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No Old Tome!


Sheila Klassen-Wiebe received a B.Th. from Canadian Mennonite Bible College (now CMU), a B.A. (History) from the University of Manitoba, an M.Div. from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary. She and her husband Vern have three daughters and are active members of Charleswood Mennonite Church in Winnipeg.

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July 13, 2012
-Deborah Froese

Winnipeg, MAN. — Sheila Klassen-Wiebe has a vivid childhood recollection of the Bible. “I remember my parents reading me Bible stories. I can still picture the book; tan in colour, with green and blue trim.”

Klassen-Wiebe is the Associate Professor of New Testament at Canadian Mennonite University and served as the Bible study leader for Mennonite Church Canada Assembly 2012, Dusting off the Bible for the 21st Century. She says she grew up in a Mennonite, church-going home where her parents read the Bible and held devotions daily. “When you grow up steeped in scripture it becomes part of the rhythm of life. It became part of me.”

Although she had a deep interest in history, her convictions led to graduate studies in the New Testament. “Whenever significant questions come up, people ask, ‘what does the Bible say about that?’ Although it is important to know our history, the Bible is bedrock; it’s our memory book, our guide for faith and practice...”

At Assembly 2012, Klassen-Wiebe explored two Bible passages. The first is from 2 Kings 22 and 23. “It’s a story about the book of law, and King Josiah’s response. As temple repairs are going on, the [long lost] book of law is found and read to King Josiah…he’s convicted by what he reads.” Josiah is horrified to realize that his people have not been following God.

“One of the interesting things about this text is that Josiah carries out a reform despite being told that disaster is unavoidable. He is faithful without guarantee of reward.” 

The Assembly focus on studying scripture was an important one, Klassen-Wiebe notes. She says that some of her students are not as scripturally literate as previous generations. She points to information overload and hectic schedules as a few possible factors. In addition, the Bible may be viewed by some as a book of old and out-of-date stories. “Sometimes people think the Bible is only an ancient book….but the Bible is not an old tome that should sit on the shelf gathering dust. It does speak to us in the 21st century.”

See more about Assembly 2012