May 092014
 

Discussion-GroupIn 1999, not a single biblioblog existed. Even Paleojudaica and NT Blog, two of the first, were yet to emerge. A lot of discussion still happened on Usenet, an ancient internet protocol that most reasonable people have abandoned. Yahoo! would soon acquire a popular service for managing e-mail lists, with lists such as Crosstalk being hot stuff at the time. Web-based forums were also gaining ground at this time.

By 2004, the Bible blogs had started gaining serious steam. These steadily peeled off the most active participants from the mailing lists as they established their own blogs and worked on building them up. Companies such as WordPress and Blogger facilitated this revolution. The bandwidth on e-mail lists was still brisk, but it was soon to be on the decline. Facebook was born.

In 2014, nearly all of the e-mail lists have died off or slowed to a crawl. The “Web 2.0” revolution is now the old guard, and people are most comfortable with using the web protocol for everything. Yahoo! Groups has gone the way of Pluto: still there but not what it used to be. If Facebook is now the size of Jupiter, the blogosphere is Saturn with its rings, and Reddit is the red planet Mars. Several large web forums exist, but the Bible is only a sideshow for the big ones. A plucky little operation called the Biblical Criticism & History Forum has split off one of them, hoping to survive on its own.

Here are the top 50 discussion groups where you can talk about the Bible online…

Facebook Groups

This is the largest category today. I’ve arranged them by number of members.

New Testament Scholarship Worldwide 5301
Society of Biblical Literature 4055
New Testament Textual Criticism 2857
Theology on the Web 2680
Jewish History, Genealogy and Archaeology 2566
Biblical Archaeology 2397
Jewish Studies on Facebook 1988
ALMMG – Ancient Levant and Mediterranean multidisciplinary Gathering 1538
The Bible Geek Listeners 950
Hebrew Codicology and Paleography 735
Society for New Testament Study 615
European Association of Biblical Studies 598
Canadian Society for Coptic Studies Société Canadienne pour Études Copte 574
The British New Testament Society 569
Enoch Seminar: Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins 469
Queer Biblical Studies and Theologies 438
CHAOS – Skandinavisk tidsskrift for religionshistoriske studier 383
SBL Student Members 366
IOQS – International Organization for Qumran Studies 366
Greek Isaiah in a Year 239
Corpus Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti (CHNT) 217
4Gospels.com- The Less Sensational Site 215
Nag Hammadi Seminar 203
SECSOR 197
Scriptural Reception History 189
Feminist Theology 98

 

Yahoo! Groups

These survivors have true grit. They’re still active after all these years.

Jesus Mysteries 2532
Biblical Studies 1046
Ancient Bible History 740
Textual Criticism of the Bible 590
Xtalk: Historical Jesus & Christian Origins 534
Synoptic-L 244
The Gospel of Thomas Discussion Group 220

 

Subreddits

They’re actually worth a look. There might be interesting things here that Feedly or the Old Reader missed.

reddit Academic Biblical 3194
reddit Biblical Archaeology 631
reddit Bible 296

 

Sections of Bigger Web Forums

Because talking about the Bible all day long is not for the faint of heart.

Catholic Answers Forum > Apologetics 455443
Christian Forums > History 351763
CARM Discussion Forums > Bible Questions and Discussion 97378
Ummah.com > Comparative Religion 83852
Religious Forums > Biblical Debates 53203
Shia Chat > Philosophy, Atheism/Theism & Other Interfaith Dialogue 44746
Theology Online > Religion 15966
Debating Christianity & Religion > Christianity and Apologetics 10111
OrthodoxChristianity.net > Free-For-All 8555
Rational Skepticism > Christianity 6287
Talk Rational > Theology, Hagiography and Creeds 2809

 

Stand-Alone Forums

It’s tough for a forum to go Sola Scriptura, but these proud few show that it is possible.

B-Greek: The Biblical Greek Forum 1422
Theology Web 669
Biblical Criticism & History Forum 248

 

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

Comments

comments

  7 Responses to “Top 50 Discussion Groups for the Bible”

  1. I am part of a large one on Facebook that is not mentioned (5400+)

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/CFDD1/

    Just thought it should be added to the list!!

  2. Please include the NT Textual Criticism group on Facebook. (Not the same as the New Testament Textual Criticism group there.) Come pillage the files!

  3. Impressive work Peter and a nice summary of recent trends (15 years!). Thanks. I began writing online in 1996 but the software was not there to support conversation. Today there is a chasm for me between Google+ and Facebook. I do not like what G+ did to comments or Picasa integration – but it is their software and I don’t pay for it. I see that your blog integrates FB and local comments – where is all this going!

  4. Peter, is there any discussion groups concerning biblical
    errancy such as Farrell Till’s old errancy discussion list?
    Thanks,
    Kenneth Hawthorne

  5. Greetings my fellow Christian brothers and sisters,

    I love to speak the truth and I have very serious questions that I think many believers would like to know the answer to. Can you tell me please why does God’s word promise so much and yet fulfils so very little to nothing in the lives of many devout Christians, in terms of, for example: long life, health, peace, joy and happiness, etc? Instead, I’ve seen many atheists who live very healthy, prosperous and happy lives and they obviously don’t believe in keeping God’s commandments. Doesn’t the Bible lose credibility in this way? Isn’t this part of the reason why many people don’t take God, His commandments or the Bible seriously?

    In other words, why do not all devout Christians live long lives and have optimum health as countless scriptures promise, such as: Psalms 84; 90, 91; 103; Pr 10:27, etc.

    Here is an example: Psalm 91: Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

    The promise of blessings, including: protection, happiness, healing, long-life and prosperity is not just in the Old Testament (Ex 20:12; Dt 5:16; Ps 34:12-16), but reaffirmed in the New Testament (Eph 6:2-3; 1 Pe 3:9-10).

    My mother and I both repented, lived holy lives, with clean hands and pure hearts. God was first love and first priority. We prayed for at least 3 hours each and every day, and studied the Bible for at least 1 hour every day. Prayer was the very first thing in the morning. Our faith was very strong. We strove to obey God’s commandments, including keeping the Sabbath day holy. We attended Sabbath services. We served God. Preached the true gospel. We both practiced abstinence, self-sacrifice and self-discipline, so we didn’t spend money on holidays, restaurants or other pleasures. We donated money to charities and helped homeless people. We were never ever involved in occultism. My mother was totally faithful to my father in marriage, although he was very abusive towards her. Although, she forgave him many times, the abuse didn’t stop. On the contrary, the more she forgave, the worse the abuse became. It reached a point where she had no choice but to divorce him. From then on, my mother never remarried. She lived the life of a widow for twenty years. We lived a very modest and quiet life. We practiced celibacy and sexual abstinence. Our lives resembled those of nuns. My mother was very protective of me and she taught me to pray since I was two years of age. While parents usually read fairy tale stories to their children, I slept with the Bible under my pillow, which I took with me to the private school that my mother enrolled me in, and I learned about God. We put so much faith and trust in God and I feel like He has really let us down.

    The verses in Psalm 103:1-5 state: “Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”

    My mother suffered from colorectal cancer which spread to her liver and kidneys, heart failure, pulmonary edema and anaemia, including numerous other medical issues. I was completely shocked, devastated and heartbroken when my mother passed away at an early age, and I read her long medical report, which went on and on. She was in terrible pain and had near fatal falls on a few occasions. Despite praying to God continuously, from early morning until late at night, with fasting and begging for my mother to be healed, my prayers returned unanswered. The more I prayed and fasted, the worse her health became. It deteriorated so much that she was bed-ridden for one year and couldn’t see the light of day. None of these illnesses run on my mother’s side of the family. We both took care of our health by drinking fruit and vegetable juices, exercising and more importantly, absolutely NO smoking, drugs or alcohol. While other people were celebrating Mother’s Day with gifts like cakes, chocolates and flowers, as well as dining with their mothers at restaurants or taking them on luxury cruises, my mother was in the morgue awaiting cremation.

    God’s people are plagued by an entire series of extremely serious illnesses—including a number of leading people directly involved in the work. During the 1980’s there was a huge number of ministers wives that were stricken. It has always been a fact that wives of so many ministers and church leaders have been stricken by cancer.

    In 2016, Cornerstone Contact Centre pastor Don Cameron died at the age of 45 years, after a battle with cancer.

    Jeffery Largent, pastor of Culver flock passed away in 2016, at the age of 59 years, after his second battle with cancer.

    Church of the Highlands Greystone Campus Pastor Keith Lindsey passed away in 2016 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

    Kara Tippetts, wife of PCA church pastor Jason Tippetts of Westside Church, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a devout Christian mother of four, who had stage-four breast cancer and passed away at the age of 38, in 2015, after a long battle.

    In 2014, Steve Hill, the evangelist of the Brownsville Revival, passed away at his Alabama home Sunday after fighting a long battle with cancer. He was 60 years old.

    LaKisha died in 2014, at the age of 40 after an 18-month battle with breast cancer. She was the wife of Pastor Breonus Mitchell of Greater Grace Temple Community Church.

    A Wesleyan pastor, Daniel “Danny” Eiler, age 30, passed away in 2014, after battling leukemia. He served as senior pastor of The Springs Community Church in Ringgold, Georgia.

    David Landrith, senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, died at age 51. Landrith was diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer known as colorectal melanoma in 2013.

    In 2009, founder and pastor of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Billy Joe Daugherty’s battle with cancer took a turn for the worse as he fought an infection at Houston’s M.D. Anderson Hospital. He passed away at the age of 57 years.

    The list goes on and on …

    My mother’s faith was very strong right to the very end when she passed away, and I wish to point out the fact that I even called for the elders of the church to anoint my mother with olive oil, as the following scripture states in: James 5:14-15 – Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

    The scripture obviously wasn’t fulfilled in my mother’s life who was a faithful Christian, and the lives of many other faithful Christians.

    As stated previously, God’s promises are not just found in the Old Testament, but reaffirmed in the New Testament, as we read in James 5:14-15 as well as many other scriptural references that I’ve already quoted previously.

    At the beginning of the chapter in 1 Cor 12, we read that Paul is addressing brothers and sisters. “Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed.”
    Verse 7-10 mentions: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”

    One of the important ministries of the Holy Spirit to believers today, is His bestowal of spiritual gifts on Christians at the time of their conversion.

    Ephesians 2:10 mentions: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The only way we can do good works is if our bodies are not incapacitated or debilitated by pain, sickness or disease.

    If gifts of healing and miracles are operating in the lives of Christians in these churches, then there would be NO sicknesses, suicides, and crimes such as murder happening there.

    Suicide is happening at an alarming rate in the Churches of God with so many pastors committing suicide.

    Living Church of God – Joplin, Missouri pastor Karl Beyersdorfer killed himself on 5/27/2016.

    Others who committed suicide in the Worldwide Church of God are mentioned in the below article: http://hwarmstrong.com/suicide-statistics.htm

    The following verses refer to believers in Christ Jesus:
    Mark 16:17-18 – And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

    The following link displays an article on miracle workers who couldn’t heal themselves:
    http://www.bible.ca/tongues-miracles-fake-pentecostal.htm

    The list goes on and on.

    The verse in Exodus 20:12 states: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. It is reaffirmed in the New Testament in:
    Ephesians 6:2-3 -“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”

    During my lifetime, I’ve seen mothers who honoured their parents and yet lived short lives, like my mother who honored both her parents and grandparents. On the other hand, mothers who dishonoured their parents and yet lived to ripe old ages of over 80 years of age. There are even criminals, such as serial killers, rapists and paedophiles who live long lives on the earth. While at the same time, a shocking number of innocent people are sentenced to death. One of the ways in which we honor our parents is by having a clean criminal record.

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “tells you that a surprising number of innocent people are sentenced to death,” Samuel R. Gross, the lead author, said in an interview with Newsweek. “It tells you that a lot of them haven’t been exonerated. Some of them no doubt have been executed.” The headline on newsweek.com is “One in 25 sentenced to death in the U.S. is innocent, study claims.”

    Do all these convicted criminals deserve to live and my mother who was a godly, holy, righteous mother deserve to die, along with all these other devout Christians?

    Charles Manson, the convicted American serial killer is still alive today at the age of 82 years. Charles Albright, known as the eyeball killer, is 83 years. The nurse Jane Toppan, a serial killer, lived to be 81 years of age. Edward Theodore Gein was an American murderer and body snatcher. He died at the age of 78 years. Ian Brady, the child killer is 78 years. Robert Hansen, the serial killer died at the age of 75 years. Dennis Rader is 71 years of age. Phillip Jablonski, another serial killer is 70 years of age, and the list goes on and on. Incarcerated criminals enjoy the fresh air and sunshine with fitness and recreational activities, including sports, gym, pool tables and so forth. These prisons are more like holiday resorts.

    Charles Manson, the ringleader of the killer cult still remains unrepentant even at the ripe old age of 82 years, just like many other criminals. I’m puzzled as to why God allowed all these criminals to live long lives. Was He waiting for them to turn to Him and repent? But God has foreknowledge. We find instead, that they committed more and more crimes, while growing old without any sign of remorse?

    Psalm 91:16 states: “With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” This verse is supposed to be referring to devout believers. Instead, we see that the criminals are the ones who are living long lives. Why would God want to satisfy scum of the earth with long lives?

    If God made us for a reason and that is to begin a relationship with, serve and obey Him, then why doesn’t He grant long lives to those devout Christians who do good deeds. It is God who decides when we are born and how long we live according to:

    Psalm 139:16: “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

    God is the one who planned the days of our lives in advance, choosing the exact time of our birth and death. This goes for criminals too, as well as many famous atheists who have lived to ripe old ages including: Diana Athill (99), Katharine Hepburn (96), Baba Amte (94), Uri Avnery (93), Julius Axelrod (92), Marlene Dietrich (91), Kai Nielsen (90), Henry Burstow (90), Jorge Amado (89), Eric Ambler (89), Tom Lehrer (88), James Randi (88), Paul Kurtz (87), Edward O. Wilson (87), Larry Adler (87), Mary Adams (86), Jemima Blackburn (86), Michael Martin (84), Philip Roth (83), Steven Weinberg (83), Victor Stenger (81), Robert Altman (81), Woody Allen (81), and many others.

    The verse in Isaiah 30:18 states that the Lord is a God of justice. “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Where is the justice? I’m absolutely appalled and disgusted by the injustice not only in the Christian community, but in the world today. I believe these injustices promote and encourage evil all the more.

    Many devout believers have been martyred who were very faithful to God, like Stephen and all of the twelve apostles who died as martyrs during the first century, with the exception of John, the writer of the Gospel with his name and the Book of Revelation who died a natural death, at 94 years of age, close to the year 100 A.D.

    A report issued by a Christian organization fighting religious persecution states that a Christian is killed for his or her faith every five minutes across the world. It has escalated dramatically over the centuries, with more Christian martyrs in the 20th and 21st centuries than in the preceding 19 centuries — going back to Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry. The situation is only getting worse.

    Over 75% of Christians persecuted in North Korea who are subjected to torture, imprisonment and all sorts of punishment do not survive to tell their stories.

    Currently, more than 200 million Christians around the world are threatened because of their faith. Is God pleased with martyrdom? Does it give Him satisfaction to see many Christians martyred for their faith. Does God consider it a sacrifice that brings glory and honour to Him, thereby pleasing and acceptable?

    Thank you.

    God bless you,
    Rachel Henderson

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