Some Thoughts on Bible Reading

Open BibleSome thoughts on Bible reading for your morning:

1. Never read a Bible verse. Always read at least a paragraph, preferably more. Best is reading a whole book (more on that below). You can make any one verse mean any number of things, but considering the larger context of passage places that verse within a more meaningful narrative, making it easier to understand what the verse is saying. So always read verses within their larger narrative context.

2. Keep a couple of different versions on-hand. Having two or three different Bibles around serves as a reminder that English Bibles are translations and that, whatever you may believe about inerrancy and inspiration, translations are neither. Having multiple versions around also enables you to draw upon different renderings of a passage when you try to understand what’s being said. Not all translations are created equal, of course, and which translations you choose will vary based on your preferences and Bible knowledge. But keep a couple different versions around. Continue reading

Thoughts on Reading the Bible

BibleTen thoughts on reading the Bible:

1. Never read a Bible verse. Always read at least a paragraph, preferably more. Best is reading a whole book (more on that below). You can make any one verse mean any number of things, but considering the larger context of passage places that verse within a more meaningful narrative, making it easier to understand what the verse is saying. So always read verses within their larger narrative context. Continue reading

The Catholic Reformation of the Individual

St. Peters Basilica

St. Peters Basilica

The sixteenth century was for Western Europe a time of much socio-theological consternation and change. Numerous theological reformations occurred (or sought to occur) in a variety of social contexts, for a plethora of reasons, and employing numerous methodologies. One such reformation was that of the institutional Catholic Church under the auspices of such leaders as Girolamo Savonarola and Ignatius of Loyola. These two theologians, whilst occasionally interacting with the theologies of other contemporary reformation attempts apart from the Catholic church, crafted reformation theologies within the institution of the Catholic Church. In this essay we examine some of the reforming perspectives of these men, noting that central to their conception of reformation within the Catholic Church was the reformation of the individual Christian. Continue reading

Book Review: Revelations of Divine Love (Julian of Norwich)

Revelations of Divine LoveIn the history of the great theological and spiritual tradition known as Christianity, there have been a plentitude of insightful and profound writings by a heterogeneous mix of individuals and communities. In the nearly two millennia since the Jesus Movement began, only a choice few of these works have risen to the become the proverbial ‘crème of the crop.’ In considering devotional literature, especially that of the European medieval period, one finds such a seminal writing in Revelations of Divine Love as recounted by St. Julian of Norwich.[1] Long a favorite for both spiritual and academic treatment, Revelations yet provides modern readers with a wealth of insights concerning the sixteen revelatory experiences of which Julian writes and reflects. Revelations continues to demand attention and study, as it presents a clear example of fourteenth century European monastic Christian piety and additionally evidencing a rich literature for potential personal application in spiritual reflection and devotion. In this review, we will sketch the contours of Julian’s account before turning to consideration of the importance of understanding her revelations in today’s context. Though brief, we hope to demonstrate in this review that, while some of St. Julian’s showings and theological insights may seem antiquated in our postmodern context, her insights continue to provide contemporary readers with many academic and spiritual insights. Continue reading