This past Wednesday, half a dozen people squeezed into a booth at the Whistler Brewpub for the first St. Bernard’s Beatitudes Beer & Bible Study (alliteration always makes things more fun!)

Though the music was a little loud, and there wasn’t much room on the table with glasses and food, I absolutely loved it. It felt right. The Bible really was meant to be read together, in community. It is in the context of fellowship and discussion when this book (more of a library of letters, poetry and stories) that we call ‘sacred’ really comes alive. 

Part of what we were looking at on Wednesday evening were the two different versions of the Beatitudes in the Bible, the one in Matthew (5:1-12) and the one in Luke (6:20-26). Go have a read if you’d like!

The two versions of the Beatitudes are one of the many examples of the multivocality of the Bible – meaning that it contains diverse and different voices. And sometimes in the Bible, different authors take the same story and tell it a little bit differently. Sometimes it is a lot differently. Sometimes different biblical writers come to completely opposite conclusions on the same issue (maybe a little more than ‘sometimes’). It can be very confusing, especially if we expect everything in the Bible to agree with everything else all the time. 

We do a disservice to our ancestors in the faith if we think they didn’t realize that everything didn’t always line up perfectly. They did. In the case of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), there was even a move by some in the early church to harmonize them. To have only one. 

Thankfully they didn’t. I think this multivocality teaches us an important lesson about the life of faith: it is difficult to be a follower of Jesus all alone. We need each other’s diverse voices. We need each other’s different and differing perspectives. We need each varied voice in the Bible, each of our varied voices, to be spiritually healthy, to have the best chance of encountering the living God – who is in essence diversity and community – in the writings of these ones who have come before us. 

So, if you feel inspired, start reading. Go for it! But if you are able, find a friend (or friends) to read with. Together, ask your questions. Share what you like or don’t like. Be open. Be curious. See how these words may comfort, challenge, and help us understand ourselves and God a little bit better, even today. 

Thanks be to God!



PS. If you would like a Bible Study at St. John’s, or support in getting started by yourself, let me know!