One of the core values of our Anabaptist Roots is to be Centred on the Word. Paul Kiss continues our Roots series by giving us a
history of reading the Bible and unravels how this ancient book can still be relevant and influential today. We learn this week
from Luke 24:27, that the written word is always meant to lead us to the Living Word. Jesus is our final authority for living.
Anabaptist Roots: Centred on the Word
Speaker: Paul Kiss
Date: August 19, 2018
1. The Most Influential Book in History
Text: 2 Timothy 3:16
● How is it possible that a book with a history of 3000 years can still influence people today?
2. A History of reading the Bible
● The Reformation – “Sola Scriptura”
● By the 1500’s, Martin Luther and other “reformers” insisted that Christians could read Scripture Alone as the means for salvation and guidance.
● Anabaptists were radical reformers, going further than Luther and the like. Menno Simons was one of these radical reformers.
“We begin with Menno Simons because he had the greatest influence on subsequent generations, often being the only Anabaptist whose writings were read. He is the paradigmatic anabaptist.” – Ben C. Ollenburger, The Hermeneutics of Obedience
3. Flat or Weighted reading of Scripture?
Text: Luke 24:27; John 1:1-18; John 5:37-40
● A flat reading of the Bible – all Scripture has equal weight.
● A Jesus-centred reading of the Bible – all Scripture is interpreted through the life and teachings of Jesus.
“We seek nothing else upon earth but that we may in our weakness, willingly walk in the footsteps of Christ, in obedience to his word.” – Menno Simons, A Reply to a Publication Gellius Faber
4. People of the Book or People of the Person?
● Jeremiah 31:31ff; Hebrews 1:1-3; John 14-16; 1John 2:27
● A Jesus-centred approach to reading Scripture.
“It is the Jesus of the Gospels… rather than the Jesus of the creeds, who inspires and challenges many Christians today.” – John Drane, After McDonaldization
“No one can truly know Christ unless they follow after him in daily life, and no one can follow Christ in daily life unless they truly know him.” – Hans Denck, Early Anabaptist
“No Christian tradition has a monopoly on this. Jesus-centered discipleship keeps being rediscovered. But, with all its weaknesses, Anabaptism seems to have an unusual capacity to provoke Christians from many traditions (and some who are not yet Christians) to encounter Jesus afresh.” – Stuart Murray, The Naked Anabaptist
1. What examples can you give of Jesus being “the central reference point” for your life or our church? What examples can you give of him not being this? (Stuart Murray)
2. Do you agree that in many places Jesus is worshipped but not followed? What are the implications of this? (Stuart Murray)
3. Jesus declared that all the Scriptures pointed to him, Luke 24:27. How then, do we read our Bibles through the lens of Jesus, (his teaching, his life, his death and resurrection)? What would that look like?
4. Read Jeremiah 31:31-34 – How does this add to our understanding of reading the Scripture in a Jesus-centred way? Also read, Hebrews 1:1-3 again and John 5:37-40.
5. How can reading the Bible in the context of community (instead of alone) prevent us from misunderstanding the meaning of a text? How does this approach to reading prevent us from looking only to professionals (ie – preachers), for how to understand and apply it?
6. How can you, as a Home Church, practice this idea of the “community hermeneutic,” of trying to understand and apply the Bible together, through the lens of Jesus? What might that look like?
1. Read Stuart Murray’s book, The Naked Anabaptist.
2. Download and read the online article – “What is an Anabaptist Christian,” by Palmer Becker. [download here]