More Than Study
We in the Churches of Christ are a church tradition that believes in the Bible. We’re not the only ones who do, but we do. We love the Bible. We are Bible people. We’re the people who demand “book, chapter, and verse” for everything. One of our rallying cries has always been, “Back to the Bible!”
I really love this about the Churches of Christ. Our love of scripture has deeply shaped who I am.
Practically speaking, our dedication to scripture means we spend a lot of time studying the Bible. In our better moments, we spend a lot of time talking about hermeneutics, cultural context, and the tense and mood of that Greek word. Again, this is good.
But, we can be a little cerebral. This is the downside of it all. Sometimes we get so deep into studying the Bible, we forget studying the Bible is not an end in itself. God did not say, “The greatest command is, ‘Thou shalt study the Bible.’” So, sometimes, when we’re being inductive, contextual, and exegetical we forget that God actually wants us to live out what we’ve been studying.
At some point we have to stop talking about the text and start talking about how to live based on the text.
To be clear, we need to continue asking, what does this text mean? It would do me good to sometimes remember knowing Bible facts for the sake of know Bible facts is not the goal, but those facts still play a part in the overall process of formation.
To continue in that process, we need to move beyond asking, what does this text mean? and start asking, what am I going to do with it? We need to ask this about the particular text we’re looking at, but also about the Bible as a whole. We need to address the trees and the forest.
What I mean is, we need to continue doing exegesis, but we also need to do better at things like theology and ethics.