• When and Where
Note how similar the introductions of both Luke and Acts are. Borg writes: “There was a practical reason that the author wrote this single work in two volumes. In the ancient world, the maximum length of a scroll was about 30 feet. Anything longer was heavy and awkward to work with and use.”
• Key Insights
Wesleyan Core Term: Wholeness of Scripture
“Different people wrote the Bible at different times, in different places. Wesley believed, though, that all these writings worked together to help us understand our salvation through Jesus Christ. He argued that no portion of the Bible should be lifted out and used in isolation. Instead, every individual passage of Scripture needs to be interpreted in light of the whole message that Scripture wants to convey about Gods love and care. Some parts of Scripture may seem to contradict other parts, and when they do, each needs to be examined in light of what Wesley called the general tenor or the whole scope and tenor of Scripture (Sermon 110: Free Grace, ¶20–23). This practice means that Christians should avoid prooftexting—simply looking for a sentence or sentences that prove or support a point that one wants to make. Instead, Christians need to read each passage of the Bible in the context of the whole story that God wants to tell through it.”
• Big Picture
We’ve now come to the end of our reading of all 4 Gospels. I invite you to reflect on how each presents Jesus a little bit differently. There have been, many times, efforts to “harmonize” all 4 into one narrative – but the church has repeatedly and intentionally resisted those efforts. These narratives are not straight reporting of events, they are theology and proclamation. They are about entering into the experience of being with Jesus and the proclaim the hope that Jesus is yet with us, even as they each approach that task with somewhat different points of emphasis.
What has stood out most to you? Which gave you new insights? Which was least – or most – familiar? Each has wonder, awe, comfort and challenge to offer and it is well worth regularly rereading them. Our long practice of just reading short passages, in my opinion, masks the beauty and power of the full narratives and leaves us a bit too prone to think the Bible is “basic instructions before leaving earth” instead of a complex library of different attempts to explain the ultimately unexplainable experience of God being with us.
Blessings on your reading!