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Equipping Your Reimagine Journey

#ReimagineSCRIPTURE... Text + Context + Pretext!
Phil Miglioratti
Note:
In order to reimagine disciple-making, evangelism, prayer, justice, Church,
we are driven back to and into Holy Scripture.
In order to reimagine disciple-making, evangelism, prayer, justice, Church,
we must read and respond rightly to the text, the context, and even our pretext.
• • •
If we are going to seriously pursue an obedient response to Romans 12​:2​ to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds,“ then we will have to do this on a corporate, not​ merely personal level.
For too long, disciple-making has focused solely on individuals learning what the Bible teaches; salvation history (older testament chronicles, new testament gospels), declaration prophecy (major and minor prophets), worshipful poetry (Psalms, Song of Songs), practical theology (epistles). Even in an all-the-church gathering, preaching and prayers target individual response to scriptural admonitions. And there is nothing wrong in that. Except what it fails to address.
 
The Church must begin afresh to apply the admonition of Romans 12:2 to the corporate obedience of the gathered community. Leadership must also have a disciple making strategy for the various ministries of the congregation. A reviewing and revising of every ​small group, age-focused activity, missional initiative by the renewing of our minds;  a true reset of how we think about the purpose and plan of every component of church life.

Renewing our minds does not mean reimagining from our own imaginations. It means pursuing a ​​Spirit​-ledScripture​-​fed assessment of every division and department​,​ system and structure of how ​t​h​is expression of the Body of Christ is organized​ and operational​.
  • ​Worship
  • Fellowship
  • Discipleship
  • Leadership
  • Stewardship
  • Citizenship​

In order to see how God might  us to  re-shap e the church, we must  re -e xamine (for many the first time)   how to fellowship with God in praise and prayer, how to grow in discipleship with Christ as we live-out the truths and teachings of scripture together in service, how to grow in leadership and stewardship by serving through our spiritual giifting and calling, 

This  reimagine-Scripture assessment requires three  difficult disciplines.

  1. First, o​u​r foundation ​mu​st always be the​ biblical​ text​.
    • Our mind must be refreshed and renewed by the Holy Spirit's guidance through Holy Scripture
    • ​Read it. Pray it. Discuss to discern it.
    • Repeat. ​
  2. Secondly, our focus must ​discern the​ context​.​
    • ​Interpret the scripture passage (word, phrase, verse, story) with an understanding of the biblical context
      • Translation: what does it say?
    • ​Research both biblical context​ of the text and the sociological context of that time *who, what, where, when, why?)
      • Instruction:  what is the author's original purpose of this content?
      • Application: what was the author's hoped-for outcome, action-step? 
        • Remember and Return?
        •  Repent (change direction: "do not be conformed; be transformed")?
  3. Thirdly, our framework must consider​ how our current perspective acts as a pretext.​.
    • The application/implementation process must be based on the text but is always lived-out in our context.
      • Our current vantage point of both personal needs and societal issues; these trials and troubles invariably influence our thinking (and even our translating).
      • Are we safe and secure or hungry and in danger (personal, neighborhood)? Are we represented in the corridors of power? Are we majority or minority?
    • Become aware of the ideas that have influenced your worldview.
      • Everyone ​has a distinct worldview​ that shapes  how they think, perceive, react to the world and in their surroundings.
      • This impacts our understanding of truth, application of our values, and implementation of our resources and activities.
      • "A worldview is a collection of attitudes, values, stories and expectations about the world around us, which inform our every thought and action​...and is expressed in ethics, religion, philosophy, scientific beliefs and so on (Sire, 2004). A worldview is how a culture works out in individual practice." (Dictionary)
      • ​Assess how your collection of traditions, ​experiences​, preferences, presuppositions,, ​even political leanings​,​ influence (or infect) your​ operating system.​ 
        • Then assess how your worldview informs how you reimagine-Scripture; translating, interpreting, applying.
      • Doctrine is not a worldview but ​biblical ​truths and teachings must inform and influence every component of our personal perspective (ideology-framework, mind-set, value-system, culture-code)​.​
    • Re​cognize​ how your world and your worldview ​are at work ​when you chart the course of your journey of ​reading-researching-studying-​living out the Word of God.​

I have sought your face with all my heart;

    be gracious to me according to your promise.

I have considered my ways

    and have turned my steps to your statutes.

I will hasten and not delay

    to obey your commands   ​   ​   Psalm 119:58-60 

 
Th​e sacred writings​...​are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.​ ​
Everything in the Scriptures is God’s Word. 
All of it is useful for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. 
The Scriptures train God’s servants to do all kinds of good deeds. ​​            ​          2 Timothy 3:15-17 ESV/CEV

ACTION-IDEA

  • ​Read this text. Review additional translations. Write your own paraphrase
  • Romans 12:2:  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.  NIV
  • Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.  CEV​
  • And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. NASB
  • Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.  CSB
  • Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you.  TLB
  • Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.​ ESV​
  • Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity. JBP

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Spirit-led and Scripture fed is a simple commitment.

Butt it is difficult to attain and maintain.

A major motivation in writing this commentary is the need for the Church to make disciples who know how to "read" the Bible.

It has been my observation many who believe it to be the the inspired, inerrant, infallible, Word of God unknowingly assume their reading of Holy Scripture is also inspired, inerrant, infallible.

The point of the article above is to remind us that:

  • The original inspiration of scripture is confined to the original autographs. The text we read to day is VERY close but it is not the original parchment (or tablet!).
    • "God has transmitted his very substance into every Scripture, for it is God-breathed. It will empower you by its instruction and correction, giving you the strength to take the right direction and lead you deeper into the path of godliness."   2 Timothy 3:16
  • We must approach scripture interpretation and personal/corporate application with a humble reliance upon the leading of the Holy Spirit.
    • Our presuppositions-preferences-prejudices combine to give each of us a distinct perception that influences how we interpret and then how we apply what we read.

We can trust the Holy Spirit to give us a trustworthy understanding of Holy Scripture but only as we yield and listen to the Spirit's voice, often through other voices in the Body of Christ.

Read. Humbly.

You may believe the Bible you read is inerrant...


But remember, the person who reads it, and applies it, and teaches it...

Is not inerrant.

Other considerations for proper interpretation.

First consideration: disregard chapter separations.

Paul words "I beseech you therefore brethren" (Romans 12:1) was a plea which flowed naturally in his thoughts as a result of his being overwhelmed about the greatness of the wisdom and power and love a grace of God (Romans 11:33-36). He had just finished unfolding the redemptive strategy of God for Jews and gentiles in the first 11 chapters (to the Jew first (Rom 1:16). Therefore, he continues with an admonition... "I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice" which links directly to his heart for God's people expressed in Romans 9:2-3 "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren." He and Moses had the same heart for God's people (Exodus 32:31-32). 

So really, the words that are traditionally emphasized in Christianity Romans 12:2 "do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" completely bypass Paul's reason for having written them which is found in verse one, and miss the whole point of Paul's teachings. And there is a lot to be said about that. 

So, not only should the chapter divisions be disregarded, but the flow of thoughts in the mind of the writer, and the careful attention to the succession of words (instead of bypassing them) should be given full attention. 

While emphasizing a particular verse can give us a good teaching, the proper observing of the writer's heart and the words he choses to express it will lead us to a deeper calling "the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Cor 2:10). In this case, our obligation "to the Jew first" (Rom 1:16) - even more so for the days to come. A command which Christianity has absolutely not obeyed over the centuries - on the contrary.

So, in this particular example: starting at chapter 12 by paying attention to chapter divisions, jumping to verse 2 and bypassing verse one, and failing to understand Paul's heart, fully violates the observance of "text - context - pretext" to reimagine scripture. 

Second consideration for proper interpretation: 

In the mind of the book of Acts believers, "Scripture" was ONLY what we wrongfully call "the Old Testament." They also had the teachings of Christ who gave them a complete overview of Himself in the best bible study in history: Luke 24:27 "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures [OT] the things concerning Himself." 

Paul, Peter, James etc. certainly never thought their letters would one day be called scripture also. Therefore, their whole theology was based on the Hebrew writings and the words of the Messiah ONLY. The proof of that is Acts 17:11 when the Bereans were checking the Scriptures daily [OT] to see that Paul's teachings were biblical. Paul's understanding of what was Scripture was exactly the same as that of the Bereans when he wrote to Timothy 3:15-17 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures [OT], which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [OT] is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." And there is plenty more.

Third consideration:

Consider the OT and NT only one book. Remove the pages old testament and new testament. First, the word is not testament; it is covenant. Second there are 8 covenants in the scriptures. Third, the new covenant only has to do with the means and efficiency ordained of God for the forgiveness of sins - the blood of animals replaced by the blood of the Messiah. Therefore the new covenant in internal to the revelation. Fourth, the words Old Testament and New Testament psychologically induce the thought of a replacement of the whole book; which is clearly not the case. 

There is much more but I'll stop here.

Conclusion: To have an accurate understanding of the gospels and apostolic writings, it is best to slice off 2000 years of Christian theology which is still very seriously affected by the left overs of replacement theology, and to place ourselves back in the shoes of the believers after the resurrection. They just realized they had crucified their long awaited Messiah and had to know where they missed it. Sure we can have a surface understanding of some of the purposes of God by simply reading the gospels and the letters of the apostles; but if we do not know the Hebrew writings as they did, we will never have the depth of understanding necessary to prepare the way of the second coming of the Lord. Act 3:20 "And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." We are in these days. It is time to repent and return to God and His whole word.

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Thank you for your thoughts reply, friend.

Especially the kind pushback on the context of Romans 12:2...



Jean-Claude Chevalme said:

Other considerations for proper interpretation.

First consideration: disregard chapter separations.

Paul words "I beseech you therefore brethren" (Romans 12:1) was a plea which flowed naturally in his thoughts as a result of his being overwhelmed about the greatness of the wisdom and power and love a grace of God (Romans 11:33-36). He had just finished unfolding the redemptive strategy of God for Jews and gentiles in the first 11 chapters (to the Jew first (Rom 1:16). Therefore, he continues with an admonition... "I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice" which links directly to his heart for God's people expressed in Romans 9:2-3 "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart for I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren." He and Moses had the same heart for God's people (Exodus 32:31-32). 

So really, the words that are traditionally emphasized in Christianity Romans 12:2 "do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" completely bypass Paul's reason for having written them which is found in verse one, and miss the whole point of Paul's teachings. And there is a lot to be said about that. 

So, not only should the chapter divisions be disregarded, but the flow of thoughts in the mind of the writer, and the careful attention to the succession of words (instead of bypassing them) should be given full attention. 

While emphasizing a particular verse can give us a good teaching, the proper observing of the writer's heart and the words he choses to express it will lead us to a deeper calling "the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Cor 2:10). In this case, our obligation "to the Jew first" (Rom 1:16) - even more so for the days to come. A command which Christianity has absolutely not obeyed over the centuries - on the contrary.

So, in this particular example: starting at chapter 12 by paying attention to chapter divisions, jumping to verse 2 and bypassing verse one, and failing to understand Paul's heart, fully violates the observance of "text - context - pretext" to reimagine scripture. 

Second consideration for proper interpretation: 

In the mind of the book of Acts believers, "Scripture" was ONLY what we wrongfully call "the Old Testament." They also had the teachings of Christ who gave them a complete overview of Himself in the best bible study in history: Luke 24:27 "And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures [OT] the things concerning Himself." 

Paul, Peter, James etc. certainly never thought their letters would one day be called scripture also. Therefore, their whole theology was based on the Hebrew writings and the words of the Messiah ONLY. The proof of that is Acts 17:11 when the Bereans were checking the Scriptures daily [OT] to see that Paul's teachings were biblical. Paul's understanding of what was Scripture was exactly the same as that of the Bereans when he wrote to Timothy 3:15-17 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures [OT], which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [OT] is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." And there is plenty more.

Third consideration:

Consider the OT and NT only one book. Remove the pages old testament and new testament. First, the word is not testament; it is covenant. Second there are 8 covenants in the scriptures. Third, the new covenant only has to do with the means and efficiency ordained of God for the forgiveness of sins - the blood of animals replaced by the blood of the Messiah. Therefore the new covenant in internal to the revelation. Fourth, the words Old Testament and New Testament psychologically induce the thought of a replacement of the whole book; which is clearly not the case. 

There is much more but I'll stop here.

Conclusion: To have an accurate understanding of the gospels and apostolic writings, it is best to slice off 2000 years of Christian theology which is still very seriously affected by the left overs of replacement theology, and to place ourselves back in the shoes of the believers after the resurrection. They just realized they had crucified their long awaited Messiah and had to know where they missed it. Sure we can have a surface understanding of some of the purposes of God by simply reading the gospels and the letters of the apostles; but if we do not know the Hebrew writings as they did, we will never have the depth of understanding necessary to prepare the way of the second coming of the Lord. Act 3:20 "And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." We are in these days. It is time to repent and return to God and His whole word.

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.

“Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity.

Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves.”


‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:3‬ ‭TPT‬‬


https://www.bible.com/1849/php.2.3.tpt

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