Response Magizine Online Logo : Seattle Pacific University

Response Spring 2007

From the President



Books, Film, & Music



My Response

Letters to the Editor

From the Editor

Response onScreen



Response Home

Seattle Pacific University
Spring 2007 | Volume 30, Number 1 | Features

The Multifaceted Bible

Literature, Scripture, canon, sacrament — and key to Christian formation

Susan VanZanten Gallagher
Professor of English Susan VanZanten Gallagher visits the SPU Library's Samuel J. Emmanuel Special Collections Room.
Just what is the Bible? In one sense, the answer is simple. The Bible is the best-selling book of all time, and a foundational text of Western civilization. It is also the sacred text — in whole or in part — for millions of Christians and Jews worldwide.

But the Bible is a book of rich complexity, containing a vast compilation of writings composed over 1,600 years by 40 authors in three languages on three continents. Brimming with literary forms, the Bible has so many facets that it both draws and intimidates readers.

For Robert Wall and his colleagues in the Seattle Pacific University School of Theology, it’s a delicate balance to teach the Bible with intellectual honesty while at the same time helping move students toward deeper relationships with God. “If students leave a Bible class with clear definitions about Scripture’s importance for Christian formation,” explains the Paul T. Walls Professor of Scripture and Wesleyan Studies, “then they are more likely to believe that the Bible can be the object of serious study and the source of comfort, correction, and guidance for the church.”

To read the Bible with “skill and grace,” the goal of SPU’s Bible courses, requires Christians to understand the various “lenses” through which the church has historically viewed Scripture. Four Seattle Pacific faculty members describe some of these ways of approaching the Bible — and meeting God in its pages.

Read four points of view:
Susan VanZanten Gallagher Susan VanZanten Gallagher
The Bible as Literature
Frank Anthony Spina Frank Anthony Spina
The Bible as Scripture
Paul T. Walls Robert Wall
The Bible as Canon
Douglas M. Koskela Douglas M. Koskela
The Bible as Sacrament
Next Page 1 of 5

Back to the top
Back to Features Home

Department Highlights

from the president
Embracing the Christian Story
SPU President Philip Eaton asks what would happen if the Bible were at the center of the learning enterprise.

Destination: Asia
SPU President Philip Eaton joined a historic delegation of U.S. university presidents that visited Asia.

Coffee as Change Agent?
Pura Vida employees, including several SPU alumni, engage the culture using a social-venture business model.

books, film, & music
Dark Alphabet
Jennifer Maier, poet and SPU associate professor of English, receives a literary award for her first book.

National Tournament Returns
For the first time in 10 years, SPU hosts the USA Gymnastics Women's Collegiate Championship.

my response
Undone by the Word
Response writer Kathy Henning shares her journey to know the Bible better.

Response art
Pink Emperors
Class of 1973 alumna Jill Ingram introduces Response readers to “Pink Emperors.”