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Shaped by the Word: The Power of Scripture in Spiritual Formation
Many people buy and read the Bible for the sake of gaining information, Robert Mulholland believes that people can read the Bible not only for information, but for formation. In this completely revised version of an Upper Room best-selling classic, Mulholland invites readers to embrace scripture in a new and more fulfilling way, letting the biblical text form our spiritual ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 1st 2001 by Upper Room Books
(first published November 1st 1985)
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Mulholland's discussion of formative reading (or as another reviewer put it, "How Not To Read The Bible Wrong") is a thoughtful theory of biblical reading. Mulholland spends most of his time describing significant concepts to formative reading, rather than giving an actual process. If you're looking for a process or magic key to spiritual and interpretive scripture reading, don't look here. This text is honestly quite antiprocess in a lot of ways--and I think that's a good thing, after having re ...more
I very much appreciated Shaped by the Word and found it challenged the way I often read the Bible. The call to move from informational to formational, and from functional to relational approach was particularly helpful. I found the book highly repetitive. A point made in the first chapter continued to be repeated in every chapter that followed. In some sense the whole book is neatly contained in the last chapter making one wonder if this shouldn't have been just an article rather than a book. Th ...more
We are God's word spoken forth into this word. I read this book at the start of my School of the Spirit program. It really challenged me to rethink how I read the Bible. I took lots of notes from this book. It connects well with the Enneagram as well.
Mar 01, 2008 Susie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who feel frustrated with their Bible reading
Would be better titled "How not to read the Bible the wrong way." A helpful discussion of how informational, transactional approaches to reading (which we use for most educational situations) do not allow Scripture reading as a spiritual discipline to shape the reader. Describes what it looks like to come to Scripture with a transformational stance toward letting God speak to you and change you by his grace. Somewhat repetitive in places, because he regularly reviews what he has gone through so ...more
Dr. Mulholland says many thought provoking things in this short volume. He was one of my favor professors in seminary and many of the stories or examples from Scripture used in this book were told in the class room. That being said, I struggled to get into it. It could just be the wrong time for me to have read it, but it just didn't grab me in the way I expected.
Good information on "formational" reading, a way of reading Scripture that requires a different mindset than reading for the sake of information. However, a major flaw is the constant repetition within the text. Recommended, but only if you have the time to take it in small chunks, with time to think about it between readings.
Probably a good read for many - but I found it to be a little simplistic. If you're new to thinking about spiritual formation, and specifically the role of Scripture in formation, then this is probably an excellent read.
M. Robert Mulholland Jr. (Th.D., Harvard) is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is the author of several books, including Shaped by the Word (Upper Room), Revelation (Zondervan), and the landmark spiritual formation book Invitation to a Journey (IVP).More about M. Robert Mulholland Jr....