I originally started this blog to support groups that were using the study guides in my Understanding the Books of the Bible series. The publisher, InterVarsity Press, felt that because people usually approach the Bible as a single reference volume divided into chapters and verses, they could probably use some real-time help approaching it instead as a collection of individual creative works, as my series would lead them to do. You’ll see that in the earliest posts, the questions are about concerns that arise from using the guides.
But the blog quickly expanded as people from around the world started asking their own questions about the Bible and I offered my thoughts in response. There are now over 400 posts, and most of them are responses to questions I’ve been asked either through this blog itself, or else in person, by email, through Facebook, or in some other way. I always say, “There’s no such thing as a bad question about the Bible.” That’s why this blog is called Good Question.
Any question I’ve been asked by someone else appears in bold type at the start of a post. In a few posts, I share my own ongoing reflections about the Bible, and those begin in regular type. Either way, I write about what the Bible is and how it is supposed to guide the lives of followers of Jesus when we understand it as a collection of books, not as a compendium of chapters and verses.
A friend of mine recently shared the following material with me (slightly adapted here) from a devotional book by Charles Stanley. I think it’s very well put, and it captures the spirit in which I try to approach the Bible on this blog. “To get the most out of the Bible, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into the truth. Give yourself permission to ask questions that may not have answers. Wonder aloud, imagine the scene, and take note of anything that surprises, confuses, or even offends you. Above all else, trust the Lord. He’s the best teacher.”
Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I’m a writer, biblical scholar, and retired pastor. I served local churches for nearly twenty years and then was a volunteer campus staff worker for five years with Graduate InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Michigan State University. I was a consulting editor to the International Bible Society (now Biblica) for The Books of the Bible, an edition of the Scriptures that presents the biblical books according to their natural literary outlines, without chapters and verses. (My study guide series was designed to be used with the Bible in that format.) I’ve written a book called After Chapters and Verses: Engaging the Bible in the Coming Generations to explain how we can use the Bible, without chapters and verses, for reading, studying, preaching, and teaching. I was one of the translators for The Voice Bible.
I have an A.B. from Harvard in English and American Literature and Language, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and a Ph.D. in the History of Christian Life and Thought, with a minor concentration in Bible, from Boston College, in the joint program with Andover Newton Theological School. I’ve published articles on the literary structures of biblical books in journals such as New Testament Studies, Novum Testamentum, and The Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. I’ve also written articles for The High Calling of Our Daily Work and Bible Study Magazine.
I hope you enjoy this blog. If you have any questions about the Bible yourself, please use the “Ask a Question” link above to send them to me. (Also, the study guides are now available free in PDF form through this blog; you can use the “Free Study Guides” link at the top of this page to access them. If you have any questions about using the guides, or about what they say, feel free to ask those as well. That was, after all, how this blog got started.) The time it takes me to respond will depend on the volume of questions received. I also welcome comments on individual posts. Comments may be edited for length, tone, and content. Thanks!