Hey, Wise Guy! (Heretic’s Guide Study for Sunday, May 26th, 2013)

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Bible Cliff’s Notes (My dog ate my Bible!)

First Reading
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Wisdom (a feminine figure) longs to reach out and share her message with all people. The claims that she (wisdom) has been around since the forming of the universe. We were fashioned, or co-created, by this wisdom, which is a “master worker” beside God.

Gospel
John 16:12-15
Jesus is heir to all that is of God. He vows, in turn, to entrust it to us. He notes that we can’t yet handle all he has to tell us, but that the spirit of truth (a masculine figure) will guide us in time toward what we require.

Psalm
Psalm 8
The psalmist says that, although humanity is a “little lower than God,” we have dominion over all the creatures of the earth.

Second Reading
Romans 5:1-5
Paul claims we are justified by grace through our faith in Jesus. He also contextualizes suffering, by noting that suffering leads to endurance, endurance to character, and character to hope.

 

WTF? (Breaking down scripture in plain language)

Grace – This is one of the slipperiest words in scripture. Basically, grace is favor or mercy.

Sovereign – One who has independent authority over a territory. This goes along with the images of God as Lord, which make plenty of sense within a largely feudal or imperial system. Sometimes such images of God are comforting; other times, they can be a real turn-off. In order to better understand this, we have to break down what we mean by “authority.” To be continued…

Dominion – This is similar to sovereignty, in that it means one who has dominion has more or less unchecked control over something else.

Wisdom – Sometimes we confuse wisdom, intelligence and knowledge. Wisdom is distinct in that it is understanding and judgment specifically based on experience.

 

Navel-Gazing (First Thoughts)

  • It’s strange to think of Wisdom as something that’s existed since before humanity’s creation, since it seems like it requires our experience to manifest itself. But here, this is meant to suggest that wisdom is freely given by God and is a gift that undergirds all of creation.
  • Some people take this passage in Psalms about God giving us dominion over the earth to mean that we have the responsibility of stewardship, or care, over all the earth. Others see this as permission to exploit nature for our pleasure and convenience. Still others, often called “dominionists,” believe that this means God means for our nation – if not the world – to be governed by a Christian-based power of government. So yeah, I’d say we’re coming away from different perspectives here that warrant some teasing out.

This is a sampler of the full content offered at Heretic’s Guide to the Bible. Click the banner above or below to connect with the full weekly studies, live chats, videos and a growing Heretic’s Guide community.

Click to check out the new Heretic’s Guide to the Bible Blog HERE

About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press, and he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

  • Brian P.

    Wisdom only with humanity seems a bit vainly anthropocentric. I think she’d be fine without us.


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