I recently completed my second Bible study. Should I just keep going until I have covered all 66 books of the Bible? What should my goal be for adult faith formation?
Faith formation is the process of being formed to be like Christ. It’s a lifelong journey rather than a goal. Bible studies are one way to be formed. It might be a good idea to keep going until you have covered all 66 books of the Bible. But faith formation is more than just acquiring knowledge. It is about transformation.
In Invitation to a Journey, M. Robert Mulholland describes faith formation as “the process of being formed in the image of Christ for the sake of others” (p. 12). There are echoes of God’s call to Abraham in Genesis 12 here, where God told Abraham that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
A few lines earlier, God’s word to Abraham begins with God’s promise to make him into “a great nation.” We are a people of God as much as we are individuals. Studying the Bible with brothers and sisters in Christ helps us know more about God, and it also helps us know that we belong to God and that we are a part of his people, the church. God transforms us through his Word.
Other faith practices have been used by Christians to become more Christlike. Even our habits, like prayer at mealtimes, can seem perfunctory, but they are shaping us. A walk in which you take the time to think about how you can bless your neighborhood can be a faith practice. It reminds us that our lives are fully intertwined with what God is doing in the world and in us.
There are lots of ways you can grow in your faith. Give it some thought, read some books, talk to your pastor and other wise friends, and, yes, continue to study the Bible. Find out what God is calling you to do as you grow in your faith.