Discussion: Gunkel’s Gray Wolves

(With its two companion posts, this is a discussion exercise for some of my students, while our course management system undergoes an untimely upgrade. Other readers may choose to chime in, but please let the students “own the space,” and remember that I’ll delete off-topic or disrespectful comments and replies. This post will only accept comments through June 20th.)

You have all completed Michael Joseph Brown’s book, What They Don’t Tell You: A Survivor’s Guide to Biblical Studies (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 2000).

In about 350 words:

In your own words, how does Brown distinguish between “Bible study” as a devotional exercise and critical, academic “biblical studies” as practiced in a class like ours?

Does academic biblical studies differ significantly from how you have read the Bible in the past? Does academic biblical studies have any similarities to any reading you have done before?

What reservations, if any, do you have about reading the Bible in the ways described by Brown? Which “Rules of Thumb” 1–12 correspond to these reservations? Conversely, which of his “Rules of Thumb” 1–12, if any, do you find especially exciting as avenues toward better understanding the Bible?

Click “Leave a Comment” below to begin writing your response. Remembering that this blog is a public space, feel free to use only your first name and last initial (for example, “Jane F.”). Please remember to come back and respond to at least three of your classmates, by clicking “Reply” below their comment.

[Discussion: Gunkel’s Gray Wolves was written by G. Brooke Lester for Anumma.com and was originally posted on 2010/06/14. Except as noted, it is © 2010 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

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28 Responses

  1. Response Lester’s blog Old Testament Introduction – June 2010:

    How does Brown distinguish between “Bible study” as a devotional exercise and critical, academic “biblical studies” as practiced in a class like ours?

    Brown refers to Bible study in the average church as being done in a form of “self help” religion. He says in essence the study of scripture in these settings is framed so those participating may have opportunity for one’s own improvement. On the contrary he states that academic biblical scholarship is done to bring forth the knowledge of the data gathered and the understanding of what people who were religious thought and understood about God in the past. Biblical scholarship is about the writing being viewed in perspective of its ancient historical purpose for being recorded.
    Furthermore Brown states that digging deeper into the understanding of scripture in its context is not intended to challenge the present personal meaning scripture may have even though sometimes it does.

    Does academic biblical studies differ significantly from how you have read the Bible in the past? Does academic biblical studies have any similarities to any reading you have done before?

    Studying scripture in the past changed significantly for me about 15 plus years ago when I participated in Disciple Bible Study with a group in my church. Disciple is presented with as much context as any study I presently am familiar with and challenges those participating to become aware of these facts as they engage in this small group dialogue. From that time my way of looking at biblical study and ultimately its meaning and my growth in relationship with God has continued to be with a more critical intentional eye. Disciple is a publication of Upper Room.

    What reservations, if any, do you have about reading the Bible in the ways described by Brown? Which “Rules of Thumb” 1–12 correspond to these reservations? Conversely, which of his “Rules of Thumb” 1–12, if any, do you find especially exciting as avenues toward better understanding the Bible?

    I really don’t have any reservations as this study begins. I have experienced that when my faith is challenged or I am asked to prove why, it is no longer a fearful process but a call to become more grounded and clear.
    So far I am not resistant to any of the “rules” but the one that has already opened new understanding talks about cross reference. “Rule of Thumb” 11 refers to this warning and it makes perfect sense. I have just not given it thought before. I can see how avoiding this widely accepted practice could invite a deeper research within the context itself.

    • Jane,

      Do you know of any biblical story that can survive all of Brown’s Rules of Thumbs? I’ve been trying to find one, since reading Brown, but am not having any luck.

      Hopefully,

      John

      • Hi John,

        Do you know of any biblical story that can survive all of Brown’s Rules of Thumbs?

        Do you mean, “biblical story that can survive the rules of thumb,” or “(traditional) *interpretation* of a biblical story that can survive the rules of thumb”?

        That is, do you see the rules of thumb as testing biblical narratives, or as testing people’s interpretations of the biblical narratives? (Remembering that reading a biblical narrative as reliable historical narrative is itself an example of interpretation.)

      • Jane,

        I don’t think it matters wheather we are talking about a “biblical story that can survive the rules of thumb,” or “(traditional) *interpretation* of a biblical story that can survive the rules of thumb”?

        Is not a biblical story an interpretation? But for clarification let’s look only at the Bible we are using for this ourse::

        Do you know of any biblical story in our text for this course that can survive all of Brown’s Rules of Thumbs?

        Thanks, Jane, for considering my problem.

        Best regards,

        John Rynes

    • Jane I agree with you about the Disciple Bilbe study and how it helps to raise the awarness of those who encounter it. I found that as I progressed from Disciple One to Two and later was a co-instructor for Disciple Three that our study group began to dig deeper and deeper into the text with each new study. I believe that came from the relationships that developed over the extended period of time we engaged the material.
      Blessings
      Jim S.

  2. Bible study as a devotional exercise to often can be described as “Self Help Religion” based on our traditioanl religious interpretations of the Bible. People often try to use the text of the Bible to reafirm what they already believe rather than to hear what the text is actually saying. On the other hand, Bible study as a critical or academic exercise, engages the text and assumes the freedom to find meanings that may differ from those our traditional traning has seen in it.

    For example a devotional study of the birth of Jesus would concentrate on the text supporting the stories we all know from celebrating Christmas since childhood. But an academic view would explore whether it was even possible for Jesus to have been born in Bethlaham? What could have brought his parents to Bethlaham from Nazerath? Is there any record of a tax imposed by the Romans during the time Jesus is said to have been born?.

    I was born and raised a Roman Catholic. Catholics don’t read the Bible. Instead they get their truth from the Sunday sermon delivered by the priest at Mass. Since joing Father Dyer Methodist Church in Breckenridge, Colorado, I have attended some “devotional” Bible studies. These have left me empty. I wanted to know the truth. I wanted unbiased historical accuracy. I wanted to know what was really meant by the text and how that meaning had changed and evolved over time. I wanted to study the Bible in the way I had studied Shaespere in College, as an intelectual exercise.

    For me, Rule of Thumb 19: Don’t argue what you can’t prove : will be the most influential rule. Up to this point in my life I have seen no proof that anything in the Bible is true. That is, if I were there at the time the event about which the story is written, would I have seen, heard, smelled, felt, or observed the same thing with my senses? To me, all of Brown’s other rules are support this rule.

    I look forward to applying all the rules of thumb to determine what parts of the Bible I can efectively argue….or is everything just Faith?

    • Hello John,

      I am struck by your last statement as it being perhaps what most of our relationship with scripture boils down to. I am confident that there are provable and arguable truths in scripture, but at the end of the day one has to ask, is this true for me?, and if it is true for me then how do I live it out in my life that contributes to the greater good?

      Your comment on the birth of Jesus and where our understanding of that story comse from reminds me of something I heard someone ask about the Exodus…Is our understanding of the Exodus according to Cecil B DeMille or scripture? If we all stop and ask ourselves where our understanding of most things in life come from we will may be surprised.

      Thank you for your comments.

      • Thanks Jane, I appreciate your insight.

        In a different context. someone once told me; ” What’s true for you is not necessarily true for me. What’s true today is not necessarily true tommorrow —- and,
        people do not generally lie to you, they just tell you what is true for them today.”

        Jane, I think this was in ressponse to , “But you told me you loved me!”

        I look forward to using Brown’s Ruless of Thumb in this class. They seem like good ways to evaluate any text.

      • Jane,

        That’s a good point about Cecil B. DeMille and to what extent most people’s understanding of the Bible is shaped by sources and traditions outside of the Bible itself. Of course, some might say that is part of the ongoing process of redaction of the texts.

        Biblical studies is actually not so much about proving or disproving the truth claims in/ of the Bible. It is more about examining the process of the formation of the Bible, the diversity of (sometimes conflicting/ contradictory) perspectives in the text, the historical-social-life context that gave rise to the texts, the various levels of tradition reflected in the texts as we have them now, the variety of forms through which the authors of the text communicate, etc.

    • John and I think Jane as well, if I can jump into the conversation.
      John I find you comment on rule 19 interesting and at the same time I question the need to prove the things of faith. The deepest encounter I experienced before coming to my understnding of Christ in my life was with to evangelists while I was in the Navy. we talked for hours on the merits of being born again and forgiven and saved, and I thought I was able to hold my own in the debate until I realised that I could not move their thinking one inch because of their faith which was the rock they held on to. I on the other hand did not have then the faith I have now. My approach to Bible study is based in a foundation of faith that God is seeking a relatioonship with me and that I will be able to understnd that better some day.
      Blessings
      Jim S.

      • Jim S,

        “I could not move their thinking one inch because of their faith which was the rock they held on to. I on the other hand did not have then the faith I have now”

        Your reflection brought to mind “discussions” I once had with my senior partner. He was of the Apostolic Christian faith, and said that he believed everything in the Bible was literally true. We once discussed creation and the age of the earth. I couldn’t believe that as a scientist, he held the belief that the world and the universe were just a few thousand years old because that was the way it counted up if you accepted everything literally.

        I wonder now, if that is not so much faith, but rather stubbornness. I too felt at the time that my faith was somehow lacking. Certainly, my partner’s knowledge of scripture, insofar as being able to quote texts, and remember verses (always KJV) was to me quite amazing. He had studied the Bible quite diligently, and he led a congregation. I wish now, that I would have known some of what Dr. Brown’s book, and Dr. Lester are beginning to teach us. It makes a great deal of sense that form has to have something to do with how we interpret a text.

        I wonder how my partner would then explain Mathew 19:12 “eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” Brown uses that example when he discusses his rule number ten. For my partner, as a man of faith who interprets the Bible literally, why then had he not made himself a eunuch? Rule 10 of course! I wonder if he would have admitted that, if confronted with that passage and that question. I am guessing not.

        I am not judging that my senior partner doesn’t have strong faith. I am certain he does. Nevertheless, my personality is such, that I find it much more exciting to be able to look at the context of a passage and its form, and use that as part of the way to begin to understand what the author was saying.

        And I agree with you that God seeks relationship with us. And I think She knows my curiosity, and that I would find a Bible that always said concretely exactly what it meant uninteresting. It would fail to entice, and it would fail to hold my interest. A text that means exactly in first century CE what it means today, and whose meaning is concrete, rigid and fixed is stagnant. Unchangeable, literal, concrete, but how conveniently dependable, and you wouldn’t have to think too much about it.

        Boring!

        But then how can it really be that way? Everything else has changed and is changing. We as people may not be so very different from our predecessors in some respects (Rule 6), but our societies, institutions, customs and all else has moved, evolved or devolved. We are literally, we believe, light years away from where we were in space and time two thousand years ago.

        So for me it just seems logical, that my God would speak in a way that could convey His meaning in a timeless and fluid way and not a rigid and concrete manner.

        Allegory, poetry, song. Parable, rhetoric and history.

        I quote the words of my then young son who years ago in “Biddy Basketball” had fouled out of a game for the first time. He had that “hang dog” look of feeling less than. His response, when I told him he had made good fouls, going for the ball, and that this was OK was,

        “This is getting funner and funner!” 

  3. In your own words, how does Brown distinguish between “Bible study” as a devotional exercise and critical, academic “biblical studies” as practiced in a class like ours?

    Brown clearly makes the point that “Bible Study” as a devotional exercise is understood, particularly by the student or person engaged in devotional reading, as a means to learn more about the personal faith journey. The devotional reader/student holds the goal of gaining tools that will help them become a “better Christian”. The Bible study typically practiced in our Sunday school classes is an exercise in “Spiritual Growth” and unfortunately is at times secondary to fellowship.
    Critical, academic Bible Study as we practice in a class like ours examines the text through a different lens. We will use the various criticism methods, as appropriate, to determine what the writer intended the reader to understand through an encounter with the text in their cultural/historic setting. Brown emphasized that academic study avoids the questions concerning what the text might mean for a modern readers particular faith journey.

    Does academic biblical studies differ significantly from how you have read the Bible in the past? Does academic biblical studies have any similarities to any reading you have done before?

    Prior to taking academic course related to biblical studies I had few experiences where a “Bible Study” took a critical approach to the text. The exception would be certain aspects of the Disciple Bible Study series. Even Disciple primarily focuses on the Spiritual Growth of the student. However, depending on the experience and academic background of the teacher, certain lessons in the series offer opportunities to take the students down a more critical path.

    What reservations, if any, do you have about reading the Bible in the ways described by Brown? Which “Rules of Thumb” correspond to these reservations? Conversely, which of his “Rules of Thumb”, if any, do you find especially exciting as avenues toward better understanding the Bible?

    I have no reservations regarding Brown’s “Rules of Thumb”. In fact, the rules reflect my general understanding of academic biblical study as formed through experience and as taught by various professors and class leaders over the years. I particularly like the rules of chapters three and four. Rules such as #27 were hard to except early in my studies, yet proved to be instrumental in my growth as related to critical examination.

    • Hello Will,

      You are correct about the Disciple study series, it is formational in intent but at the same time offers opportunity to find a more exegetical way of getting to the facts of truth. It is also formed to be accessible to a broad range of students, many of whom have not been exposed to a language of the study we are about to embark upon. I would hope that our class and this approach to critical scholarship study will invite the opportunity of truth revealing formation as well.

      I have found that those things which challenge my understanding in the past have so far been gifts for new ways of seeing, which to me are acts of transformation.

      It will be exciting for sure. Looking forward to what may come.

      Thank you for your comments and thoughts.

      • Thanks Jane.

        I see you mentioned Disciple BS in your post as well. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to lead a Disciple class every year since 1999. As I look back I wonder what I said to those early classes. I have much more to offer now. At least I am confident that the D course would not let ruin folks severely 🙂

        I really enjoyed Dr. Lester’s lectures on the TaNaK. I look forward to sharing more as we progress.

        Blessings!

    • Will,

      Do you know of any biblical story that can survive all of Brown’s Rules of Thumbs? I’ve been trying to find one, since reading Brown, but am not having any luck.

      Hopefully,

      John

      • Hi John,
        See my comment above, where you put the same question to another student.
        Brooke

      • Hi John,

        I do not believe Brown’s Rules are meant to apply in their entirety to particular biblical stories/narratives. In fact, many of the “rules” contain the words, “…is/are not always…”. This seems to give anoption as to appying the rule or not.

        In his conclusion, Brown seems to emphasis the importance of the “teachers” application and interpretation rather than a black or white / yes or no application of the rules.

        So…no. I have not found “any biblical story” that can stand up to “all” of the rules. 🙂

      • John,

        It may be helpful to think of the “Rules of Thumb” not so much as a way to test the biblical text as a way to approach it and approach the task of biblical interpretation.

  4. Hello John,

    Sorry to be so late in jumping in on this stream of conversation regarding your question of Biblical story to survive the Rules of Thumb.

    My quick answer is no. All of the rules come from different perspectives and points of view. I think there would be one at least that would challenge any story or part of scripture.

    Presently for me there are Biblical stories that I question myself, however they do not interfere with my faith. For me survival of story or a point in scripture is not integral to my relationship with God. For me scripture is a tool, a good tool in my opinion, but a tool. It is what we have. I trust that it is our record of story of God because those who recorded and translated it and decided which parts should be in it followed God’s guidance to the best of their ability. So, I use it regularly to bring myself into the best of what we have to know God with. I realize that even the early church mothers and fathers added documents, creeds etc through the first few centuries because the scriptures were not sufficient in all things, questions remained unanswered and they were attempted to be answered with these additional documents and creeds and at councils.

    I find some solace in Brown’s final rule and comments that remind us that the authority of scripture is based on the authority of God. that interpretation of scripture is based on the authority of scripture. For me at the end of the day I still rest in who God is, how I understand God, how I understand myself (and others) and how I understand the relationship between humanity and God.

    I would say right now that I am not too worried about the challenges of Brown’s rules. I might become concerned as we have only just begun but for now I can live with the idea that there will be disagreement and challenge.

    What does concern me already is that I would rather be in a classroom so some of our questions can be talked out in person. For me this is going to be the challenge of the class to try to convey meaning in the writing and reading of our conversations.

    I hear your concern and as you wrote, your problem in attempting to find story that could possibly stand up to the rules. This is something I would rather be in conversation about and not writing about. Again, i realize that is not possible.

    I hope something I have said may be useful. Thank you for your question.

    Jane W

  5. In your own words, how does Brown distinguish between “Bible study” as a devotional exercise and critical, academic “biblical studies” as practiced in a class like ours?

    One of the ways I have seen the study of the Bible done in the devotional setting has been to bring a lot of baggage with you. A devotional study will seek to reach into scripture on a level that has emotional context and meaning for how God might be speaking to you at that moment with that scripture. I see that there might be a danger of taking scripture on a more literally level and creating expectations from every verse you read. What I find interesting is Brown’s sense of critical study as looking critically at scripture and not as a means of criticism of scripture. This opens the possibilities to un-pack the baggage we bring with us and throw away pre-conceived ideas about how we are supposed to do Bible study giving us freedom to dig deeper and faithfully address our questions while maintaining the foundations of our faith.

    Does academic biblical studies differ significantly from how you have read the Bible in the past? Does academic biblical studies have any similarities to any reading you have done before?

    My experience has been from an un-guided reading, a self programed approach where I would try one idea or another and if I were to pursue my studies to any great length I would find myself hitting a wall. That is to say that because I lacked the necessary feed back afforded by the academic approach I became lost in what I was reading and would give up before I reached any significant conclusions. I did attempt to read the Bible as a single book and tried to design study questions for my-self as a way to deepen my journey into scripture. What I discovered in that process was that if the reading or the questions were too tough then I would just skip them and I didn’t experience a full reading of the scripture I addressed. After joining a church and becoming involved in a Disciple Bible study group I was able to continue to dig deeper because I now had a group of peers to bounce ideas off of and there was an accountability group that held me to completion of our reading and our response to the reading. I found that in the Disciple Study group I was able to find deeper satisfaction to the reading and study I engaged in.

    What reservations, if any, do you have about reading the Bible in the ways described by Brown? Which “Rules of Thumb” 1–12 correspond to these reservations? Conversely, which of his “Rules of Thumb” 1–12, if any, do you find especially exciting as avenues toward better understanding the Bible?

    I have no reservations at this time as I am always open to finding new ways to approach any study I am involved in. I can see using each method or a group of methods as a means of coming to a better understanding of an individual scripture or group of comparative scriptures, what I think needs to be the guiding force is the foundation for being engaged in the study to begin with. Ask first what is it you wish to learn from your study and are you prepared to get answers that don’t necessarily agree with your way of thinking. I would think the goal of any Bible study, be it academic or devotional is to increase my understanding of how my life interacts with God and what that means in the relationships I have with others in my world. With that in mind I believe ‘Rule of Thumb # 5′ [When reading the text, don’t ask and it won’t tell.] best describes my approach to study. I need to be open to questions I will ask and to the questions of others as they reflect and discover how the scriptures relate to them.

  6. Wanderings.

    As I read our post and consider the Brown, I notice a common thread concerning the difference between academic and devotional bible Study. One thing that I ponder as I consider our responses is the difference between method and end-goal.

    The method we select to encounter the Bible (as literature and/or Holy Scripture) will vary. However, for me, the end-goal is the same or at least comparable. I engage in academic study, exegesis, so that I am better prepared to preach, teach, and otherwise pastor. I spend time in devotional study and meditation in order to encounter God in a transformational way (hopefully). This said, I believe I have experienced both outcomes in both academic and devotional study. God will reveal Gods-self as God sees fit. My responsibility is to place myself in a position to be transformed, intellectually and/or spiritually.

    Blessings!

    • Ditto Will,

      It is my hope for this course that I am stretched and affirmed in areas of biblical understanding that is not my norm as well as ways that have not been natural for me.

      I am a student of Myers Briggs, Corinne Ware’s Spiritual Type assessment tool and other means of understanding the ways in which different persons cross thresholds and engage the Holy.

      When I lead people in retreat or sit with them one on one in spiritual direction I can better invite them toward a deeper awareness and knowing of themselves and God if I can speak the language that they most naturally understand through.

      For instance the majority of persons who follow the contemplative path are usually NF’s on the Meyers Briggs but more and more the ST’s and SJ’s are wanting to connect the spiritual with the empirical knowing of God and God’s story. If I am to speak their language then I must be open to immersing myself in it. Sooooooo I do not come to this class resistant to the fact that it is not my normal language but to embrace it as another way of digging deeper into the facts and written records of our faith story. My own faith did not come to me through debate of what is/is not written but through relationship. Now it is my hope that more digging into what is written will only open me to be more inclusive and invitational to all who may cross my path, not just those who already speak my usual language.

      Grace and peace
      Jane

  7. In your own words: How does Brown distinguish “ Bible study” as a devotional exercise and critical, academic “biblical studies as practiced in class like ours?

    The book of Brown is directed to those who begin to study the Bible academically. The rules that he exhibits are directed to break away from the way that they have taught us to study the Bible traditionally. He calls this devotional study self-help religion or self help-group as a social group that seeks with the Bible to affirm faith and to have a religious productive life in view of what God wants. These are not the goals of an academic study, where one tries to help the students to understand what religious people in the past understood about God and the things of God.

    Does academic biblical studies differ significantly from how you have read the Bible in the past? Does academic biblical studies have any similarities to any reading you have done before?

    Inside the Hispanic churches the devotional study that Brown speaks of is the one that prevails, everything that is written literally in the Bible reveals to the Christian on behalf of God how we must live, but in the 60s “Liberation Theology” questioned this way of using and of interpreting the Bible, and many of the rules that Brown speaks of have been applied in the analysis of Bible texts to which I have studied and experienced earlier. (Ivone Guevara, Víctor Araya, Elsa Tamez, Gustavo Gutierrez and others)

    What reservation, if any, do you have about reading the Bible in the ways described by Brown? Which “Rules of Thumb” correspond to these reservations? Conversely, which of his “rules of Thumb if any, do you find especially exciting as avenues toward better understanding the Bible?

    I do not have any reservation at all. On the contrary, I have enjoyed the book, and think that if we don’t spiritualize the Bible so much, people would actually understand it better and their religious life would have a different meaning. The most exciting rules for me are 3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 19, 26 and 27.

    • Maibel,

      Your response is very interesting. I am not Hispanic but rather a descendant of Bohemian ancestors from what is know the Czech Republic. Being Roman Catholic, we did not read the Bible. However, my religion was dogmatic, similar to yours. I am delighted to have broken free from that.

      I look forward to learning with you.

      John

  8. Welcome aboard Maribel,

    Thank you for your comments here on Brown. Studies like this certainly give opportunity for strengthening and clarifying our relationship with God. I look forward to learning not only from the individual readings we will do but from one another as well.

    I look forward to reading your introduction on the blackboard.

    Jane

  9. First of all, I apologize for being late in presenting my answers and in participating in the discussions. I ordered my books but received Bible Dictionary first and Brown’s book late so I did my best to speed up to finish reading Brown’s book within the limited time schedule. Now to the questions.

    1. In your words, how does Brown distinguish between “Bible Study” as a devotional exercise and critical academic “Biblical Studies” as practiced in a class like ours?

    Brown distinguished between “Bible Study” practiced most by churches, as self-help religion and “Biblical Studies” practiced through academic institutional classes.

    As to the views of different sets of assumption, different mind set and different views, he mentioned aims of parish bible study are devotional and improve one’s life in the life of God’s will.

    Aims of “Bible Scholarship” is not church knowledge but to uncover and interpret, truthfully and accurately, what religious person spoke about God with the reliable tools. Likewise, context, scriptures, and narratives.

    2. Does Academic Biblical Studies “differ” significantly from how you ahve read the Bible in the past? Does academic Bible Studies have any similarities to any reading you have done before?

    Yes, it is significantly different than I have read and studied the Bible in the past. I have been taught and based my faith that the Bible is perfect word of God based on Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (NRSV)

    Therefore, there is no objection and argument at all, that is what I have learned. Especially our Korean Christian traditions are too strick and there are too many prohibitions to be a good Christian. For example, you aren’t allowed to argue or disagree with your pastors and their direction in Biblical teaching. Only obedience.

    This class has peaked my interest in critical analysis of the Bible with an academic approach to find out the truth and accurate reality of the Bible.

    3. What reservations, if any, do you have about reading the Bible in the ways described by Brown? Which “Rules of Thumb” 1-12 correspond to this reservation? Conversely, which of this “Rule of Thumb” 1-12 if any, do you find especially exciting as avenue toward better understanding the Bible?

    Actually, I have not reservations at this time. I hope through his guidance I can read the Bible more accurately and change my attitude in studying the Bible. In the past, I have never questioned, simply believed in the Scripture without any doubt because this was the word of God which faith must remain unchanged. This was the basis of faith in God. But academically, I intend to dig deeper and uncover the historic, geographic and mixed culture that the author has characterized and how they apply to the socio-political situations at that time.

    I am very excited to study with the tools of “Rules of Thumb”, especially, I was impressed with 1, 2, 6, 8, 9,and 12.

    Again, I am so blessed to study with our faithful friends and Professor Brooke Lester’s teaching. Please guide me with any comments to improve advancing my academic understanding.

    God Bless All of You,
    David Kim

    • David,

      Welcome. I too am grateful to be going to the source so-to- speak and making a more informed or in some cases an affirmed observation of what I received from the study of the OT as opposed to having someone else interpret it for me.

      Glad you are port of our group.

      Jane Watts

  10. David,

    Your religious background is similar to mine. I was raised a Roman Catholic and I HAD to believe everything I was told….but not anymore. Good luck in your quest for knowledge

    Best regards,

    John Rynes

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