1 in Faith: A Christian Bible Study





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Hymns (mp3)

Be Still My Soul
Follow Christ
God of Earth
If You Have Faith
O God of Love
Keep Us Safe
O God of Life
God of Abraham
Cry for Justice
This is My Prayer
To Make You True
Where are You


Carols (mp3)

Ding Dong
Friendly Beasts
Lo a Rose
What Child
Unto Us
Huron Carol
Jesus Born
Dark of Winter
All Mortal Flesh
Drummer Boy
Gabriel's Message
Hush My Dear
Infant Holy
Savior Come
We Three Kings


Doing Environmental Ethics

Magdalene's Gospel: A Love StoryNew

Faith, Belief, and Religion

Quest for Truth

Faith in Human Rights

Jerusalem Journal

Doing Ethics in a Diverse World

Mindful Health CareNew

Abide in Love

"those who abide in love abide in God" (1 John 4:16)

The Bible is not the literal, infallible or inerrant word of God, but the faithful witness of ancient Jews and first and second century Christians. It is a human story that may also be a divine story, for those with "ears to ear and eyes to see."

In the New Testament Jesus of Nazareth challenges temple leaders and is crucified for treason by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Palestine. The first church in Jerusalem is founded by Peter and the disciples, but led by James, the brother of Jesus. Paul preaches the gospel to Greek-speaking Jews and Gentiles in cities throughout the Roman Empire. 

In the first century the Roman emperor Augustus demanded worship as the Savior of the world, and after his death he was worshipped as the divine son of a god. Faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus was an act of resistance to Roman idolatry and oppression. In the 60s Paul and Peter were executed in Rome for treason, and James (the brother of Jesus and leader of the Jerusalem church) was killed for denouncing the temple authorities who supported Roman rule.  

Jews in Palestine revolted in 66, but four years later Roman armies captured Jerusalem, destroyed its temple, and crucified thousands of rebels outside the city walls. These apocalyptic events led Greek-speaking followers of the Way to proclaim among Jews that Jesus is the promised Messiah (Christ), and to tell Gentiles that Jesus is the reigning Son of God. 

The church began without the Christian Bible. The first Christians, like Jesus and his disciples, read as their scripture the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings of their Jewish ancestors. Paul's letters were written in the 40s and 50s, and the gospels were composed and edited the late in the first century and early in the second century. Controversy in the early church about what writings should be read as scripture was resolved only in the fourth century after the emperor Constantine was converted and demanded that church leaders preach a unifying message throughout the Roman Empire.

In the midst of this tumultuous history, men and women found ways to abide in love, and so came to know through faith in Jesus the just God who is forgiving.

Listen to what some of the visitors have said about this challenging web site.

"Without reading this site's answers to my questions, I would have been lost forever. Thank you."  Heather

"I must say that while I do not agree with everything you have written, I have read more of my Bible in the last two weeks than ever before."  Kevin

"I am so glad I started reading your website. I have had to struggle with some of the doctrine when it just does not make sense."  Anna 

"Thanks so much for your summaries. They have been a great help and a useful resource in my study of God's word."  Erik

  Bible Blog    awakening

I am guided in my interpretation of the Christian Bible by the Creeds and the Reformed Confessions of the church. Moreover, I understand a scripture text in the context of the whole Bible as part of the church's witness. I believe all historical materials should be read critically and creatively.

In witnessing to our faith we must not to confuse our words about God with God. 

  New Statement of Faith (click) Eternal Love NEW

Updated 30 July 2014

Resources and challenging essays

New Testament Bible Study - Commentary, questions, and answers

The Greatest Commandment - It isn't "worship God"

Transcendence Without Supernaturalism
- Recovering God in nature

Public Banking: A Saving Grace
- Money and justice

Letters from Jerusalem - Written Feb-May 2005

The Middle East - An ethical review of Presbyterian divestment

The Blood of Christ - A meditation prompted by Mel Gibson's film

The Da Vinci Code - Correcting statements about scripture

Ending Religious Violence - What is our responsibility?

Explaining Christian Faith - What we believe and don't believe?

A Story of God in Three Scriptures - For the children we love

Can American Civil Religion Be Evangelical? - Presidential Faith


What is the Christian Bible? Jesus and his disciples heard the scrolls of Jewish faith read in Hebrew and Aramaic, as did the Jewish Christians of the first church in Jerusalem. This was their Bible. Paul and other Greek-speaking Christians read the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, as their Bible. 

After the Council of Nicea in 325, which produced the Nicene Creed, church leaders argued for the rest of the fourth century about the writings that should be included in scripture. At the end of the century the Roman Empire authorized a Greek Bible with the New Testament, as we know it, and a reordered Septuagint, as the Old Testament.

In the sixteenth century Protestant reformers translated the Old Testament from Hebrew scriptures authorized by rabbis around 100 CE, which omits part of the Septuagint. Because Catholic Bibles continue to have all the books of the Septuagint in the Old Testament, Protestant Bibles have a slightly shorter Old Testament.

The materials on this web site are either written by or selected by Robert Traer.  A brief biographical sketch and statement of faith are available on the dialogue page.

For other web sites and books published by Robert Traer go to http://doingfaith.com

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1 in Faith: A Christian Bible Study Copyright 2000 by Robert Traer