Discussion: Wellhausen’s Wildcats

(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: Wellhausen’s Wildcats 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.]

30 Responses

  1. Bible study is oriented to studying the Bible to grow faith and learn about the nature of God. Bible study is often done in Sunday School. Brown distinguished Biblical scholarship as looking for the context, the author and the actual view of God from the verses themselves. The Biblical scholar may engage theologically with the text, but the goal is not to prove the Bible is true or that it is the word of God.

    I have read the Bible for the purpose of reading the Bible. Brown talks in rule of thumb 3 ( the more you try to do, the less you’ll really understand) pushing through a long section will produce exactly what happened to me, very little understanding. I have written some exegesis papers in a class in 2006. I remember researching a figure of speech to find out why the Israelites wandering through the desert were called a swarm of bees. I think that was a little similar to this course.

    I am a little concerned that I won’t be able to stay objective. Rules of Thumb 1 and 2 would match this. Rule of Thumb 1 is about treating the Bible like any other book. I think I will want to tell myself that regularly. Rule of Thumb 2 is about modern assumptions. I often think about how would that wording be said today? It will be best to stay in the language at hand.

    There are some exciting new thoughts in the Rules of Thumb for me. I really liked #8, Get a map. Mixing visual with reading leads to questions that just reading would not evoke. There are some about human nature I particularly liked. Rule 12 says if someone is upset about something, its because someone else is doing it. I like the idea of finding out what someone else is doing to precipitate the upset. The skeletons in the closet and the ax to grind ( 13 & 15) are delightful names for looking for what’s so about a person in the Bible, or an author/editor of a book in the Bible.

    • Donna,
      I liked your post. I have a feeling that several will have issues with RoT #1. And the longer a person has been involved with church Bible studies, the more of an issue it will be for them.

    • Donna,

      I enjoyed reading your post.

      To your point about ROT 3, I hope we have opportunities to go deep with small portions of text, as you did with the ‘swarm of bees’ figure of speech in your previous research. (I’ll be interested to learn about your conclusions as we engage this Summer.)

      I also found ROT 13 & 15 to be delightful (and insightful) names for thinking about an author’s perspective and purpose. I thought Brown did an especially good job in presenting the notion of ‘an ax to grind.’

      Nice work.

      James L.

    • I appreciate your post, I think visual perception plays a major role in the reception of a read message or text. Rule of Thumb 1 is a concern for me, treating the Bible like any other book is a little too extreme (for me).

      • Mr. Larmena, on “rule of thumb #1,” you might find these two points helpful:

        1) If you want to know what Brown means by “treat the Bible like we treat other literature,” you can simply look at all the other rules of thumb. If you are generally okay with these, then you are okay with “rule of thumb #1” in the way Brown means it.

        2) You might see a comment I made elsewhere in these threads. Here is a link to it:

        Brooke Lester

    • Thanks, Donna, for your insight. I think you and I agree about the ROT #1 and ROT #2. It is the call of biblical scholars to translate the words to be identifiable in their given language. I’m sure that’s hard to do sometimes, considering that there were regional words, slang, etc. in biblical times too! I’m sure that is an ongoing journey of the translating scholars. When scholars make those translations, they can go word-for-word, thought-for-thought or a combination of both. We have to be sure that we keep in check our modern assumptions as well!

    • Donna,
      While rule #12 isn’t on my list of favorites, you do raise an interesting aspect of finding out WHO is doing what to precipitate the upset. Kind of like a detective story! I hope we get to see/learn more about this in class.
      I am also in your Rule 2 group! I have been taught how to avoid reading through my own contextual eyes, but it is easy to slip back into the mode of “Oh, that applies to my circumstances because…”
      I am looking forward to seeing/reading more!

  2. According to Brown, Academic Bible study is primarily focused on the meaning of the text to its original readers or intended audience. Where as Bible study that often occurs in the church is more interested in what a text means to the individual today and how it applies to current situations. The main goal in academic Bible study is to discover the truth, what others have said about God and the goal of church Bible study is to discover God, what the Bible has to say to us.

    In my past Bible studies I believe I have done a moderate amount of academic study to determine such things as context, audience, traditions. Over the years I have learned new methods, such as if my interpretation centers on one or two words in a text, go to different translations to see if my interpretation still holds and possibly going to the original Hebrew/Greek meaning of the word. I believe my difference is that most of my reading and study of the Bible goes on to application.

    I think my biggest reservation is Brown’s first rule of thumb to approach the Bible as any other book. I don’t see the Bible as just any other book. There are not any other books I go to where I try to learn about God’s nature, grow closer to God and develop my relationship with him. I do agree that we should question the text, what a text says and what it does not say. We should work to understand discrepancies, but also reflect on does this difference influence the meaning of the text.

    I look forward to using many of Brown’s Rules of Thumb, some for the first time and many more than I do now. I wish I could pick one or two that really stick out. I know I have to be cautious about my active imagination (RoT #7) that is feed by assumptions (RoT #2). I believe one that might be the most interesting would be exploring the perspective or agenda of the writer(s) and persons in a text (RoT #15). The subject I am most lacking would be geographical locations of events, so RoT #8 would also benefit my understanding.

    • Wade,
      I don’t believe that Dr. Brown is saying that the Bible is just like any other book, but rather, that as we read the Bible, we should do so thoughtfully and critically as we would with any other source matter we are reading.

      Trying to understand why there may be discrepancies, or in some case outright contradictions. What was the writer trying to say about the nature of God when . . . .? Looking for our own biases, and realizing that in all reading we do imagine in our mind, or picture, how things are.

      A few years ago, after listening to a female radio personality for a number of years, her with a soft alto friendly lilt, I had a distinct picture of her beauty. I was amazed almost to disbelief when I then saw her picture. She didn’t look at all like I had thought. Funny that. Telling too.

      The example of the Sea of Galilee in Rule 7 was terrific for me, as I was there this fall. I was amazed to see the Golan Heights from the western shore, and it DID give me a totally different perspective on the story in Mark 4: 35-41.

      I still need the map, but my short two days in Israel have helped.

      I think Brown will help me immensely too. I haven’t done this before, but I find it exciting. My main concern is being able to devote the time I want. I am working more than full time up till the 28th, but then I do have two weeks “off” for the intensive.

      The Blackboard and/or blog forum is fantastic for our learning together. Thanks for your comments!

      • Phillip,
        Thanks for your comment. The point I was trying to make is that it is difficult and arguably impossible for many to approach the Bible like any other book. In my case, I was raised hearing Bible stories and as an adult I have read the Bible for understanding, guidance, inspiration and spiritual growth. I have read and studied the Bible more than any other book. I have read and studied classic literature, but none has influenced my life as the Bible has. I am sure this is also the case for many who take up an academic study of the Bible.

        We may be able to use the critical tools of literature evaluation when we study the Bible academically, but I do not think that anyone who has been raised in the church can truly set their beliefs of many years completely aside for an unbiased critique as they would with another text. I do not believe many carry such a predisposition toward any other text as they do toward the Bible and are thus able to take on an unbiased critique.

        So, can we approach the Bible like any other book? In a true sense, I don’t think so. I do think we should make an effort to critically examine the Bible, but with the understanding that we come with a predisposition that is a part of us and may be impossible to completely set aside during the critique.

        I hope this helps explain the point I wanted to make in a short paragraph.

      • Phillip and Wade,

        The biggest challenge for students with a strong religious background coming to academic biblical studies is to at least temporarily suspend seeing the Bible as the “word of God”–or at least be willing to modify how they understand that, so as to see how the Bible is: (1) not one book with one voice but a collection of many, sometimes conflicting, voices forged and revised over many centuries; and (2) not simply a divine perspective untouched by human limitations but a collection of human attempts to communicate their understandings of God and life.

        I have also been to Israel, a very valuable experience I recommend to any serious student of the Bible. A tour of biblical sites is a significant step up from a map–a sort of three dimensional map, but so much more.

    • Wade,

      Clearly not all that Brown presents is new to you and to the ways you have engaged the Bible. I appreciated your mention of utilizing multiple translations and going to the original Hebrew or Greek meanings for key words.

      Thank you for your post, I found it helpful.

      James L.

    • For me, the Bible is the most important book we will ever read. It teaches us how to live our life, comforts us in our times of need, helps us to know who God is, and gives us some insight on our future on earth and with God (Read Psalm 119:105). Can someone point me to another book where I can find the above.

  3. Wade,
    I really liked your definitions distinguishing Bible study from Biblical scholarship. I can tell you love Bible study from your comment about whether the Bible is just like any other book. I see a shifting in position to move to Biblical scholarship, a sort of creation of ourselves as observers. There is the writing and its audience. In Bible study you and I are part of the audience. And in that position we learn of God just as the original audiences did. Through that we learn to love God. Now there is a third view because even in Biblical scholarship there is the writing and its audience. Now we stand on the sideline instead of in the recipient crowd. In our third position is where we can richly learn about all the many views of God presented, look at the writers carefully, and study all the many situations God’s people have been in. And we can do that well because we have been in the recipient crowd reading our Bibles. It is a neat thought.

  4. Brown distinguishes Bible study as a devotional exercise from Bible study as an academic exercise in a number of ways. According to Brown, Bible study as a devotional exercise is orientated toward personal improvement and application of the text to inform and guide a personal faith journey. Bible study as a devotional exercise is focused on how the text informs and guides our own understanding and relationship with God. By contrast, Brown presents academic study as focused on how the Bible was formed and how religious people in the past have understood God. Academic studies focus on the sources and influences that have shaped the Bible, and not on how the text should be applied to a personal faith journey.

    I appreciate the distinctions Brown draws between devotional and academic studies of the Bible and feel a sense of license to explore the Bible in ways that I haven’t before. Brown’s example of the Jericho story was particularly helpful for me. As I have studied the Bible in the past, I have felt a duty to accept biblical stories as literal truth and a sense of duty to discern lessons from the stories and apply them to my personal understanding of God. By contrast, I felt a sense of empowerment to follow Brown’s academic examination of the Jericho story without these ‘devotional’ burdens and to have license with Brown to question the text and approach it from alternative perspectives.

    As I have considered Brown’s “rules of thumb,” I have become comfortable with the notion of engaging the Bible in the ways he advocates. This is a bit of a surprise to me, however. When I initially encountered Brown’s first rule of thumb, that the Bible should be approach as any other book, I was uncomfortable with the notion. However, after working through Brown’s entire presentation and his subsequent rules, I understand the importance of engaging the Bible in ways that are aware of personal ‘baggage.’ I am particularly excited about the concept of “context, context, context” and to begin to guard against ‘asking Jon what Suzy meant.’ In the past, I have been quick to cross reference biblical stories, especially in the Gospels, but not very aware of the dangers in doing so. Brown’s examples of understanding the same story in different ways based on context are interesting to me.

    I enjoyed working through the Brown’s book and feel that I gained new and empowering tools for engaging the Bible.

    – James L.

    • When I initially encountered Brown’s first rule of thumb, that the Bible should be approach as any other book, I was uncomfortable with the notion. However[…]

      Hi James,
      Yes, and that got me thinking.

      I find I depend a lot on the “as if” aspect of Brown’s formula: approaching the Bible “as if” it were another book, I don’t actually have to be believing that it is like any other book.

      I’m reminded of times when we say things like, “Explain this to me as if I were six years old.” If a physics expert attempts to explain something complicated to me as if I were a six year old, that doesn’t mean she thinks I’m six, or that she thinks I’m as naive or uneducated as a six-year-old. It’s just that she finds it incredibly helpful to proceed under the artificial assumption.

      It’s in this way that, for my part, I approach the Bible “as if” it were any other literature. Long experience simply demonstrates the value of the exercise.

      Paradoxically, it’s because the Bible is not (for me) like any other literature that I am so excited by an approach that has been shown to yield unlooked-for fruit. I think this is pretty much the usual view among biblical scholars who are people of faith (that is, most of them!).

  5. Bible study is a dynamic process that enables a person or group of people to grow in their Christian faith; this is sometimes done in devotionals or Bible classes. Brown distinguished Biblical scholarship as uncovering the means by which knowledge has been gathered.

    Growing up, and before starting Seminary, I have read the Bible as a “Divine Book” rather than “approaching the Bible as you would any other book” (Rule of Thumb 1). I humbly read the Bible with a faithful and obedient attitude, asking and allowing myself to be open to the Holy Spirit. I believe that all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). As a seminary student, I still maintain my traditional belief of the Bible, as God inspired Words; using the lens of Biblical scholarship, I am careful not to look for verses that appear to support personal beliefs; rather I am constantly searching for new meanings and discoveries to enhance my knowledge.

    It is exciting to see that the example in Rule of Thumb 2, is similar to what is still practiced (brother marrying his dead brother’s wife) in some parts of Africa that still hold on to traditional African beliefs and cultures. These cultures believe that this practice (levirate) helped to maintain the family connections that was created by marriage and is important for first born son inheritance. People today are not different from the people 2,000 years ago (Rule of Thumb 6), because I see that God handles the personalities of those He created the same, there is a real and personal relationship with God and His people- ranging from dramatic, inspirational and sometime happy.

    As mentioned earlier, I have reservation with Rule of Thumb 1, because I still hold to my tradition beliefs of reading and handling the Bible.

    • Momo, I appreciate your idea that “…I am constantly searching for new meanings and discoveries to enhance my knowledge”. You hold dear your personal beliefs of the tradition of the Bible but also use the new knowledge that you learned in seminary and in other classes to open up your heart for new insights while doing devotional study. That is a great way to approach the issue of “acastudy” (my word!) – using the information obtained to unlock what personal message I receive from reading the Word.

    • Hi Momo,
      I too grew up with the instruction that the Bible was Holy Book – you must care for it differently, you must read it differently, and that you must respect it. You don’t see that very often in America anymore! As I got older and I learned more and more about the Bible, I found it necessary to have more than one, that I had to have a study Bible that I could write in. I still have trouble writing anything in a Bible, but that change in study of the Bible did not change my view of its holiness, it did give me a much clearer view of what was being written and why. I think that this knowledge is necessary so that we don’t lead others astray. If we can be as true to the Bible as possible integrating both our knowledge and spiritual aspects for our church, then I think we teach the Bible well. And when others try to shock you with the “truth” they know, you are neither shocked nor unprepared.

  6. James,
    I am responding to your reference to cross-referencing. I am used to people in Sunday School doing that and Brown’s points on cross-referencing peaked my interest. He mentions first about allowing the text to stand on its own merits. Then he discusses the historical situation about the individual Bible authors not having access to all the other writings as we do now. Having all the books of the Bible in one volume camoflages the timing of the writing of each as well as the sources available to each. Dr. Lester’s lecture discussed the timing of events. His example was about the words of Martin Luther King in the far future and how would people then figure what year they were said. From that lecture I realized the benefit of finding an accurate context. For me in my not-too-rigouous Sunday School Bible stury, the past is the past. The point I get from Brown about cross-referencing is that the past must be studied as it occurred, which will require me to develop a way of thinking that has many stages of the extreme past in order to somewhat accurately get to the context the writer was in when writing. I will have to even create stages in various locations to be able to understand a context. Before I even begin to study a passage I must transform my thinking to have space for the inquiries to come. No wonder we are reading these rules of thumb.

  7. Momo,
    You stated ” Brown distinguished Biblical scholarship as uncovering the means by which knowledge has been gathered.”
    Brown also distinguished that Biblical scholarship is about explaining what a passage means without addressing whether the meaning is true or not. I think that perspective gives us the ability to open a space for the Holy Spirit to show us many different views of many different people. We then will be better prepared to meet people in today’s churches wherever they are with whatever truth they get from the Bible passage. The suspension of proving truth is a way that we can study and then come back to the passage later.

    It seems to me we will be suspending our own view of truth as well as suspending whether the writers view is true. It seems the goal is to get as much understanding of this beautiful book as possible so that we can come to a Bible study aware of what is historical or source or context and what is an interpretation or belief about truth. It seems to me a way to empower us as pastors.

  8. Brown’s view of academic study of the Bible and devotional study of the Bible has an interesting twist – Brown has been on both sides of the issue as teacher and as student. We must keep in mind that he is coming from the academic arena in both cases – as a teacher of the Bible and also as a student entering in to an academic study of the Bible. To me, there is a third component that could be added into the mix – a person whose focus is solely on the devotional study of the Bible. He does reference that group sporadically in the book but not as another group to discuss. We must remember this point when referring to this book for small group or Sunday school leaders within the church.

    Brown’s idea of academic study of the Bible is one that, simply said, moves toward accurate interpretation of what the Bible says. On the other hand, his idea of devotional Bible study is one that moves toward the transformation of the person reading it.

    Being certified in Christian Education within the United Methodist Church, I have studied the Bible in an academic fashion. Before that time, I led Bible studies and classes and researched material for the class but did not do a thorough academic study of the Bible. As most seminary teachers would agree, I was shocked and maybe even a little disallusioned with the academic study of the Bible. It seemed to take the “heart” out of the Bible for me – it seemed to take away some of the mystery and unknown. Quite frankly, I didn’t like it!

    After reading Brown’s book, I realized that I fell into a self-named category of “acastudy” – using research to obtain information about the particular scripture while applying that information to what the scripture says to me. I fall into this category in my work at our church and in my personal Bible study. I believe this is a part of the “timelessness” of the Bible – we must have those who study what is presented to us as the Bible to help us in our faith journeys. I don’t know that Brown would fully agree with my belief!

    Several of Brown’s “Rules of Thumb” hold true to my thinking – the first being number five. It is always exciting to me to question, to dig deeper into a text that I feel I have “heard a thousand times before” or feel as though I know it “by heart”. That, in part, is due to our Methodist heritage and John Wesley’s challange to us even today to read, learn and sometimes question the Scriptures. I feel I may be lacking in my faith journey if I take a scripture at face value, without another thought of study.

    Another “Rule of Thumb” that I find affirming and exciting is number six. I say this often to our Bible study groups here at our church and remember it in my own Bible study. God created us in His image, and, I believe, one of those attributes is our unchangingness. God is constant, unmoving and unchanging. We as His creation are also generally unchanging. People are people! I like to say that the Bible is a series of snapshots of God interacting with HIs people.

    The “Rule of Thumb” that challenges me more than any other is number one. I cannot read the Bible as I would any other book. It is the rulebook of my life, my faith journey, my attitude toward the world in which we live. To me, I cannot approach the Bible in any other way than to approach with an extra measure of awe, respect and mystery.

    • Lori,
      My Turn!
      I think you bring an excellent attitude to this in that you have to see the Bible as something more than just another book. Me too. I have though allowed myself the permission to look at the biblical text more “deeply” in order that I may be the minister others seek and need. My senior pastor once told me that once you get out of seminary, your congregation will look to you as the master theologian and biblical scholar. And boy, I sure don’t feel like one!! But, the biblicists studies have given me a greater appreciation of the factual foundation of the Bible so that I don’t unwillingly lead people astray.
      That “acastudy” piece is right on target in my eyes. We have to have the academic biblical studies integrated with our spiritual faith journeys in order to be able to use all of the versatility of the Bible. The reason this class will be good for me is that I need to better develop the “aca” side of acastudy!

  9. Hello Lori,
    I delighted in reading your heartfelt posting. Have you read the posting on Rule of Thumb #1 that Dr. Lester left for James L.? He states “It’s in this way that, for my part, I approach the Bible “as if” it were any other literature. ” His reply to James L really clarifies how Rule of Thumb #1 could be usefully used.

    It sounds like this academic study of the Bible will be quite different from your working study of the Bible at your church. I am referring to the acastudy you named. Hopefully all of us can separate the two without destroying either. I think it is vital to come to ministry with both academic understanding of the Bible we get in courses like this and the ability to let God speak directly to us through a Bible verse.

    I am pleased to be in your group. We will talk more.

  10. Hi, Donna! I have enjoyed your postings and appreciate your response to mine. I have seen the post that you mentioned and it helped …..somewhat! I know that I have a lot of growth left to do in our time together!

    I absolutely agree with you about coming in to ministry. We need a good dose of academic study, along with a good sprinkling of “be still and know”!

    I look forward to your insights and future posts!

  11. This is Lowell catching up from 2 weeks on the road. Still reading, I’ll get back to all of you!

  12. Sorry guys, I just have to jump in here. Yes, I’m still reading, but I want to add to the discussion on the first part of the book that I have read…
    The best point that I have picked up in this book for application to the seminary experience is his warning NOT to take biblical studies as your devotional study of the Bible during the time you are involved in class. He recommends being involved in a community of faith and continuing your devotional reading of the Bible while doing biblical studies. This is soooo true. I love it.
    Next, the differences between Bible Study and biblical studies is very much the tension between the academy and the church. That tension does not have to be that severe if we recognize that both have a critical part to play in our ministry. Biblical studies gives us the foundational information to be good teachers of Bible Study for devotional purposes. I think it was Lori that said biblical studies inform and Bible Study transforms – and I agree with that perspective on Brown.
    Also, the description of the various types of Biblical Criticism is great. I WISH I HAD READ THIS PRIOR TO SEVERAL OTHER CLASSES!!! as it would have made understanding various approaches so much easier.

    Ok, on Rule of Thumb #1, I agree with Brown. We do ourselves and our people no favors by avoiding the incongruities because the world hastens to point them out. (Bill Maher does so regularly whenever religion comes up on his show) We have to read the Bible critically. However, that does not mean every time you pick up the Bible you are doing biblical criticism! There are times when you need the Bible for devotional purposes, for comfort, and for spiritual growth. In spiritual formation we teach lectio divina as a means for discerning the Holy Spirit in the Word. That is not biblical criticism. But we cannot throw out all uses of the Bible for just one methodology. So, I agree with Brown in that for biblical studies (which we need to do) we do need to read the Bible as any other book. And for other times in our faith journey, we need to read the Bible in other ways. Both are good!

    • Ok, let’s cover the points missed in my last post. First I have traditionally read the Bible for devotion. I was pushed out of that mold by Disciple Bible Study and then was further pushed out of the mold by studies here at Garrett. I have read the Bible for devotion, for spiritual discernment and for biblical studies. It wasn’t until Lori’s reply to my post that I put all of that together. The Bible is VERY versatile.
      Rules of thumb: this is very difficult for me as I liked all of them. ROT#2 may still be a challenge in that I didn’t know the term anachronism until a couple of semesters ago. I won’t intentionally slip into this misreading, but I may unintentionally do so out of habit. ROT#4 refreshes lost memory about translators an how that affects our reading and understanding. ROT#7 about overactive imagination is really revealing upon how people interpret scripture out of their own language understandings -lake and Sea being particularly cogent for me. ROT#10 made me laugh out loud as he discussed the literal vs. metaphor styles in the Bible. I found ROT#14 to be a concept that I had not considered and look forward to using on a more regular basis.

  13. Lowell, I appreciate your thoughts. I feel you are correct in your statement that “we have to read the Bible critically”. If we were uninformed of the Bible history, circumstances under which the particular scripture was written, etc., I feel that the Bible would not hold Its timeless message for us. As I have said before, I look at the Bible to be a series of snapshots of God relating to His people.

    However, I don’t feel that those of us in ministry should have one way of looking at the Bible – solely through an academic lens. There is a fine line for us to walk between academic study and personal, devotional study of the Bible.

    • Absolutely! The Bible is a multi-faceted tool for us. And I can’t say as I have ever looked at it quite that way before. We can do our biblical study to better understand the text and context, we can do Bible Study for devotions, we can do lectio divina for discerning the Spirit, and we can also do combinations of methods. The Disciple Bible study does a good job of touching on some of the biblical study criticisms while also teaching devotional reading. Thank you for helping turn that light bulb on! 😉

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