How do we manage the vast amount of data of the bible? What principle can we follow that will give us a sense of order and purpose in our lives as we try to understand and live out the truths of the ancient Judeo/Christian scriptures?
What follows is way to see a logic and a pattern that can make sense of bible in terms of how it informs our lives and guides our daily practice of spirituality.
We begin with some assumptions:
Assumption One: The primary mission of God’s servants is to lead His people into and along the Way of the Lord.
- The first thing to notice in this passage is that God does not appoint leaders to be served by but to serve His people.
- God’s leaders serve his people by fulfilling a very specific function; they equip God’s people for service and build up the Body of Christ until we all become just like Jesus. [Becoming like Jesus is the only way into the experience of the true life that God created people to live.]
- Since Jesus is himself the Way, and his life was the perfect example of how one walks the Way of the Lord, for a believer to become like Jesus means that the Way of the Lord becomes their way as well!
Throughout the bible we can see God’s leaders working diligently toward this goal. There are characteristic issues that can be identified in the biblical records as high priorities in their work.
Assumption Two: There are five core mission priorities for God’s servants as they lead the people along the Way of the Lord and into True Life. These have held true in every generation from those of the Bible times to our present:
- Leaders call people to the highest commitment (their allegiance) to God.
- They release them into their destiny (their purpose) in the Kingdom of God.
- They show them who they are and how they are to function in this life (their roles) as children of God.
- They teach them how to see things accurately (their beliefs).
- They equip them with the skills and resources that they will need to do what needs to be done (their practices) as they walk in the Way of the Lord.
Assumption Three: It is possible to arrange a simplified curriculum around these 5 mission priorities.
It is true that there are many stories, teachings, commandments, etc. recorded in the bible. It is also the case that since then the church has produced an even greater number of sermons, catechisms, seminars, pamphlets and books about these issues.
However, in spite of this huge volume of material, it is possible to see the main elements that make up the Way of the Lord. There is a simple pattern of issues to be addressed and mastered on this journey back to true life in God. This pattern serves as an outline of the major elements of the Way of the Lord.
It can be as simple as 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 — the Five-Fold Path (the Way of the Lord) of Ancient Hebrew Spirituality.
- One Allegiance
- Two Purposes
- Three Roles
- Four Guiding Beliefs
- Five Daily Practices