faculty_blog_header_fall

One of the recurring issues I encounter as one who teaches biblical interpretation is how to explain in simple terms what a “missional” reading of Scripture entails and how to answer a whole host of important questions that relate to a missional interpretation of the Bible: How do you define a missional hermeneutic? How do you read the Bible missionally? What are the biblical foundations for doing so? What are the implications of a missional reading of the Bible in the everyday life of the church? And how is a missional reading of Scripture different from any other reading?

Although seemingly uncomplicated, these are not necessarily easy questions to answer.  This is because the term missional carries various nuances and meanings that different people emphasize in different ways. For some, the term refers to social ministry; for others, it refers to an interest in missions. Due to the different (and competing) emphases as well as the general ambiguity of the term missional in contemporary discussions, you may reasonably ask whether it is possible to accurately describe what a missional reading of Scripture is. Although there are risks involved in defining the term so concretely, I would like to suggest the following definition: 

A missional interpretation of Scripture reads the Bible as a unified narrative that records God’s intention to reconcile the world to himself. This narrative reveals that God accomplishes this intention by commissioning the nation of Israel to reflect God’s image to the world; by sending God the Son to restore Israel and inaugurate God’s universal blessing to the Gentiles; by sending God the Spirit to form the church into a holy people who embody God’s coming kingdom; and by sending the church into the world to proclaim the gospel and engage the culture..   

This definition, though cumbersome, reflects what I believe to be the most basic features of a missional reading of Scripture, which are: 

  1. The Bible as a unified and coherent narrative
  2. God’s universal mission to reconcile the world to himself
  3. Israel as the nation chosen to bless the world by reflecting God’s image
  4. Jesus as the climax of the biblical narrative who restored Israel and inaugurated God’s blessing to the entire world
  5. The church as an incarnation of God’s coming kingdom, its proclamation of the gospel, and its engagement with the culture

 Is this definition perfect? Certainly not, but it’s a start—and hopefully not a bad one.

Derek Cooper is assistant professor of biblical studies and historical theology at Biblical, where he directs the LEAD MDiv program and co-directs the DMin program. His most recent book is entitled Thomas Manton: A Guided Tour of the Life and Thought of a Puritan Pastor: See his faculty page at: http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/derek-cooper

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Blog Mission

The purpose of this blog will be to expand the influence of our faculty, maintain contact with our graduates, and invite other friends to think with us about important biblical and theological ideas.

Biblical's Faculty

Biblical’s Faculty:

We are committed to ongoing engagement with culture and the world for the sake of our witness to the Gospel, and to continual learning from Christians in other cultural settings.

Latest Blog Entries

Written on 19 November 2014 - by Steve Taylor
Written on 17 November 2014 - by Stephen Taylor
Written on 14 November 2014 - by Charles Zimmerman
Written on 07 November 2014 - by Susan Disston and Jennifer Zuck
Written on 03 November 2014 - by Drew Hart
Written on 22 October 2014 - by Dr. Dave Dunbar
Written on 20 October 2014 - by Philip Monroe
Written on 17 October 2014 - by Bryan Maier
Written on 13 October 2014 - by R. Todd Mangum
Written on 10 October 2014 - by R. Todd Mangum

Previous Blog Entries

Follow Biblical

Follow us on the following sites and receive notifications on upcoming events and blog entries:

Follow Biblical on facebookFollow Biblical on Twitterg+_64_black

Contact Admissions

800.235.4021 x146

215.368.5000 x146

215.368.4913 (fax)

 

admissions@biblical.edu

Stay Connected with Biblical

Follow us on the following sites:

Follow Biblical on facebookFollow Biblical on TwitterFollow Biblical on YouTubeg+_64_black
Or simply call us at...
800.235.4021 x146 or 215.368.5000 x146

Support Biblical by Giving

800.235.4021 x162

215.368.5000 x162

215.368.7002 (fax)

 

development@biblical.edu

Home