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What We Believe
The Bible Statement
This statement about the Bible is what we emphasize in our understanding and teaching and, though it is not all we could say, is a starting point for great conversations about the Bible.
The Bible’s core message is one of love and compassion.
In the Bible we discover who God is and how we can live in relationship with God and the world. The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) tell the story of God creating, guiding and loving God’s people. The New Testament tells the story of Jesus and the experiences and faith of the first century followers of Jesus. As Christians, we believe that the life and teachings of Jesus are central to our understanding of the Bible’s core message of love and compassion. We affirm that some stories and passages in the Bible are more important than others. Jesus’ teaching of the greatest commandment, to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves is the primary lens through which we understand the biblical message.
The Bible is the result of generations of interactions between God and people.
We believe the Bible was written through an amazing partnership between God and its human authors. God was present and active in the writing, editing, selecting, copying, and translating of what would become the Bible. The interaction between God and people was complex and isn’t totally understood today. For thousands of years people composed prayers, stories, poetry, and letters about their experiences with God and other people. Many of these were passed on through the oral traditions of successive generations. Later, they were written down and carefully collected by communities of faith. As these writings began circulating together, they eventually became the Bible we read today. Each generation and community must do the work of faithful discovery and interpretation in their context.
The Bible connects us with other communities.
The Christian Bible consist of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament. The Hebrew Scriptures link our spiritual traditions with Jewish communities; the whole Bible connects us with Christians throughout the ages and around the globe. We honor the fact that Christians, Jews and Muslims share some foundational stories and that people of other spiritual traditions have their own sacred writings.
The Bible invites engagement and interpretation.
We believe that the Bible has a life-giving message for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Bible’s diverse tapestry of writings and stories invite us to examine our beliefs, discuss hard questions, and explore God’s relationship with us and with all of God’s creation. It is not an easy answer book for all of life’s questions. Engaging the Bible through study and conversation can be exciting and helps us to experience God and to discover our identity as Christians who are called to live compassionately in this world.