Friends and the Bible


Friends and the Bible

Friends and fellow seekers discuss the Bible and its role in their spiritual life. Tag: bible

Members: 102
Latest Activity: 5th month 2, 2020

Quaker and the Bible

Some Resources on Friends and the Bible

Quaker Bible Index: Esther Greenleaf Mürer has worked since 1992 to compile "a comprehensive scripture index to early Quaker writings in print." The last time she posted a count she had cataloged 35,000 references! It's really a fantastic resource for those of us who want to understand how the Bible shaped the theology and world view of early Friends. Bonus: Quaker blogger Mark Wutka pulled together a list of the most quoted verses from the Quaker Bible Index. Blogger Kirk Wattles of has been using this service to tag verses that "mean the most to me, relating to Quaker faith and practice, particularly in the historical context." These includes references from William Penn, the Quaker Bible Index and Vail Palmer. Here's Kirk's eBible profile, which includes his links and his "friends," many of whom are active Quaker bloggers. This project comes from Friend Sue Jeffers, a professor at Earlham School of Religion and Bethany Theological Seminary, both in Richmond Indiana. She describes the site as "peace church bible study" and it has an extensive set of links.'s Friends and the Bible: Bill Samuel has a great page that starts with an explanation of how early Friends related to the Bible and then goes on to link four centuries of Quaker statements and testimonies! His Friends Christian Renewal listing is a great guide to some hard-to-find meetings and worship groups.

The Scriptures as Understood & Used by Conservative Friends: An introduction from Quakerspring, an annual gathering at Barnesville Ohio that brings visitors from across the Friendly spectrum.

Bible Reading in the Manner of Conservative Friends is a technique for using scripture in meeting for worship. In this interview Charles Martin of the Christian Friends Conference introduces it and explains it's particular utility in introducing Christ-centered worship to audiences not accustomed to it.

The photo above is George Fox's bible, photographed in Swarthmoor Hall, England.

Discussion Forum

Day of Visitation

Started by David McKay. Last reply by Forrest Curo 4th month 18, 2016. 17 Replies

Anyone with experience in this?

Started by Stephanie Stuckwisch. Last reply by David L. Hoffman 3rd month 10, 2010. 12 Replies

Hiding Leaven

Started by John Michael Wine 12th month 18, 2009. 0 Replies

invitation, not sequentially-based.

Started by Forrest Curo 5th month 24, 2009. 0 Replies

Late start

Started by Rachel Findley. Last reply by Elizabeth Bullock-Rest 4th month 23, 2009. 6 Replies

Featured Quaker Blog Posts

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Meetups, Events, and Resources


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Comment by William F Rushby on 4th mo. 22, 2016 at 12:00pm

Hello, Rodney Pharris!  After having lived most of my adult life among Mennonites, my impression is (in comparison) that the Society of Friends does not have many outstanding Bible scholars.  Reducing reflections on the Bible to "Listen to your Teacher, that is all you need to know" illustrates the problem!  This attitude seems to bespeak an anti-intellectual attitude, dismissing the role of serious Biblical scholarship.  So, we get what we pay for!

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 22, 2016 at 10:38am

Brian Drayton, ( _On Living With a Concern for Gospel Ministry_):

"...We are often unsure of what the gospel is, and whether it should be preached, or its life encouraged; and we have a constricted view of what it may be."


I've found your last example [from Revelation] the clearest (ever since you brought it to my attention a few years ago) -- clear in its implication that ultimate Love is in the process of taking charge of the world, that the ultimate Power at work here is is absolutely loving. (For this to mean anything, one really needs must simultaneously cop to The Bad News: that much of our love is lacking strength, that the powers most visibly active in our world are utterly loveless.  That is, we need to confirm for anyone we address that yes, it is this very world of impotent love and triumphant cruelty we're talking about -- yet great Love is Powerfully at work within it.

Comment by David McKay on 4th mo. 21, 2016 at 8:32pm

There is an old story — not entirely sure if it was true — that a judge some time back in the 70s or 80s, when ruling on an obscenity case, commented, "I may not be able to define obscenity/pornography, but I sure enough know it when I see it!" Oddly enough the story keeps coming back to me whenever I get into discussions about spirituality or, as has happened more recently, the gospel. We have this visceral sense of what is or is not gospel (i.e. good news, glad tidings).

Those of us comfortable with a complex system of interconnections between politics and spirituality welcomed the observations of people like John Dominic Crossan who dared to observe that the Bible uses the word gospel in a very political kind of way. There was the gospel proclaimed by the early church, but that sense did not stand on its own. It was in some sense a deliberate distortion of the way the word was being used by the Roman Empire in the lands it conquered.

And I think it was Lewis Benson (or perhaps Douglas Gwynn) who observed the early Quaker use of the phrase "everlasting gospel" — which comes not from the Gospels but from the book of Revelation — the Apocalypse. These diverse articulations of the "gospel" are all approximations, attempts to get close to one of those, "I know what when I see it" kinds of experiences. Unfortunately we live in a world where "close" only counts in horseshoes and in global nuclear war.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."
 (Mar 1:14-15 NRS)

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see-- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger."
(Luk 2:10-12 NRS)

As you go, proclaim the good news, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.' (Mat 10:7 NRS)

For "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever." That word is the good news that was announced to you.
 (1Pe 1:24-2:1 NRS)

And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, declared the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "All the Gentiles shall be blessed in you." For this reason, those who believe are blessed with Abraham who believed.
 (Gal 3:8-9 NRS)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Rom 1:16 NRS)

 Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth-- to every nation and tribe and language and people. He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water."
(Rev 14:6-7 NRS)

Comment by Stephanie Stuckwisch on 4th mo. 15, 2016 at 9:21pm

Maybe the trick is looking at how a passage speaks to the individual, understanding that this can change over time. Sort of a group lectio divina?

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 7, 2016 at 9:23am

Now & then I'm pretty sure I killed it, being all things to all people in a way that generally ticked them off.

I've got one old friend who (irrately) tells me he "can't take the Bible seriously enough to joke about it" and other friends who hold their interpretations too strongly (me sometimes, perhaps) to consider that God may have other plans... There's the whole internet dampening-effect, where too-little-or-too-much likemindedness seems to shut off exchanges; plus people who care about it at all (almost as much as politics) get so very _personal about their takes.

Comment by David McKay on 4th mo. 7, 2016 at 6:49am

I don't know, Forrest. The Friendly Kwakersaurus Bible Study had a fairly good run. It just seemed to lose something over time. Maybe the trick is to do it for short periods then move on to other stuff. What matters is that we are centred enough that we can disagree respectfully. And listen with a willingness to be changed. It's not Quaker but the Prayer of Saint Francis works quite well as an netiquette covenant, I should think. 

Comment by Forrest Curo on 4th mo. 6, 2016 at 11:52pm

What probably derails online Bible studies is probably the unavoidable tendency to think of "what the Bible means" in terms of whichever traditions, ideas, methods each person has been given to help learn whatever he has from it. It's got to be easier to reconcile -- or at least coexist with divergent ideas in a face to face group. Online, one thinks of ideas. Face to face, one thinks more of the people.

Comment by David McKay on 4th mo. 6, 2016 at 6:58pm

Hello Stephanie!
I think that thee and me came to Quakers about the same time and self identify in similar ways. Though I have been absent from the Quaker soup for some time now.

Given that this group is about Friends in the Bible the most likely directions we could take with this group would be to conduct a kind of online Bible study or to read a quicker book together with a focus on its use of Scripture. My best guess is that's been tried before with less than stellar results. So I am open to other suggestions.

Comment by Stephanie Stuckwisch on 4th mo. 6, 2016 at 12:41am

Yes David, many of the groups are idle. If you have any ideas for getting this one going, I'd like to join in.

Comment by David McKay on 4th mo. 4, 2016 at 7:34pm

Hello Friends. You have a remarkably quiet little space here! Last comment seems to have been 5 years ago. Seems kinda dusty for a group with 96 members...

Just saying...


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