Scripture holds a decisive place in our shared identity as Reformed Christians. While we value our theological traditions and our polity, Scripture always has the final authoritative word on our faith and life. We do not look to Scripture because it is a common or “traditional” thing to do, or because the church has given it authority. In the words of the Belgic Confession, we believe the teachings of Scripture “because the Holy Spirit testifies in our hearts that they are from God, and also because they prove themselves to be from God” (article 5).
This three-part video series explores what it means for Reformed Christians to read and interpret the Bible as Scripture, as the Word of God. The video series was developed in response to a recommendation approved by General Synod 2016, calling for a denomination-wide discussion centered on a Reformed understanding of the nature, purpose, authority, and interpretation of Scripture (MGS 2016, p. 87).
This video series is designed to be viewed in order, with a discussion taking place after each video. The discussion guide outlines key points and suggests questions you could discuss in small groups (around six people) after each video. The guide could be adapted for larger groups, but we recommend splitting up into small groups for more in-depth discussion.
You could view and discuss the videos over the course of three one-hour sessions or in one 90-minute session. There will be plenty to discuss, so make sure to leave lots of time for discussion.
The videos and discussion guide may be downloaded and reprinted for congregational, classis, and regional use.
About the presenter
J. Todd Billings has a lifelong devotion to Scripture. He reads it as a Christian. He studies it as a scholar. He wrote a book about it.
Todd is also passionate about being a Reformed Christian. He’s a seminary professor, a theologian, a teacher, and a writer.
He brings this knowledge and passion—Scripture and theology, Word and identity—to his teaching in this three-part video series that explores how Reformed Christians can and should understand and interpret God’s Word.
Todd is the Gordon H. Girod research professor of Reformed theology at Western Theology Seminary in Holland, Michigan. He’s a minister of Word and sacrament in the Reformed Church in America. Todd’s past experience includes community development in Uganda, teaching theology in Ethiopia, and working at a Boston-area homeless shelter. His academic interests include Reformed theology, theological hermeneutics (interpreting Scripture), the sacraments, and salvation. Todd has published five books and numerous articles.
For a more in-depth exploration of what it means to interpret the Bible as a Christian, you may enjoy The Word of God for the People of God, written by the presenter, J. Todd Billings. This video series includes material adapted from chapters 1 and 4 of the book.
The paper “Scripture and Moral Discernment” was commended for use in churches by General Synod 2013. It relays conversations about interpreting Scripture between the RCA and Formula of Agreement partners the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Church of Christ.