Welcome to the Journey!
When I think of scripture and the Book of Faith initiative I tend to be reminded of the story of the two on the road to Emmaus and Luke 24 verse 32 “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”
For me – that is one of the goals for this initiative – to have our hearts burn with scripture. The bold vision of this initiative is “That the whole church become more fluent in the first language of faith, the language of Scripture, in order that we might live into our calling as a people renewed, enlivened, empowered, and sent by the word.”
It is a bold initiative, and it calls for conversation that is deep and broad, including folks of all ages and across all the many cultures that inform who we are as a people of God. It is designed to initiate a conversation in your setting and to do what we as Lutherans have always claimed we do – read, study, reflect, and meditate upon the Bible together.
The Book of Faith initiative is not, a top-down, curriculum-based approach, a program, a course, a kit, a method or a technique, only for adults, or asking all congregations to adopt a specific Bible study curriculum.
Augsburg Fortress does support and partner on the initiative and as a result we now have the Lutheran Study Bible, a NRSV translation in which our theologians and Pastors have added insight and information to the Books of the Bilble as well as….
Augsburg has created Lenten resources, Advent resources and overall Bible Study guides which support the initiative by focusing on the four Bible Study Methods: Devotional Reading, Lutheran Theological Reading, Historical Reading and Literary Reading.
In addition within these four methods there are five key Lutheran principals that the initiative has focused on – and that Lutherans have often used to understand scripture: 1. Law and Gospel, 2. What Shows Forth Christ, 3. Scripture interprets Scripture, 4. The Plain Meaning of the Text, and 5. Public Interpretation. We use these five principals within the context of one or more of the Bible Study Methods.
The reason I like the verse in Luke is because the burning hearts image to me brings forth thoughts of transformation. That is what Scripture does to us, it transforms us, it affects us, it changes us. But more importantly the Bible reveals Christ to us, It draws us into a living relationship with Jesus Christ, it opens the heart of God to us. It shows us what God has done for us – what God is doing for us – what God always will do for us.
Open Scripture – Enjoy the Journey!
Oregon Synod Book of Faith Advocate
ELCA Book of Faith Resources can be found at www.bookoffaith.org