‘I am not a Bible person!’ exclaimed the elegant and sophisticated woman sitting across the table from me during Coffee Hour, ‘I am an Episcopalian.’
Those around her laughed, not because of her accuracy, but her intention.
After all, the moniker ‘Bible person’ conjures up images of ill-educated, over-bearing and angry street preachers looking to harass and condemn. We think just because the ‘Bible person’ is louder – and can quote chapter and verse – they know the Bible better than the rest of us. That’s rarely the case. After all, whenever someone says, ‘The Bible says…’ they’re really saying, ‘My reading of the Bible says…’
The truth is if you’re an Episcopalian you are a Bible person. First, it was from this tradition that the Bible was translated and promoted in English in the first place – including the invention of chapter and verse. Second, it was this tradition that published the most popular and influential version of the Bible in the world - the King James Version. And third, every Sunday morning, the average Episcopalian hears more of the Bible, and from more varied places in the Bible, than a very large number of the ‘bible’ churches out there.
Go ahead and keep your image of ‘Bible person’ – but please, please don’t shortchange what that means. At the heart of the Anglican/Episcopal tradition is a soul that yearns to have God’s words define us – to be inside us, on our hearts and in our minds – so that we might become more fully who we are and who we’re meant to be. You may not know chapter and verse, but you know more of the Bible than you think.
Fail – J.R. Briggs
Exploring Our Hebraic Heritage – Marvin Wilson