The image we have of studying the bible may be of a great stack of books close by. Frequently books are consulted, frequently notes are taken on a pad of paper or written in the margins of the bible. This is an in-depth process leading to the acquisition of much knowledge.
This was my model for understanding scriptural study until recently when I picked up a copy of Todd Hunter’s Giving Church Another Chance and began reading. Throughout his book, time and again, Todd returns to the idea of practical obedience to Jesus as a pattern for life. For Todd, if knowing the teachings of Jesus is important, then living them out is even more so. At one point he challenges the reader to consider spending as much time planning how to live out a scriptural passage after reading it as consulting resources to understand it.
I like Todd’s challenge because I see the truth in it. As the common saying goes: “the Christian life is not just about information, but also transformation.” Belief and action are required for a holistic practice of the faith. How can this insight renew out personal bible study? Can a hermeneutic of practical obedience (i.e., reading the bible with attention to acting on its truths in daily life), lead to greater discovery of the abundant life that God has for us? I think that it can. Perhaps this is a new way to invite God into our lives and to offer up our time and energy as worship to Him.
Posted by Jacob, who regularly blogs at Inter Christianos.