Letter From the Pastor
Commonly Asked Questions
In our series on “Commonly Asked Questions,” I try to answer questions about St. Augustine, The Episcopal Church, and Christianity. The purpose is to teach you about our faith’s rich history and traditions and answer some burning questions. If you have any questions about why we do certain things, please let me know.
May you know the richness Christ entrusted to us,
How important is the Bible to Episcopalians?
Episcopalians are known as “The People of the Book” (BCP) however, that book is referring to the Book of Common Prayer not usually the Bible. If that is so, the question is raised, “how important is the Bible to Episcopalians?” My answer is extremely important. Firstly, yes, it is a Book of Common Prayer in the seats of our church, however, the Book of Common Prayer is a book made from the Bible. It is grounded in the Bible and the Bible application is on every page. The BCP was created to have a way to incorporate the Bible into your everyday use and worship. The Bible is not only represented in the BCP and our liturgy but also in the Eucharistic Service. The entire first half of our service is the “Liturgy of the Word.” This means that the first half of the service is scripture related. Every week we read a Hebrew Scripture, a Psalm, an Epistle, and a Gospel. Then the sermon will be based upon the Bible. So, I would say the Bible is essential to Episcopalians.
Do Episcopalians Study the Bible?
Yes, Episcopalians study the Bible. St. Augustine has both formal and informal Bible studies. The formal Bible Study is a group that meets on Fridays at 1 p.m. at the church. This group is studying the Book of John together. Even if we are studying a subject like the Way of Love Study, which we are doing in our Small Groups, the studies are based upon scripture. These studies usually focus on application of the Bible.
What are good resources to study the Bible?
We never read the Bible alone. Primarily this means that the Holy Spirit always helps us to understand scripture. It also means that billions of people in over two thousand years have gone before us in reading the scriptures, scholars and pastors spend their whole lives studying the Bible, plus it is always best to read scripture in a community. Scripture is read best when we can listen and learn from one another. This does not mean that private devotional time is not important, but it does mean that whenever we read scripture either corporately or solo other people should influence our understanding.
Following are a few resources for helping you in your study of the Bible and reading of scripture, either at home or in a group setting.
"A Journey Through the Hebrew Scriptures" by Frank S. Frick
"God: A Biography" by Jack Miles
"Who Wrote the Bible" by Richard Elliott Friedman
Good Study Bibles
· The New Interpreters Study Bible
· The HarperCollins Study Bible
· The New Oxford Annotated Bible
· The Hebrew Bible: A Translation With Commentary
· The Jewish Study Bible