one that regards every text as a witness to Jesus.
At the most direct level of application, this principle means that any teaching of the Bible on a matter of faith or life is to be used in a manner consistent with scriptural accounts of Jesus’ own teaching and embodiment of the person and will of God.  (PDF p. 16)
The fundamental expression of God’s will is the two-fold commandment to love God and neighbor, and all interpretations are to be judged by the question whether they offer and support the love given and commanded by God. When interpretations do not meet this criterion, it must be asked whether the text has been used correctly in the light of the whole Scripture and its subject.
Any interpretation of Scripture is wrong that separates or sets in opposition love for God and love for fellow human being, including both love expressed in individual relations and in human community (social justice). No interpretation of Scripture is correct that leads to or supports contempt for any individual or group of persons either within or outside of the church. Such results from the interpretation of Scripture plainly indicate that the rule of love has not been honored. This rule reminds us forcefully that as the rule of faith and life, Scripture is to be interpreted not just to discover what we are to think or what benefits we receive from God in Christ, but to discover how we are to live

Every reading, confession, and theology that refers to Scripture is subject to testing by further and more faithful searching of the Scripture to see if it is genuinely in accord with the Bible’s witness.  Where interpretations of Scripture are in tension with the rule of faith, those interpretations should be examined carefully and critically out of concern to maintain the continuity of tradition. On the other hand, we must also reckon with the fact that the past interpretations embodied in the rule of faith are also fallible and susceptible to revision on the basis of Scripture itself. Thus no doctrinal or ethical interpretation of Scripture, whether long established or new, is to be accepted as a final word, but is always subject to possible revision and correction as a result of further study of Scripture.

Our focus Scriptures

Old Testament New Testament:
Genesis 1 & 2 Matthew 5:17-48;
Exodus 20:1-17; Luke 1:26-38;
Leviticus 12 & 18; John 6:1-14, 16-21;
Joshua 6:21, 8:26; 11:20; Romans 1:26-32;
Isaiah 40; I Thessalonians 4:13-18;
Ezekiel 1 & 37. Revelation 7 & 21:1-4

Closing Prayer

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