Missional Understanding of the Bible: Taking the Text of the Bible Seriously


Rev. Aftab Yunis Hakim

"God has not given us a New Testament in order to locate missionary flash-points, but rather a Spirit-breathed document that continually changes us to read all of life's purposes from a missiological perspective." (Robert Kurka, River of God: An Introduction to World Mission)

The Bible repletes with the themes of Church Mission and human response towards God's calling. However, there are certain people who read the Bible prioritizing their perceptions above the Biblical text. The understanding developed in this sense misunderstands the message of the Bible. Every passage has a message and coherence with the entire story of the Bible. Our divine Missional understanding develops by prioritizing the message of the Bible.

The Bible is replete with examples where the content of any event is clear and sets the stage for contemplation on the events of the Bible's time. Though digging deep to reimagine these stories allows us to rethink from our point of view, however, it is also important to note that the stories or Word of God does not become our own way of dealing with the text. Rather we imagine the stories or precious words in the manner as the Bible instructs us to see.

At what extent historical concerns are important? Let's go in more depth to find what it means overall. And how does the divine missiological understanding change our perceptions of understanding the Bible missionally.

Killing Abel by Michael Tieman is one of the novels that emphasize the historical events from the book of Genesis in the Old Testament. The uniqueness of this creation story is based on reimaging in the historical perspective to fill the gaps of the creation story, Tieman begins this story with the temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden. The author explains how she accepted Lucifer's offer to eat from the forbidden tree in the Garden. Then Tieman brings the entire journey of this event in the sense that both Lucifer and Eve have a common mission to seduce Adam. As a result, Eve and Lucifer accomplished their mission by offering Adam the forbidden fruit. Every case contains references to the Bible, which are the distinguishing features of every interpretation. The storyteller continues to tell the plot of the snake, which limits God's mission in the family of Adam. And in this case, Tieman appears to be very careful not to miss any words in this aspect, as for him every word is crucial in this case.

The story of God the Father is at the heart of this novel. And the book's author is keen to remind readers that the mission of a loving Father for his children is the best. Tieman has used Occam's Razor's approach to fill in the gaps in the creation story. He is very concerned with filling in the gaps in the story. This novel is based on historical events in order to reimagine Adam's family's story. The entire piece is a remarkable effort to present it from a historical standpoint. The only flaw is that we cannot approach the events depicted in the book of Genesis in the way we want to. Even though the author has gone into great detail about each event, every single word in the Bible has its own significance. It provides a profound sense of synchronicity in order to fully grasp the understanding of the entire text. So, rather than reimagining the stories, parables, and prose in our own way, the novelty of the Bible is based on how the Bible tells us so.

There are numerous instances in the Bible where readers are asked to ask the appropriate question for missional understanding. The Bible forms our minds to perceive the right question out of the Biblical text. In this way, the missional mind understands the depth of any text and formulates our understanding accordingly. For example, many Bible readers want to know what Jesus was writing with his finger. While the real question should be, why was Jesus writing? (John 8:1-11). In this case, 'why' is the only question to ask than 'what'. As the preciousness of every event could be found by immersing in the truths of the Bible rather than relying on the historical concerns of this story, the Word of God is a reference book to explore historical concerns as well as theology. So, why Jesus was writing is an important concern rather than what. The answer lies in the wholistic approach of the Bible since the early church Fathers took the Bible as a reference text to understand the various events of the Bible.

Thus, in this case, the same rule applies to this event. Jesus was writing to let the people know that He is a perfect judge as God gave commandments to Moses writing with His own hand to demonstrate that He will judge the nation if she disobeyed. In a similar way, the hands of God appeared in the book of Daniel to show God is the perfect judge. It is lamentable that people spend a lot of time discovering the meaning of the text using the text in the original language which unable the reader to know the wholistic approach of the Bible.

The Bible is not a source of information as some people make it that way rather it is a source of insights. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the intention is not to deny the urgency of asking the question. The questions are of utmost importance to know the truth. However, the importance lies in the wholistic understanding of the Bible. Take the Bible as a reference book, ensuring that all the understanding lies in a single book. The Bible has approaches that need to be understood in light of the passage.

Unfortunately, people like Tieman have spent far too much time pondering historical issues rather than immersing themselves in the treasure of the Bible to develop missional understanding. The need is to look at our present context in light of the Bible's context seriously to meditate on it. Like, Tieman, there are millions of researchers who do not want to draw insights from the message of the Bible. This leads them to idealize something, while they base it on biblical content.

Related Stories