Wednesday, February 4, 2009

First glance at the Wesley Study Bible

Not that I need another Bible, but the idea of a Wesley-inspired Bible and the price (they're available from Cokesbury for 24.95 through the end of February) made this pretty hard to pass up. So, I ordered one last week and it arrived over the weekend. It's really one of the more attractive Bibles I've seen. (Mine is actually green with the leather and I think it looks better than the blue one shown here.) The Bible, as one would expect from a study Bible, is full of Wesleyan-related theology and often references John Wesley's sermons. There are also short insets within the commentaries themselves, "Wesleyan Core Term" which defines concepts like faith in Wesleyan context and "Life Application Topic" which attempt to give meaning to scripture in a current context. Both types of boxes are valuable and interesting to read. I've only skimmed through the WSB but did delve into the commentary on Mark since that's quickly becoming my area of interest, if not my area of semi-expertise. Situated within the commentary is a Wesleyan Core Term regarding Wesley's view on the Kingdom of God. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not very familiar with Wesleyan theology, but I was pretty surprised and actually disappointed in reading that Wesley "opposes any attempt to substitute rituals for Christ-centered faith." and that "time-honored traditions and orthodoxy proved insufficient, however to bring for the kingdom of God". First of all, there is not Christ-centered faith without ritual. The ancients, early Christian communities by all accounts were highly ritualistic. Their theology and understanding of Christ was through ritual. So, if what's in the WSB is true, I think Wesley was dead wrong on that account. Secondly, it is through those rituals, "time-honored traditions" that we are exposed to the Kingdom of God. It is through the understanding of those rituals that everything else is possible, i.e. social justice, redeeming creation, etc. This all makes me very eager to dig into Wesley's theology and to further my understanding of the role the sacraments play in our theology.
But back to the WSB. It's well worth the $25. I would suggest reading it with another commentary to compare what's truly Weslyan with what other's have to say about a particular pericope or even larger portion of the scriptures.

1 comment:

jeanne leigh said...

Hi, hope you had a lovely Valentines Day:) Thank you for posting this. We'll have to purchase one soon. I'll share this with Jim. I agree with you about rituals. This will be an interesting study, for sure. Keep us posted, hey? ~peace