Meet the writer: Peter Phillips, Guidelines September–December 2020
Peter Phillips is research fellow in digital theology at Durham University and head of digital theology at Premier Media. His research focuses on the impact of digital culture on theology and on contemporary religious practice. During the coronavirus epidemic, Pete’s research has taken on a very practical aspect with lots of exploration of how we do digital church and embrace those unable to engage in physical church through illness, infirmity or disability.
Pete has been researching online faith-related activities and what it means for real life faith engagement online. He still thinks it’s bizarre that real people don’t seem to realise that the people they are speaking to on zoom are real people as well! God is in the digital world and we should embrace that world and see the potential of the new context.
We recently asked Pete a series of questions on his reflections in the current issue of Guidelines, titled 'Reading the Bible well today'.
What do you enjoy and value most about writing for Guidelines?
I love teaching about the Bible and encouraging people to read God’s word. It’s one of the most important parts of our discipleship journey. It helps us to get to know God’s language, God’s story, God’s love for us.
Discipleship is so important. When we are saved we begin a journey getting to know God better. That’s the best bit. The daily walk with Jesus. Understanding his ways and bringing him into everything we do.
What inspired your series on reading the Bible well today?
A couple of years ago, I wrote a book on the Bible as the engine of discipleship. In that book, I looked Psalm 119’s reflection on the Word of God. I was fascinated by the way in which the psalmist makes his bible devotion part of his everyday life. It’s woven into his every action. The Bible feeds everything he does and thinks. That’s the kind of engagement with the Bible I was looking at in the book. Engaging the Word: Biblical literacy and Christian discipleship.
What did you learn from writing it?
First of all, I realised how much I had fallen short of this kind of Bible devotion. I need to get back to focussing on God’s word rather than just studying the word – really allowing God’s word to speak into my life every moment of every day. But also I realised how many resources there are already out there to study the word offline and online. The Bible is a rich resource itself with so many different ways to tell us how wonderful God is and how much he loves us.
What is the key thing you hope your readers might take away from the series?
A passion for the Bible – for reading it, reflecting on it, being creative around it. For focussing on God’s love letters to us and allowing him to speak to us directly through his word.
Pete's reflections, 'Reading the Bible well today', is available in the September–December 2020 issue of Guidelines.