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Friendly Bible Study at New Haven Friends Meeting
Six and a half years this group has been taking small steps through the Bible and we are finishing Revelation.
No, that doesn’t mean we have read the whole Bible. We have been taking on different books throughout the six and a half years. We read four to five chapters and go into silence. We select one verse or chapter to reflect on. Coming out of silence we dig deeper into what had reflected in each other. We listen to the words that one reflects and learn from each other. Our structure is based on these five queries, excerpted here from Joanne and Larry Spears’ Friendly Bible Study:
1.What is the author's main point in this passage?
This question helps each member focus on what the author says. Each person must address the text directly in a relationship formed between reader and author. It is easy to express our own ideas on the subject. However, we each ask ourselves 'what the author actually said'. A variety of responses can help the group see the whole of the passage more clearly.
2.What new light do I find in this particular this passage of the text?
This question reminds us of the continuing revelation in our lives from both unfamiliar and familiar passages. Each reading can bring some new or renewed insight. That insight may be small or great. This answer may grow with more and more points as the group works through the passage with other questions.
3.Is this passage true to my experience?
The focus here is on comparing the message of the Bible passage with each person's experience in life. Our spiritual journeys are "experiential'' as we search toward fuller understanding. It consistently opens up new insights for everyone in the group. There is a reaching from the text back to our lives.
4. What are the implications of this passage for my life?
The answer to this question may provide implications for living at any of several levels of spiritual life.
5.What problems do I have with this passage?
Here we share with the group any problems with language in the text, of interpretation, of meaning, or of applying the text to our lives. Problems can be identified without being solved. This question reminds us that study of a passage is a continuing process.
We added a sixth query: "How does this reflect in Quakerism?"
We have found that weekly attendance on Wednesday evenings has deepened our community as it filters into our worship on Sundays and care for each other. We are a diverse group of people with diverse experience and knowledge of the Bible. We struggle within the word and struggle to capture the meaning deeper than the word. We laugh, we cry and we deeply care about this community.
If other meetings are interested in our experience with Bible study, please contact New Haven Friends.