Number of weeks: 2
Required books?: No
Live video session?: No
Part of a certification or series of courses?: No
The bible is a living document. More correctly, the words of scripture are brought to life by the work of the Holy Spirit among us. Certain lines, verses, or sayings from the bible may take on a different life depending on the circumstances of our life and times. We revere scripture, in part, for its ability to inform and transform multiple dimensions of our life. Also, scripture brings to us a way to connect with a tradition that points us to Jesus; from the words of the bible, we are introduced the Word.
Reading the bible well is a good thing. But, using the bible to say what it doesn’t, or to sound like it says something it never did — that’s another thing completely.
There are three kinds of bible verses people may use.
First, there are the correct ones, like “love your enemies,” which then guide our loving actions toward others, especially enemies.
Second, there are the verses that get twisted to mean something that they don’t really mean, “God won’t give you a burden greater than you can bear,” (which isn’t even what the verse says, but it sounds bible-ish) but still somehow get used over and again, or “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you.”
And third, there are the verses that aren’t even really verses. They’re not in the bible at all, but kind of sound like they might; like, “When God closes a door, he opens a window,” or, “spare the rod, spoil the child.”
Over this course, we will look at many of these verses or cultural proverbs that seem like scripture. We will look at how to use the bible well and carefully. In addition to reviewing bible interpretation tools and interpretive traditions (Calvinist, Free-will, Eastern Orthodox, etc.) as appropriate. From a spiritual formation and pastoral care perspective, we’ll look at what are we trying to do when we say more for God than the bible does and how our tendency to add meaning into scripture can be tested.
About the Instructor
Craig Morton is a church consultant and the co-pastor of the Mennonite church he and his wife, Karla, planted over 15 years ago in Meridian, Idaho; a suburb of Boise and one of the fastest growing cities in the United States.
Craig’s consulting work helps congregations with missional imagination and discernment, navigating difficult transitions, and transforming conflict. He recently completed his doctorate in Organizational Leadership and continues to study the practices of cohesion which support denominational unity.
Craig also teaches college courses in management, ethics, and organizational behavior at Northwest Nazarene University and other schools. From November through July, Craig coaches high school and advanced track athletes, specializing in sprinting and hurdles as well as doing speed and agility coaching, for Meridian High School, and the Treasure Valley YMCA Team Idaho Track and Field Club.
Together, he and Karla have four adult children, two grandsons, a border collie/Australian shepherd mix, and a rascally cat. He loves to be outside hiking, gardening, fishing, or camping, and loves to cook, bake artisan style breads, and experiment with new recipes. You can read his blog on Patheos.