EDITORIAL: Go and make … what?

“Go and make disciples ….” (Mat. 28) – a verse that challenged and changed me, my ministry and my view of the Scriptures. I love the Bible. Right from the beginning of my Christian life I was captivated by the Scriptures. Later in my ministry, I sensed that I might have a problem. I realized that I made the Scripture” an end” while they were given to be “a means” to an end. To be completely honest, sometimes I had tendencies to fall into Bibliolatry, worshipping the Bible instead of the Lord Jesus whom the Scriptures speak about. But probably the most dangerous path I walked for several years was my desire to study the Scriptures and make this the goal of my life. Throughout all of my theological education (and I had enough, 11 years in 3 theological schools) Bible study was my main passion. That is great, if you are aware that the Bible is a means to an end. Until one day … when I re-read this passage from Matthew 28 and I realized that God does not want scribes but disciples. And there is a big difference. I found myself to be a perfect scribe, but less of a disciple. I loved being in the Scriptures but less among people; I liked to find answer to the scriptural dilemmas but I did not have time to listen to the problems people faced; I would sweat hours to find the right biblical solution and tell it to others, but seldom would I go and apply it among people. Most of my sermons would stop at the exegetical step, where my audience would know everything there is to know about the text and the world of Jesus, but my applications were short, dry and very general. Until one day, when at one of the first BIG meetings, I was frustrated and confused – why do we (BIG) place so much emphasis on seminars (discussions in small groups) after each teaching session, when we could double our Bible teaching time instead of listening to “stories” ?! Then it dawned on me … I realized that we are not called to make scribes but disciples and the disciples must take the Word of God and apply it. And often times people don’t know how, unless you help them do it. That changed my whole perspective in hermeneutics and homiletics: half of my study time I use to exegete the text now and the other half to exegete the culture – finding, asking, telling people how to apply it; I cut down my sermons in half and make them applicational; I design the questions and the discussions in our church small groups to be practical and to always treat the biblical teaching as a means to an end – that is – how does this passage help me to change. This revolutionized my life, my ministry, my teaching, preaching, my church. It made my Bible alive, because I see it now in the life of people, not just tickling minds but changing lives, giving birth to disciples who not only know but live what they know.

Cristi Barbosu

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