Participatory Bible study treats the study of the Bible as a transformative spiritual practice done in community.
It is not solely an intellectual activity, by which one determines proper theology and derives correct doctrines about God. Nor is it primarily about demonstrating the validity of scripture. It can be about those things, but those are not central. Doctrines are derived as part of the exercise of getting to know God.
Thus participatory Bible study is not done in isolation:
- It is not isolated from other activities that are involved in our relationship with God. As God is presented in scripture as the creator of everything, this means scripture and the study of scripture can and should connect to everything in life in some way.
- It is not isolated from our theology. We can isolate our Bible study from our existing ideas about God, and those ideas will inevitably shape our study, but we should let this be a two-way flow.
- It is not isolated from our own lives. We study not just to gain abstract knowledge to gain transforming knowledge and shared experience.
- It is not isolated from history, neither in the intellectual sense, nor in the sense of community. We study as part of a community that extends through time.
- It is not isolated from our community today, neither by tradition stream, nor by geography. We care what others believe, and we connect to them, whether we agree or not.
- It is most importantly not isolated from our own spiritual experience.
This site includes materials about the Participatory Study Series from Energion Publications. That’s because site author Henry Neufeld owns Energion Publications and publishes those materials. But this site is not primarily about selling those materials. It is about learning together to let God’s word, however, we receive it, transform us.
Because of this, you’ll see informative pages as well as books listed from a variety of authors and publishers. We hope this site will help you grow spiritually and intellectually.