Early Quakers (Friends) were deeply connected to and immersed in the Christian Bible (the so-called “Old” and “New” testaments). Gunpowder Friends have sustained a learning circle around the Christian Bible for decades, following a study method developed by Quakers Joanne and Larry Spears. Using this method, we explore specific passages from the Christian Bible through the lens of our lived experience and spiritual journeys. Meeting monthly, we move systematically through books of the Bible, asking ourselves how the text speaks to our experience, what “new Light” or insight we gain from the text, and what action or follow-up the text asks of us. Our discussions are lively and informative and we leave each learning session with as many questions as we do answers! For more information about Bible Study at Gunpowder, contact its facilitators Amy Schmaljohn firstname.lastname@example.org or Bob Fetter email@example.com.
"As Christians who are also becoming Quakers, we sought to find a Meeting that on the one hand welcomed Friends who are not Christians, including non-theistic Friends, and also that could welcome our Christian faith, too. Gunpowder has offered us this, including through the Bible Study, which uses a Quaker study method that invites each of us to listen deeply to the Bible and to each other. "
~ Gunpowder Friend
"What Gunpowder Friends call Bible Study might rightly go by other names, such as 'Biblical Literacy,' or 'Shared Insights from Revered and Sometimes Problematic Ancient Texts.' To read the Bible alone and without deep exegetical context, or to receive Biblical passages only from those who fervently exploit carefully selected excerpts for their pre-formed political and cultural agendas, is to profoundly misunderstand one of the most influential pieces of wisdom-literature humanity ever produced.
"At Gunpowder, we explore the Bible together via the Spears Method, in which we gather to read aloud and consider a few contiguous verses, during which we ask ourselves the following questions: What is the Main Point? What New Light do I perceive, whether this is the first or only the most recent of many encounters with the text? What if any portion contains Truth to Experience, resonating as having integrity through the millenia? Are there Implications for our lived understanding of the passages we selected for reading? And finally, what Problems do we find in our own understanding of the passages, or how they seem to be misunderstood in the larger religious culture?
"Friends who find wisdom in community (which I presuppose to be all Quakers) find experientially that the Bible is best approached in the presence of others who also seek Truth, but whose knowledge, life journey, and accumulated wisdom is different from one’s own. We listen, we reveal a bit of ourselves, we laugh, we learn."
~ Gunpowder Friend