In "What Exactly IS Discipleship? And How Does it Work?" I presented a graphic: a "hierarchy of spiritual needs" showing the FCF Core Values and how they relate to one another. Biblical and Theological Rootedness forms the foundation for the entire discipleship process. Without a solid foundation rooted in Scripture, a person will not progress from Seeker to Apostle, and therefore, will not reach the full measure of what Jesus has invited and called us to pursue.
Given that Biblical & Theological Rootedness is so vital to climbing the discipleship pyramid, this post offers some questions and bullet points to help you assess where you are in this area, and how you could begin working to solidify this foundation.
Biblical Rootedness is demonstrated through...
Recognition of Scripture's authority over, and submission to it, in all facets of life - private and public
A basic understanding of Biblical teaching on major life issues, ideally being able to point to key passages that support these teachings
A devotional life that includes regular, personal time in the Word
A life that shows evidence of being shaped and formed by Scripture
An ability to point to specific texts and describe how those texts have shaped and formed them, personally
If that's a quick description of what it looks like to be Biblically rooted, then what are some questions you could use to self-assess where you may be when it comes to this Core Value? First Peter 3:!5 says...
...you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.
Peter is talking to people who are facing persecution and suffering as a result of their faith. These are people who are solidly in the martyr camp - men and women filled with such profound hope and peace that even when staring death in the face, they would not let go of that hope. Hope like that comes from somewhere - it comes from being firmly grounded - rooted - in the promises of the gospel as seen in Scripture. One way of doing an initial temperature check is to simply ask yourself this question: If someone were to ask me why worship the God of the Bible and place my hope in him, how would I answer them?
Other questions we can ask ourselves...
What verses or stories in the Bible have had the biggest impact on me, and why? Can I quickly find those verses in the Bible?
Do I regularly and routinely ask myself what wisdom Scripture has for my current questions, problems, or circumstances?
Beyond hope and assurance of my forgiveness and salvation, in what specific and notable ways has my life changed as a result of something I read in the Bible?
If someone asked me what I believe, how would I answer them? What do I believe are the most significant things in the Bible? Can I direct someone to specific places in the Bible where these things are talked about?
Do I have the ability to identify and when someone else is expressing a belief that is not consistent with my own, or Scripture broadly?
How often do I make time for reading the Bible? How much time do I spend reading the Bible? How fruitful is the time I spend reading the Bible?
These questions may feel like a push to adopt an overly academic and intellectual faith. But our theology has a direct effect on how we live. Taking the time and effort to develop a solid Biblical and theological foundation is key to really thriving in our relationship and experience of God and his grace.
And so, what you find yourself unable to answer these questions the way you think you ought to be able to? Or what if you are mostly able to answer these questions, but you're noticing that your a bit rusty in a few areas?
The single most significant activity and habit that you can do to become stronger in the Biblical & Theological Rootedness Core Value is spending regular time in the Bible. This can be done individually or with a group. But just like learning any new skill or talent, the more time you devote to it, the easier it becomes. Here's some tips...
Start small. You don't need to commit to reading through the entire Bible in a year. If it's been a while since you've regularly read the Bible, start with a commitment to read through 1 of the Gospels or the book of Proverbs within a month. Commit to reading 1 psalm a day as a prayer; read the same psalm in the morning, then again at night. Or maybe commit to reading 3 days a week. The point it, intentionally reading something is better than leaving the Bible for Sunday mornings.
Do it Together. Do you ever think about why exercise classes and study groups are so popular and helpful? It's because there's built-in accountability and camaraderie. Ask a friend or fellow church member to join you in working through a reading plan and share your thoughts, impressions, and observations with one another. Make it a family thing and read with your spouse or as part of family devotions. Anything way of bringing others into the effort will benefit both you AND the other person.
Take the Pressure Off. Perhaps the most common reason I hear about why someone is NOT reading the Bible regularly is that it feel like too much pressure. A few years ago, I noticed how easy it was for me to blow through 1,500 pages of a good fiction book series. But everytime I tried to get disciplined about being in the Word, my interest fizzled out. I decided to try reading the Bible like a story - after all, it's really just the story of God working out his plan to save YOU. That mindset shift completely changed the way I approached Scripture, and I've been going strong ever since. And since the Bible really is just God's story, it's not sacrilegious, it's really just reading the Bible the way it was meant to be read!
And when all else fails, ask for help! Seriously - think about the people you know who seem to already be doing it and doing it well. Ask them for their best advice and wisdom for getting into the Word.
Start here. I'd even be so bold as to say, I dare you to try and see if you don't start to notice a change in how you see God, His church, worship, and even the world. And of course, you can always reach out and ask for more help from me (Pastor Jason). Talking about the Bible, it's stories, and the lessons we learn within its pages is one of my absolutely FAVORITE things to do!