Living from the Scriptures

As we continue to consider “What characterizes our movement?” from The Navigators Vision Statement, we come to another characteristic: “[Workers for the Kingdom] are marked by a deep engagement with and obedience to the Scriptures as the Word of God.”
Recently I heard the expression “crank the blanks” for the first time. This expression has been used in some parts of our work to humorously describe the process of doing a “fill-in-the-blank” Bible study.
Like many believers, I began to deepen my engagement with the Scriptures by using such Bible study materials. I’ve noticed that they always pose at least one application question: a question that helps the new disciple ask, “How can I apply this Scripture to my life?”
I am convinced that life application is foundational for a new believer to grow as a disciple of Jesus. But as important as it is to help people go from the Scriptures to life, we don’t want people to stay there. For people to continue as laborers for the Kingdom, they must eventually learn to go from life to the Scriptures. There is a difference.
In the Scriptures-to-life scenario, I study the Bible and ask God to help me apply it to my life. In the life-to-Scriptures scenario, I experience life and it creates tensions, conflicts, and questions. If I am a worker for the Kingdom, I have learned to take difficult circumstances to God and to His Word so that I might live in the way Jesus desires.
So, what does it look like to be marked by a deep engagement with and obedience to the Scriptures as the Word of God? In his excellent article “How Does the Disciple Live?” professor and author Dallas Willard listed three ways to engage:
1. I must learn to do the things that Jesus explicitly said to do. If Jesus is my Lord, I must learn to know Him and obey Him. This is the first and most important way to engage with the Scriptures.
2. I must learn to live my normal, everyday life in the power of Jesus. The Word of God shows me how to live as He did in my own realm.
3. I must learn to live as a Kingdom citizen and to tap into the power of the Kingdom. I can exercise this power through prayer, which works closely with my engagement with the Word of God.
Knowing and living from the Scriptures is one of the characteristics of a laborer that has been embraced by all parts of The Navigators (see Doug Nuenke’s powerful resource “Five Traits of a Christ-Follower” from NavPress). We believe that knowing and applying the Word of God as truth and sufficiency for all of life is foundational to our Calling.
As workers for the Kingdom live among those who do not yet know Christ and for whom the Bible is considered an unknown and irrelevant artifact, this skill and lifestyle will continue to increase in importance. Let’s be people who are marked by a deep engagement with the Scriptures and who take the time to teach others to do the same.
For Your Consideration:

  • How would you describe “deep engagement with the Scriptures”? What attitudes and practices does it require?
  • What is one question, conflict, or struggle you are currently wrestling with? How have you taken it to God’s Word?  
  • How might you teach another believer to “go from life to the Scriptures”?

Al Engler is the director of Nav Neighbors. To contact him or to learn more about his ministry, click here

Editor's Note: This is one in a series of articles unpacking the Navigator vision. The series begins with Unpacking Our Vision: An Introduction.