In 2007 the ELCA churchwide assembly voted to embrace an initiative called Book of Faith. The bold vision for this five-year initiative is:
That the whole church become more fluent in the first language of faith, the language of Scripture, in order that we might live into our calling as a people renewed, enlivened, empowered, and sent by the Word.
This book, Opening the Book of Faith, is your invitation to engage in this vision. Through this book and through this initiative, we will be called to experience more fully the power of the Word and to recall or learn anew the Lutheran approaches to Scripture that have been so fruitful over the centuries. In chapter 1, Stan Olson explores how Lutherans think of God's powerful Word and why we talk of the Bible as a Book of Faith. In chapter 2, Mark Allan Powell introduces how Lutheran insights help us open up the Bible. In chapter 3, you will be introduced to four approaches to studying the Bible that can be used in concert to deepen and broaden your experience in Bible study. You are then invited to experience the power of studying biblical texts together through four group Bible studies.
The Book of Faith initiative calls for a conversation that is deep and broad, including folks of all ages and across all the many cultures that inform who we are as a people of God. To help you in your local setting, we have also included in this book two tools to help you assess engagement with the Bible in your congregation or organization. To learn more about these tools, the Book of Faith initiative, and the various ways you can join the conversation and live out the vision, visit our website at elca.org/bookoffaith.
The Book of Faith initiative envisions a church renewed and empowered for faithful service. This renewal can be fueled by groups coming together and exploring the Bible in depth. As we open Scripture and faithfully join in conversation, the Bible will come alive for us anew. With God's help we will discover new ways to hear and share God?s living Word. God?s Spirit will help us express more fluently the biblical message and the unique Lutheran insights that define who we are as God's people. God will open us — individually and as communities of faith — to the gospel, which the Apostle Paul declares, "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith" (Romans 1:16). So ... let's get started! Open Scripture. Join the Conversation.
Diane Jacobson, Director of the Book of Faith initiative of the ELCA