Scriptural Reasoning

Scriptural Reasoning is a method of interfaith dialogue that aims to facilitate a deeper understanding of others and their traditions through a focus on their scriptures.  Participants explore short sections of scripture selected on a common theme, giving equal time to each.

First, they listen to a speaker who will explain the context of the text, and how it has been understood within their tradition. Then, in small groups, participants share with one another how they ‘reason’ with the text, applying it to modern life. They each have the text in front of them, and often explore the particular words and phrasing in detail, asking questions and sharing their thoughts. You don’t need to be a scholar to be involved and these meetings are usually very mixed, with people from all walks of life taking part. There’s a wonderful atmosphere of openness and friendship, and frequent laughter. There is no drive towards consensus or agreement about what the texts say, instead, the aim is to build understanding. Participants may well find common ground, but they are also able to share honestly about differences – both between and within traditions. People often comment on how much they have learned about their own tradition as well as those of others through this process, as the questions raised during the discussions surprise them and ignite their curiosity.

It was a delight to meet so many people at a deep level [and] to share things that matter to us

We hold two kinds of meetings using this method:  meetings limited to Christians, Muslims, and Jews, who share a common heritage and are able to explore themes and figures from these Abrahamic faiths together in some depth; and others that are open to everyone and include texts and speakers from diverse traditions. Amongst Jews, Muslims and Christians, we’ve explored themes like “Abraham’s Sacrifice”, “Charity” and  “Joseph/Yusuf: From Slave to Ancestor of Three Religions”, often using the text packs provided at One participant commented “I knew Joseph as a “Jewish” story. Now I know how much more widely the story spreads.”

Open Scriptural Reasoning

Our open Scriptural Reasoning events welcome people from any faith or belief background and they can include texts from any tradition or non-religious texts on a particular theme. We’ve explored, for example, “Creation” in Hindu and Sikh scriptures, “Welcoming Refugees” through Baha’i, Sikh and non-religious texts and “Hospitality” through Sikh, Christian and Muslim texts. Although “hospitality” is a term we often use in interfaith contexts, one participant commented that they felt this format “gave a deeper understanding of the views of other religions on the concept of hospitality.”

If you are interested in coming along to a Scriptural Reasoning event make sure you’re on our mailing list.

It was a great, safe and friendly space to be able to ask questions and share.