Resource Day Theme: Living Bible, Living Faith. Rev. Dr. Cheryl B. Anderson Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Question How do you “update” an ancient Scripture to meet the needs o f contemporary faith communities?. “And I believe that in 1978 God changed
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Living Bible, Living Faith
Rev. Dr. Cheryl B. Anderson
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
How do you “update” an ancient Scripture to meet the needs
Living in the midst
of other communities
(small group work)
Deuteronomy 7:1-2 and Deuteronomy 20:10-14
Esther 2:15-20 and Daniel 1:8-14
Deuteronomy 23:3-6 and Ezra 9:1-4, 10:1-5
Ruth 1:1-10, 4:13-17
Male and female
Song of Songs 4:9-16
Question Is divorce permissible?
Gospel of Mark: No
Gospel of Matthew: Yes, if the wife is guilty of sexual immorality
Gospel of Luke: No, but separation is acceptable
Question Is remarriage permissible?
Gospel of Mark: No, remarriage is adultery
Gospel of Matthew: No, remarriage is adultery
Gospel of Luke: No, remarriage is adultery
(small group work)
as found in the
Deuteronomistic History (Dtr H)
The Blessings and Curses Formula
If you are faithful, you will be blessed;
if you are not faithful, you will be cursed
The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD gave them into the hand of Midian for seven years. The hand of Midianprevailed over Israel; and because of
Midian the Israelites provided for themselves hiding-places in the mountains, caves, and
For whenever the Israelites put in seed, the Midianitesand the Amalekites and the people
of the east would come up
against them. . . .
Thus Israel was greatly impoverished because of Midian; and the Israelites cried out to the LORD for help.
because . . .”
‘Now therefore take seven bulls
and seven rams,
and go to my servant Job,
and offer up for yourselves
and my servant Job
shall pray for you,
for I will accept his prayer
not to deal with you according to your folly;
for you have not spoken of me what is right,
as my servant Job has done.’
Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him.”
Psalm LamentsNearly 1/3 of the 150 Psalms are laments
Expression of Confidence or Trust
Petition or Supplication
Expression of Praise or Vow to Praise
But, remember, there is Psalm 88 . . .
Write a Psalm of Lament for M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias
(small group work)
Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What do people gain from all the toil
at which they toil under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
Then I considered all that
my hands had done
and the toil I had spent
in doing it,
all was vanity
and a chasing after wind,
and there was nothing
to be gained
under the sun.
For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born,
and a time to die;
a time to plant,
and a time to
what is planted . . .
TTT: Somewhere Maybe 37, 555
TTSBMR: JR Rozko 1940
(The Byrds 1965)
“This Too Shall Be Made Right”
(Derek Webb, The Ringing Bell, 2007)
Jesus considers the impact of an interpretation on the marginalized
Then he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, “Honor your father and your mother”; and, “Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die.” But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, “Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban” (that is, an offering to God*)—then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on.And you do many things like this.’
Applying Interpretive Principles Revisited:Jesus and Inclusive Biblical Interpretation
Jesus’ new interpretation is grounded in the biblical tradition Example Matthew 23:23-28
‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.
‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness..
I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt-offerings and grain-offerings, I will not accept them;and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
The Biblical Tradition
Jesus identifies the absolute requirement of GodExample Matthew 22:34-40
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
Jesus includes the excluded (against traditional practices)Sinners and tax collectors…………….Mark 2:16Samaritan woman…………………….John 4:7-26Poor, crippled, blind, lame…..Luke 14:16-24; contrasted with Leviticus 21:16-20Bent-over woman healed on the SabbathLuke 13:10-17
16Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring; it does not say, “And to offsprings,” as of many; but it says, “And to your offspring,” that is, to one person, who is Christ. 17My point is this: the law, which came four hundred thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.
20When you come together, it is not really to eat the Lord’s supper. 21For when the time comes to eat, each of you goes ahead with your own supper, and one goes hungry and another becomes drunk. 22What! Do you not have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you show contempt for the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I commend you? In this matter I do not commend you!
Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.
Cheryl B. Anderson, Ancient Laws & Contemporary Controversies
(Oxford University Press, 2009)
Based on how Jesus and Paul interpreted Scripture, we learn that . . .
A law can be modified, amended, or rejected if it negatively impacts the marginalized and if the new approach is grounded in the biblical tradition, is consistent with the absolute requirement of God (the law of love), and works to include the excluded
Question How do you “update” an ancient Scripture to meet the needs of contemporary faith communities?
(small group work)
Question Can domestic violence be a rationale for divorce?
Contest the Received Faith Tradition
= payment for a sure way to heaven
Luther’s response: We are saved by grace alone through faith alone. We do not do good works in order to become acceptable to God; rather, because God accepts us we do good works
Context: Plagues, massive death, and insecurity about one’s relationship to God. Luther conveys a message of God’s love when that message was sorely needed
good works and salvation are no longer connected,
resulting in anxiety
Calvin’s response: The Calvinist saint is saved by faith undergirded and strengthened by works that attest divine presence and grace. He may not say that he is saved by these works, yet regular good works are clear signs of present divine favor and assure him that he is on the path to glory. Religious confidence is thus “formed” by the fruits of self-discipline as well as by the promises of God; in actual practice, good works are presumptive
evidence that one is among the elect
Context: Since God’s people needed to remain assured of God’s love,
a different context prompted a different theology
God’s election of some, not all
Wesley’s response: Salvation is
available to all, providing an
Important sense of worth to
middle and lower classes
Context: The Industrial Revolution was beginning and there were growing disparities between the rich and the poor
Communicating God’s love
Each of the major Protestant reformers provided new insights about God
to their faith community, and those insights met the community’s spiritual
needs. In other words, each of the reformers was aware of the everyday
realities of Christian believers and their corresponding experiences and doubts.
Clearly, Luther, Calvin, and Wesley did not write their theologies in a vacuum,
unaware of the cultural conditions around them. To the contrary, through
them and their awareness, God’s voice arose in a new way that was suited to
each particular context. In other words, the awareness that the reformers
had of their contexts as well as the corresponding plight of believers allowed
God’s tailored communication to emerge, just as God is using those who
articulate contextual theologies today
The Bible is literally the Word of GodScripture consists of the writings that were inspired by God, if not actually dictated by God to the biblical writersThe community of faith is to submit to biblical authorityBiblical interpretation is divine, expressing the will of God,
not of human beings
-- Creating Scripture is a human activity
that takes place within communities
of faith.-- Inspiration applies not only
“to the origin of the text but to its
transmission and interpretation among us.” -- The Bible is “inherently the live Word of God,” which recognizes that it is divine
communication that has been “refracted” through many different
authors who spoke from their own circumstances. -- Biblical authority is exercised in community rather than over it, and the community of faith’s participation is called for rather than its submission. -- Biblical interpretation is contextual and necessarily influenced by the human beings who do it
Authority as dominance vs. Authority as partnership
Romans 8 updated
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor rulers,
nor things present, nor things to come
nor height, nor depth,
nor male nor female,
nor gay nor straight,
nor being HIV positive, nor being HIV negative,
nor being high class, or having no class at all,
nor powers, nor anything else in all creation,will be able to separate us from the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (updated by Cheryl B. Anderson