A few times in recent years different groups or classes have asked if the PC(USA) has a particular approach to reading and studying the Bible. Indeed we do.
Because the congregations in our denomination cover the landscape when it comes to how best to interpret scripture, in the 1990s the Office of Theology and Worship prepared some excellent materials on the topic. They also offered guidelines that every congregation can use. A bookmark of these guidelines has been shared with the Morningstars (the Tuesday Morning Bible Study class). Now we’ve had posters made for spaces where Bible study takes place on a regular basis. The one for Hatcher Conference room has already been hung. The other will go up in Fellowship Hall soon.
Here is what the Office of Theology and Worship recommends, and what is on the posters. Now those who come into the building on a casual basis will be able to get a sense of where we stand in relationship to our scared text. May these guidelines be helpful to you in this season of contemplation.
Guidelines for Seeking the Meaning of Scripture
† Keep Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, at the center.
† Rely on the Holy Spirit in interpreting and applying God’s message.
† Be guided by the rule of faith: the doctrinal consensus of the church expressed in its
creeds, confessions, and catechisms.
† Let all interpretation be in accord with the rule of love: the two-fold commandment
to love God and neighbor.
† Focus on the plain text, in its grammatical and historical context.
† Remember, all interpretation requires earnest study.
† Seek to interpret a particular passage in light of the whole Bible.
Scripture Readings: Genesis 12:1-4a; Psalm 121; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3:1-17.
The prayer list can be found here.