SUGGESTIONS FOR STUDY CIRCLE DISCUSSIONS
1. The book is obviously written for private reading, and these suggestions are added, at the author’s request, for those who would like to study the book in groups. Circles on it, however, will not be very profitable unless members of them are also carefully reading the Gospels and come to the circles with copies of the New Testament. Some acquaintance with the main outlines of New Testament criticism will be a help. Readers who want to know how the New Testament was written are referred to Principal Selbie: “The Nature and Message of the Bible” (S.C.M., IS. 6d.), especially ch. iv. and v.
2. The questions suggested for discussion are only a selection of the many important questions which the book raises. Circles should not feel bound to follow them, or to try to cover them all at one meeting. There are many subsidiary questions, which some circles might pursue With profit.
3. The circle should try as far as possible to get away from the text of the book to the text of the Bible; to study and verify the author’s method of exposition. The Leader should give much thought to this.
4. A Bible with the marginal references of the R.V. should be used—also a note-book. The author’s clear preference for the A.V. may be remarked (cf. p. 224).
5. While the method of the book is historical, its object is practical. The circles should have the same objective. Experience comes before theology. Theology is worthless which cannot be verified in experience. “He that doeth His will, shall know of the doctrine.”
6. One chapter a week will be as much as a circle can profitably manage. .
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION IN CIRCLES
I. Does the writer overdo the importance of history? Would not “spiritual religion” suffice without a “historical basis,” as some Indians and others suggest?
2. What would our evidence be for” spiritual religion” if we had not the record of actual history to check fancy and support the ventures of faith?
3. Does the writer underestimate the actual impress made on his age by Jesus? Was he not probably more widely known?
4. How can ordinary people” make sure of the experience behind the thought of Jesus?” Does this belittle him?
5. What becomes of ordinary simple people untrained in historical research, who are not experts and merely want help in living and dying? Could not the whole presentation of Christ be much simpler? Where does “revelation to babes” come in?
1. Look up and verify at the circle meeting the references to the Gospels in the chapter and see if they bear the interpretations put upon them.