A Taste of Missional Hermeneutics

The movement of the church in the 21st century will be marked by a hermeneutical adjustment. Rather than seeing itself as an organization founded on propositions that are based in Scripture, the 21st century church will see itself as a continuation of the story of God’s mission in the world, which had its beginning in the Bible. As the shift occurs, the church will more closely model the intention of the Holy Spirit. As Stephen Bevans says, “the way the Spirit calls this church into being is through mission.”

The Scriptures consistently communicate God’s mission. The Bible continues to use specific stories to tell a broader story of God’s mission of reconciling his creation. In other words, the micronarrative continually points toward the metanarrative. The strand begins at creation runs through the life of Jesus and continues today. A missional reading of Scripture places our micronarrative into the metanarrative. As Sandra Richter says, “The Bible is the saga of Yahweh and Adam, the prodigal son and his ever gracious heavenly father; humanity in their rebellion and God in his grace. This narrative begins with Eden and does not conclude until the New Jerusalem is firmly in place. It is all one story. And if you are a believer, it is all your story.”

The quote above is from Dr. Richter’s book The Epic of Eden: A Christian Entry into the Old Testament. It’s a very good, thorough handling of the Old Testament for all Christians. It would make great material for a small group that is really looking to dig deep.

Next, we’ll take a look at the Old Testament, including three micronarratives that point toward the metanarrative.