Saturday, October 01, 2005



What will such Bible-shaped missional communities look like? A beginning description would include:

1. Hearing and reading the Bible will involve not only a search for understanding, but an expectation of obedience and commitment—knowledge and discipleship will be linked together.

2. Hearing, reading, marking, learning, and inwardly digesting Scripture will become an integrated and integral part of the whole life of the entire church: worship, education, administration, service, witness.

3. Attention will be given to the cultivation of the habits, attitudes, and skills for faithful and wise interpretation.

4. Rather than reading the Bible in a general and unfocused manner, communal engagement with the Bible will be intentional, related to missional and discipleship issues. (As a collection of writings, reading the Bible straight through from Genesis to Revelation makes no more sense than reading all the books in a library beginning at the front door. )

5. The otherness and strangeness—"scandal and foolishness"—of the Bible will not be ignored or smoothed over, but will be allowed to confront and transform current presuppositions, understandings, and commitments.

6. The study and interpretation of the Bible will be guided not by questions of private meaning: "What does this text mean to me?", but by: "How is the Bible shaping a new reality among us?" and "What is this text saying to us as the church attempting to be faithful today?"

7. The church will critique and reshape its vision, common life, teaching, organization, and ministry on the basis of its hearing of the Word of God in the power of the Holy Spirit.

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