The Bible: for my friends

I asked a bunch of my friends to answer some questions about how they looked at the Bible.

You, in fact.

It wasn’t a Bible knowledge test, the kind that students at a Bible college take. I taught at one years ago, as a communication prof, not a Bible prof.  All the students coming in had to take a Bible test, a knowledge test. It determined whether they could skip the Bible survey courses that were part of the requirements. If you knew enough Bible facts, you didn’t have to take a semester of Old Testament survey and a semester of New Testament survey. Which meant that those courses were also about Bible facts.

My questions were about how often people looked at the Bible, what metaphors they had for what the Bible is, what questions they have. And I discovered as I read their responses that these friends, these people who show up regularly to read what I write about at, all look at the Bible differently. Which is to be expected, on one hand. But is challenging for me as I write five days a week about following Jesus.

I mean, when I refer to the Bible as I write, what does that mean to you as you read?

So I decided to teach a course about the Bible starting during the month of September. I decided that before I knew what I meant.

It’s going to be a six week course. There will be a pretty long email each week. There will be a couple of brief videos from the email. There will be a reading assignments. And I’ll be available to answer questions. And I’m trying to figure out an interactive part. Maybe you can help me.

Subscribe here to “The Bible: for my friends.

14 thoughts on “The Bible: for my friends

  1. Joseph Ruiz (@SMSJOE)

    Sounds interesting Jon. I suppose Google + probably doesn’t work for interaction? I believe the platform would I am guessing there may not be a critical mass of subsribers on it now.
    Thanks for this looking forward to it.


    1. namnum

      Joe and Jon, I think a G+ hangout could make a great once a week interactive piece, for questions and deeper conversation. There is the limitation of 10 people at a time, not sure how many people you’re looking to get together at once.

      If you need more than that, there’s always, that would give us 12 video participants and plenty (~400) of text chat participants.


    2. Jon Swanson

      Joe, I’ve thought about doing a hangout. I’ll see what I can do. I’ve also wondered about a ustream with a chat. It would only be me on camera, but others could ask and answer questions. I’ll look at tiny chat (see comment below)


  2. Wes

    The most useful class would be the one that few teach, fewer take, and all need. And that’s the class on the scholarship history of the New Testament – when the books were written, by whom (if known), the theological reason the books were written, why some were chosen and many were not, and the theologies of the 4 competing versions of Christianity. The fact that the Trinity was not defined or explained for 300 years (and was unknown to Paul) would also be of interest. You CANNOT understand the contents of the NT books unless you understand why, when and by whom they were written.


  3. Susan E.

    I study the Bible to find what G-d expects of me right now, today. I want to know exactly how He views our care of Earth as it is today. If we were banned from ‘the Garden’ then where exactly did we go and where are we now? What does he want me to do tomorrow? Exactly where does He want me to give my charity? My tithe? My time? How can I be one with my brothers and sisters all over the Earth? He showers us with thousands of blessings everyday…………… I study the Bible to know best how to use those blessings.

    Most religious scholars get lost in the details, and as we know the Bible and Christian New Testament is certainly full of details. Some things I have learned without question. You must Thank God every day for everything you are. You must Thank God every day for giving you another day of life to do good. Ask for His help with all you do, in solving problems or in raising a family or in seeking work. Ask for his help in helping you choose the life that compliments your abilities. Everything we need to live and thrive is here on Earth. It always has been. Ask Him how we can best use it to glorify His name.


    1. Jon Swanson

      Susan, that balance of scholarship and service, listening and doing, is indeed a challenge. You’ve got a significant list of questions. I share many of them. We’ll keep looking at the answers.


  4. Pingback: Jeremiah, the GodCo consultant. | 300 words a day

  5. Alan Eicher

    Jon. I’m just now catching up on your blog because they stopped posting on FB. Thought maybe you were on vacation at first. This bible study Idea sounds interesting to me as well if I can swing it.


  6. Pingback: How I lost and still won. | 300 words a day

Comments are closed