For additional insight, I would suggest Charles Fager’s A Respondent Spark: The Basics in Bible Study (Kimo Press, 1984), which builds on a Quaker perspective and compares various translations of the Bible:

  • Opening the Bible – how Quakers let the Bible read us, in the Spirit in which it was given. We could turn to key passages in our Quaker understanding as examples of how scriptural insights have shaped and guided our Quaker faith.
  • Called to Service – drawing also on Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region to share experiences from the Friends Disaster Service work, an example of grassroots Quaker witness and work.

 

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When it’s running in good order

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30

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For me, Quaker meeting structures (when they work) come closest to what I see of the New Testament church, as set out by the Apostle Paul. Notably, much of our model was adopted indirectly from the Mennonites, through the English General Baptists.

And then, in the early 20th century, we turned heavily to committees.

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I also love to read that passage of Scripture as “my burden is Light.” As in radiance.

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Elizabeth Bathurst on Hos. vi. 3: Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord, his going forth is prepared as the Morning, and he will come unto us as the Rain, as the latter and former Rain unto the Earth.

 

Direct experience and relationship

No intermediaries. Just listen to Elizabeth Bathurst (1655?-1685):

  • After those Days, saith the Lord, I will put my Laws into their Minds, and write them in their Hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a People: And they shall not teach every Man his Neighbour, and every Man his Brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest.
  • For this was the Promise of the Father, even the new Covenant which he made with the House of Israel.
  • For this Spirit is a Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the Knowledge of Jesus Christ, which openeth and enlightneth the Eye of the Understanding, and giveth to know what is the Hope of the Calling of Christ Jesus, and what is the Riches of the Glory of his Inheritance in the Saints …
  • And hereby know we that we are not in a reprobate State, because we witness the Spirit of Christ dwelling in us. For this Principle of which I write, ’tis the Unction which we have received from the Holy One, whereby we know all Things; that is, this doth instruct us in all Things that are necessary to be known by us.
  • This being the Tenor of the new Covenant, That all the Children of the Lord shall be taught of the Lord, and in Righteousness shall they be established. Which implies, that God will teach them so effectually by his free Spirit, that they shall not stand in need of any other Prophet.
  • So then the Indians and Americans shall not perish for want of the Bible, which we have here in England.
  • And this the Scriptures plentifully declare of, which sometimes they call the Word, the Law, the Grace, the Spirit of God; at other times they call it the Light of Jesus, the New Covenant, a Light to lighten the Gentiles, a Rod, a Staff, a Shepherd’s Crook, the Word nigh in the Heart and in the Mouth, the sure Word of Prophecy, the Manifestation of the Spirit, a Shield, a Buckler, a strong Tower, the Armour of Righteousness: All which are one in Nature, tho’ diversly exprest, according to its distinct Operations in the Soul, as the Creature standeth in Need; sometimes to lighten its Darkness, at other times to lead it in the Way of Holiness; one while it instructs, another while it corrects; sometimes it counsels, other times it consolates; and as its Counsel is heeded, and the Soul guided by it, it preserves and defends in all Exigencies and Straights.
  • Here may be seen the great Condescention and matchless Love of him, who gives unto all Life, and Breath, and Being, in that he hath sent the Holy Ghost down from Heaven, with the Revelation of his Son Jesus Christ, in the Hearts of the Children of Men, that whosoever adhereth to the Spirit of his son within them, may thereby know him not only as a Saviour and Redeemer, but also to be their Saviour and Redeemer, and that not only from the Punishment, but from the Power and Dominion of Sin, by setting of them free from the Bondage of Corruption, and bringing them into the glorious Liberty of his own Children: But as for such who will not believe in this Principle of God, but instead of owning it as his Power unto Salvation, say it is a Satanical Suggestion, and instead of owning it to be of the Divine Nature of God or Christ, they call it the dim Light of created Nature, putting Bitter for Sweet, and Sweet for Bitter, counting Darkness Light, and Light Darkness: Such may continue in their Bondage and Vassalage under the Prince and Power of Darkness, in the Blindness of their Minds, Hardness of their Hearts, and Deadness of their Spirits, notwithstanding Freedom and Liberty, Life and Immortality is brought to Light through the Gospel, which it hath pleased the Father should be preached to every Creature, by his Son, Sion ‘s Deliverer, who is his own Messenger.
  • Therefore as we are not to follow a Multitude to do wickedly; so neither are we to receive an Opinion for Truth, because it is so received by many.