11 Minutes

     It’s hard to believe that six months have passed since we published our inaugural issue of Ecclesia: Journal of Practical Theology. In my first editorial, I spoke about how we desired Ecclesia to exemplify “how God’s Word should serve as the primary lens through which Christians are to engage the world around them.”1 I’d like to expand on this idea and highlight the vital importance of scripture in the believer’s life, especially as we seek greater clarity regarding its proper application in our contemporary context. For many readers, this is not a radical position so some may wonder why I would even bring the topic up in a theological journal. I contend that if Ecclesia is to truly serve as a resource for pastors, students, and church members, then it should endeavour to demonstrate the authority of God’s word first and foremost. While this is not overtly communicated in every article, its undercurrent should be apparent. In turn, I hope that our readers recognize how the transformative nature of God’s Word ultimately works toward helping us “see” the world as God would have us see it. 

     The apostle Paul commands Christians “…to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom.12:1-2).2 Paul explains that to avoid conformity with the world, we must be transformed by the renewing of our minds. In his commentary on Romans, Douglas Moo makes the following observation:

‘The renewing of your mind’ is the means by which this transformation takes place. ‘Mind’ translates a word that Paul uses especially to connote a person’s ‘practical reason’ or ‘moral consciousness.’ Christians are to adjust their way of thinking about everything in accordance with the ‘newness’ of their life in the Spirit (see 7:6). This ‘reprogramming’ of the mind does not take place overnight but is a lifelong process by which our way of thinking is to resemble more and more the way God wants us to think.3

Moo shares a critical insight: Christians must think differently about everything. Our way of thinking, however, should reflect who God is and how He thinks. 

     So how does this “reprogramming” – or renewal – of the Christian mind take place? Again, we turn to Paul: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words” (1 Cor. 2:12-13). Through the Spirit Christians have access to Godly wisdom. This is, as Paul points out, not wisdom that comes from the “spirit of the world.” Alternatively, we should not make the mistake of believing that, somehow, we will gain knowledge concerning the things of God by doing nothing but waiting for our minds to be supernaturally filled. Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary on 1 Corinthians, Be Wise, states, “The truth of God is found in the Word of God, and it is very important to note that these spiritual truths are given in specific words. In the Bible, we have much more than inspired thoughts; we have inspired words.”4

     So the renewing of our minds that leads to transformation comes from studying God’s Word. This truth is echoed in 1 Thessalonians 2:13: “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”5 In this short statement, Paul communicates two essential truths: First, the Word of God is authoritative. Paul commends his readers for treating God’s Word as precisely that – the very word of God. Second, it is His Word that transforms. Notice how belief in the authority of scripture and spiritual transformation run hand-in-hand. According to F.F. Bruce, “The word of human beings, however wise in substance or eloquent in expression, cannot produce spiritual life: this is the prerogative of the word of God, which works effectually (ἐνεργεῖται) in believers.”6

     What all of this boils down to is that it is the Bible – the inspired Word of God – that leads to the renewing of the mind. In turn, the way we think about the world undergoes a transformation. I believe that it’s safe to say that, for many faithful Christians, this is not a revolutionary proposal. However, the challenge is appropriately interpreting and applying scripture in our daily lives. Besides the problem of not reading and engaging with the Bible, one of the biggest obstacles we face when wrestling with scripture is our own feelings: “God’s purpose is to communicate with us about himself and his will for us. We can choose to ignore his message and interpret biblical texts according to our feelings and desires, but if we do, we will suffer the consequences of disobedience – traffic fines will appear and the lights will go out.”7 In light of this appeal, we consider the biblical text and its application in our lives. Do we ignore hard truths because they are inconvenient or contrary to our sinful desires? Or, regardless of how we may feel, we place our trust in the Bible’s authority and allow the Spirit to work through the Word to transform us (however painful or slow the process)? 

     Our readers, from time to time, may wrestle with the positions and proposals set forth by our authors. Our goal, however, is not to antagonize or be “edgy.” While we want to inform and challenge, it is done in such a way as to push our assumptions, stretch our thinking and, perhaps on occasion, shake us from our spiritual lethargy. As you read and think about each article in this issue of Ecclesia, I encourage you to observe how the author works to remain faithful (however imperfectly) to the authority and transformative power of scripture. 


1 Marc Lapointe, “Editorial,” in Ecclesia: Journal of Practical Theology, vol.1, issue 1 (Abbotsford: Northview Community Church, 2022), 5.

2 Unless otherwise specified, all Bible references in this paper are to the New American Standard Bible, Updated Version (NASB) (Eugene: Harvest Houses, 1995).

3 Douglas Moo, The Letter to the Romans, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018), https://www.perlego.com/book/2015314/the-letter-to-the-romans-pdf.

4 Warren Wiersbe, Be Wise: 1 Corinthians (Colorado Springs: David C Cook, 2010), https://www.perlego.com/book/3057691/be-wise-1-corinthians-discern-the-difference-between-mans-knowledge-and-gods-wisdom-pdf.

5 Italics mine.

6 F.F. Bruce, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Volume 45 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Academic, 2017), https://www.perlego.com/book/559850/1-and-2-thessalonians-volume-45-pdf.

7 J. Scott Duval and J. Daniel Hays, Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012), 194-195. The traffic fines and light imagery are part of a metaphor the authors use to drive home their point concerning authorial intent. We may choose to ignore a traffic ticket or an electricity bill (or interpret them according to our own desires) but there is ultimately a consequence – a fine or the removal of services.

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