. . . the refusal to think is sin, for Christ commanded that we should love [God] with all our mind.
~Leslie Weatherhead

Bible Study Using the Wesleyan Quadrilateral

Scripture, Tradition, Experience, & Reason

After reading a passage of Scripture, ask the following questions.  To answer some of these, it may be necessary to consult good Bible commentaries, pastors, and / or other people. 

  • Scripture:
  1. How is this passage similar to or different than other passages of Scripture you have read before?
  2. Is this passage based on another passage of Scripture (check the footnotes in your Bible)? If so, what does that passage say?  What was the original context for the other Scripture passage?
  • Tradition:
  1. What traditions (Jewish, pagan, philosophical, etc) did this passage of Scripture come out of?
  2. What traditions is it speaking to?
  3. What do others (i.e. commentators, other people, etc.) have to say about this passage?
  4. How does this passage affirm or conflict with the traditions in your church or family?
  • Experience:
  1. What experience was this passage originally for or about?
  2. What did this passage mean to and for the first readers?
  3. Is the experience written about timely (meant specifically for the original audience but not applicable today) or timeless (has meaning for all readers of any time)?
  4. How is this passage similar or different than your own experience of God?
  • Reason:
  1. What might have been the thought processes of the original writer?
  2. How does this logic inform your own ways of thinking?

By Rev. Troy Sims


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