Book Review: Shaped By The Word, By M. Robert Mulholland Jr

Literary concept:
an attempt to re-access the way we read the Bible and raise the hard and easy questions and issues, concerning how we now read and what should be different, in light of the intent and power, which inspired the written word, with  its   particular purposes.



The first striking peace of information concerning this book, is the way in which it developed; not as a consequence of stated objectives, with an idea of writing

‘another book”, but in the avenue of a series of lectures, which were geared to a spiritual formation workshop. The message is not encapsulated by the idea of presenting more methods and steps toward spiritual formation, or full-proof ways to get exactly what you
name, in lieu of Bible reading. It is more dynamic and less of a framework of

The writer exemplifies a sober awareness of his subject matter. He makes known that he is not interested in more so called practical lists and also, introduces the ‘hard” areas which will be encountered in the book, as a journey of reflection and consideration, with regard to where we are in the purpose and practice of our reading.
Within the pages, there is a detailed assessment of the problems the
author sees in present Bible reading, along with discourses of how and why we
should seek change. He goes into well known scriptures (2 Timothy 3: 16-17
etc), offering fresh explanations and new light, with regard to initial meaning
and bridging the gap between what these scriptures were meant for and how to
tap into that power ,through humility and observance.

The author does a wonderful job, in outlining his thought. He not only uses scripture, but brings in pictures of activities and situations in general life, to show that even the mundane and repetitious things exist, because of a lack of understanding of the goal of scripture, on
the part of those involved in the ongoing conversation in community called life.
Highlighted in his presentation, are the following; revisiting the ideas
we have, with regard to how and why we read ; how scripture was written and how
is it used ; the idea of being and doing, which indicates some form of interaction with scripture and how a true perspective and practice can lead to true spiritual reformation.

In comparison to others books that come to mind, the writer’s treatment of the subject was very thorough and sober. Holding a doctors degree, he does possess the talent and information to deal with such a subject, and deals with such in both a scholarly way (using
scriptural exegesis) and also, humility, recognizing that his material is not a know all and end all.
Overall, the author has identified clearly, the problem, using not only
scripture, but the result of people reading scripture, in the church and wider
society. He has offered clear suggestions, which would serve to getting nearer
to intended meaning and practice, as time allots in one book.
In connection with his success in meeting stated objectives, there are
also some noteworthy advantages of this book. Firstly, it does not deal with
abstract material. Bible reading is widely done and so, people could relate off
the bat. His observations come not only from arguing scripture, but from
observing the results in the life of those who do read scripture. There is also
a very good treatment of the connection between God and the individual, in
looking at scripture, through historical and textual exegesis.
Overall, a very simple and masterful treatment of the subject. Readers
are made aware of the perceived problems and challenged to change, as their
situations have need for.
With regard to disadvantages, one could argue that the book was maybe
too short. A lot of themes could be developed more, in other to give those who
learn well through repetitive illustrations, more time and, material to grasp
what is argued.
Overall, a very good book, for those who want to begin addressing the subject
and practice of reading the Bible or all it’s worth.


2008 Ministry Journal (no.7)

Robby John
Harding University

Weekly journal of reflection

This week was not so bad; very eventful, in terms of emotions stirred within me and discussions with others, concerning church related topics. It started off as a typical week, yet at the very end, things got a little tedious.

Myself and another brother from church (one of the leaders), had just gotten through with disposing of the Churches’ trash, at the local city dump. We made our way back, stopping off once, to acquire some grapefruits from land which a sister at the church owns. Upon arriving at home, the brother informed me, as I proceeded to exit the van, that I needed to be aware of some “grumblings’ among some members
Essentially, I was told that people did not appreciate the fact that I didn’t show up for a cookout, at one of the schools in a not too distant town, which provides care, housing and education for, orphan kids. The school is open to the general public, yet orphan kids have house parents and so on, who supervise and take care of them, as they go to school.

I related to the brother, that I couldn’t be at all the functions ; that I had other obligations stemming from preparing all the lessons for Church and also, trying to increase my efforts in doing Ministry in the surrounding area, where the church is located and also, staying in touch with the sick brethren within our own congregation.
He proceeded to remind me that this was an obligation of the “Minister” of the church and that they did expect me to be there more, yet also, apologized for it not being part and parcel of my “job description”, which I never received.

All in all, I was very frustrated. I talked to my wife about it and I just decided to keep on keeping on. I will be at the activities as I can make it, but still, I cannot endorse the church only attending to a school, which is well taken care of already, yet neglecting their own body and the community they reside in. so, it remains to be seen. I constantly felt that God was reminding me of the true state of ministry within a setting of immaturity and calling me to be mature and understanding. My emotions say I don’t really need this, yet my spiritual mind says, accommodate as you can, without neglecting the spirit-led ministry. I pray that God gives me strength to be loving and kind, yet still be an example of maturity and not neglect those in the body, who do need assistance along with those in the community as well.

I feel fine now that I am able to write out some of these thoughts. Praise the lord that he has counted me worthy to feel an inkling of what servants of before, had as an ongoing struggle with church growth. Thank you lord and May I prepare myself to greet even more, so that the image of Christ could be formed in me, in everyway