This month we've been having lots of discussions with students and educators. At the Academy, we've had discussions that have lasted for hours and hours, some persisting all the way until sunrise the next day. And we love doing it! We love spending time with students, straining to see the truth together, using our minds and our community to do it.
This summer's theme, "Whole & Sound: in Him all things hold together," has generated some incredible discussions about beauty and pain, grief and joy, hope and doubt. Throughout the weeks, we've been reading and discussing Colossians, trying to open ourselves up to the text in new ways.
It's hard though: reading the Bible sometimes shows us how we've calcified ourselves against it. Sometimes it doesn't seem fresh or interesting, or that there's not really anything new to see. When we sit to read the bible as a thing to check off of our to-do-list, it's pretty stale.
This is why discussing the Bible together can be so awesome, and why reading it in order to talk about it can be so fruitful. When we gather together for a discussion, we're admitting that we don't know it all but we'd like to know more. And when we read so that we can talk about our ignorances or confusions, our Bible reading suddenly gets really exciting. We're given the freedom to admit that there are confusing parts, or parts that we thought we understood, but maybe don't fully get. We sit with our Bible in our laps thinking "Holy moly! There's way more going on here than I realized, and I am so confused. Time to talk about it!"
Of course, asking questions about the Bible isn't necessarily the same as doubt or skepticism. When we ask questions about the Bible because we want to know the truth about it, we're rewarded. We're able to break away from the temptation of having mastery over the text rather than being mastered by it and its mystery. When we ask a question about the Bible, we might already have some pretty good ideas of its answer. But by taking up the question-asking posture, we can peer a little deeper.
As I've been reading Colossians for the past few months, I've had a number of questions come up from my reading. I'd love to share them with you, and invite you to reply with your questions. Let's generate the best, most honest questions we can about this compact epistle.
- What's with all of the prepositions in 1:15-21?
- What is "lacking in Christ's afflictions" and how does Paul "fill them up in his flesh"? (1:24)
- What's Paul's ministry?
- How does love bind everything together in perfect harmony? (3:14)