Much of what I heard at MERM affirmed what I already believe. It helped me think more clearly and offered new interesting angles. There was one thing that made me stop and think because it challenged me to change my belief. Dr Martin Atkins mentioned that John Wesley said that the Bible was not self-explanatory (or was it self-revelatory?) and that was why we needed preachers. I've held for a long time that ordinary people are quite able to understand the Bible - with the aid of the Holy Spirit. But I have also wondered then why we have preachers and teachers. I know that I read and understood a lot of the Bible 'by myself'. I am afraid of a sort of elitist thing that says 'I am a trained minister and therefore I can interpret the Bible and not you' which is open to abuse. Also, I think it is terribly unsettling for a congregation to be told too often 'I know this is what you think this Bible passage means, but actually it means that'.
On the other hand, training in understanding the Bible is definitely helpful, as is preaching. So is the Bible self-revelatory or not?
I wonder if the real thing is that the more we know of the Bible the more we can understand it. We talk easily about 'the whole tenor of Scripture' - but how many people genuinely know for themselves what is in the whole of Scripture? Yet academic training in Biblical Studies tends to teach selectively rather than holistically.
It's coming clearer, but I need to think some more!