Mid-Week Bible Study with Ron Shive

Mid-Week Bible Study

Encountering God in Tyrannical Texts of the Old and New Testament with Dr. Ron Shive

September–December in the Witherspoon Room

  • Tuesday Morning Men 6:45–7:45 a.m. (beginning September 10)
  • Wednesday Morning Everyone 10–11:15 a.m. (beginning September 11)
  • Thursday Morning Women 6:45–7:45 a.m. (beginning September 12)

Robert P. Carroll, the former Irish Old Testament scholar says, “If reading the Bible does not raise profound problems for you as a modern reader, then check with your doctor and inquire about the symptoms of brain-death.” Carroll is correct! If we read the Bible fully engaging our intellect as well as our heart and if we are honest, there are many biblical texts that are not only problematic but offensive. They are tyrannical! So how do we deal with these tyrannical texts? Most often we repudiate them. We discard them from our consideration. We silence them. We get out our scissors and perform surgery on the Bible. Or, we simply ignore them. This is how Francis Taylor Gench, Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, describes our predicament as intelligent and modern disciples of Jesus.

So what is a better way of engaging these tyrannical texts? Gench suggests we leave our scissors at home and we need to stay engaged with these difficult texts and wrestle with them. In this process, we can even encounter God in new ways.

This Bible study will begin with one session devoted to how Presbyterians and other mainline Christians understand, use, and interpret the Scriptures. The next week, we will discuss how we can engage and wrestle with these troubling texts.  Then for the next nine weeks, we will consider one of these tyrannical texts each week—first from the Old Testament and then from the New Testament.  In the process, we will encounter God—the one who was, and is, and is to be!

Classes begin the week of September 9.