I enjoyed my church’s Bible study last night. We’re going through Margaret Feinberg’s Scouting the Divine: Searching for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey.
Something that I appreciate about Feinberg’s curriculum is that its questions are truly open-ended. For instance, one question in our workbook was whether we think that Jesus in Matthew 7 was contradicting himself when he told us not to judge, right before he said that we know whether prophets are true or false by their fruits. Not surprisingly, most of the people there did not believe that there was a contradiction. One lady said that we are to be discerning but not judgmental, and her point may have been that we should be careful about whom we trust and yet we shouldn’t be condemning people or presuming to know everything about them.
I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d be a little out of place in the group were I to say that Jesus did contradict himself. But what impressed me was that, as far as I could see (and I have not seen the Teacher’s manual), Margaret Feinberg did not provide us with some canned attempt to forcefully harmonize the passages. Rather, she let us come up with an answer. She did not tell us what to think, but she encouraged us to think. I had a different impression when I went through a Kay Arthur Bible study, for I felt that I was being told what to think in that case.