1.08.  Me and the Bible

As I said:

My main approach to theology is biblical theology. In other words: I start with passages from the Christian Bible and move from those texts into descriptions of the things I’m studying, the things I see there.

My graduate degrees (MA, PhD) are in New Testament Studies. That means that I’ve spent a lot of time learning about the background of the New Testament. I can read Greek, the language that the New Testament was written in. I have a fairly broad knowledge of the history, culture, and literature, from the time of Alexander the Great (330’s BC) to the end of the 2nd century AD, about the time of Marcus Aurelius. I know a little bit about a lot of things from this period.

I know a lot about the documents of the New Testament: the arguments about who wrote what and when, the arguments about the content of the different documents and what the writers did and didn’t mean when they wrote.

Does that mean I’m an expert on the New Testament? Kind of, I guess.

When I teach the New Testament, I try to think of myself as a tour guide. I’m leading a group of people through terrain that I’ve looked at long enough to have some ideas, some opinions about what’s there. I’ve seen a lot of what’s there, and thought about a lot of what’s there.

But have I seen everything? Of course not.

Is it possible that one of the people in my tour group will ask me a question I haven’t thought through adequately? Is it possible that one of them will see something I haven’t seen, or made connections I haven’t made? OF COURSE! That’s what makes it fun to be a tour guide.

I’m a student before I’m an expert. I’m an expert because I’ve been a student for such a long time, and will continue to be a student until I die.

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