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Shaped by the Word: The Power of Scripture in Spiritual Formation
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Shaped by the Word: The Power of Scripture in Spiritual Formation

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  147 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
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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Chance Faulkner
Oct 20, 2016 Chance Faulkner rated it did not like it
Although there were helpful bits in his book, I cannot say that I would recommend it as a helpful resource Bible engagement. The author begins by warning the reader that there is going to be content will trouble, offend, and make the reader uncomfortable. He suggests that any un easiness, offence or trouble internally is a means of God's "knock upon one of the closed door of your life" (16). According to the author, God is willing to work in our lives and he often knocks at our "closed doors", a ...more
Sylvia Jeronimo
Dec 27, 2016 Sylvia Jeronimo rated it liked it
Novel and informative look at how to adopt of posture of yieldedness and humility before Gods word for the sake of spiritual formation. Loved the idea that each one of us is a word spoken forth by God into the world. Good read.
Dec 16, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing
This is the classic work on reading Scripture relationally for spiritual formation. Many ideas I've read, or heard, in other places have seemed to have originated with this book. Essential reading.
Dec 05, 2016 Nate rated it liked it
Pretty good. Eugene Peterson's Eat This Book was better in my opinion.
Amos Smith
Sep 17, 2015 Amos Smith rated it it was amazing
Mulholland has been shaped by the Word largely because of the intention he brings to the Bible. He approaches the Bible with the desire to hear what God is saying to him personally through the Word. And since he approaches the Bible with that intention he is not disappointed. For centuries people have come to the Bible for spiritual counsel. If that is our intention it will deliver. Mulholland says it well on page 42: "spiritual reading has more to do with approach than with content..." One of t ...more
Feb 25, 2016 Chris rated it liked it
Shelves: religious
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
Mar 03, 2012 Mark rated it liked it
Shelves: christian, formation
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
Kim Karpeles
Jul 30, 2016 Kim Karpeles rated it liked it
Mulholland constructs a framework and approach to reading Scripture that is a worthwhile counterbalance to the informational and propositional approach generally taught. His approach pushes the reader to open herself to God, to allow him to shape and transform as she practices the discipline of regular, intentional reading.

The helpful contrasts of informational/formational, being/doing, and functional/relational are repeated more than necessary for an attentive reader. To the point that the red
Mar 01, 2008 Susie rated it liked it
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
Lori Schwilling
Aug 06, 2015 Lori Schwilling rated it really liked it
Much of this book addresses the importance of approaching scripture "formationally" rather than "informationally," as "relation" rather than "function."

Some of the book is repetitive. After an extensive description of one's approach to scripture, Mulholland continually refers to his comments about "approach" as he goes on to describes how our approach influences our "encounter" and "response" to the Word.

I found it helpful to digest the book very slowly as I integrated these concepts into my own
Nov 01, 2016 Paul rated it liked it
Shelves: reread
Although I have no recollection of reading this book the first time, I found it refreshing but also a bit abstract. I didn't finish it this time.
Only those elements of our being that are inconsistent with God's will for our wholeness will be disturbed, displaced, or destroyed. (p.40-41)

(First read 9/01/06)
Darcy Knight
Sep 07, 2012 Darcy Knight rated it liked it
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.
Aug 25, 2011 Nick rated it liked it
Shelves: christian-living, own
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.
Feb 24, 2009 Jenny rated it really liked it
it was good. challenged me on certain aspects of my thinking, for sure. otherwise, basic devotional hermeneutics. but some parts on his spiritual disciplines and "being/doing" aspects of his writing... superb.
Charles Dean
Jul 10, 2012 Charles Dean rated it it was ok
Shelves: spirituality
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.
Dec 23, 2014 Dawne rated it liked it
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.
Aug 07, 2011 Cheryl rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, 2008
There was one part on p. 58 that really spoke to me, but the rest was extremely dry and boring. I did like the comparison of how we can be like Pharoe by holding on to our own gifts and plans and not letting them go.
Dec 14, 2015 Zach rated it really liked it
- Read the Bible formationally rather than informationally
- Place yourself in the text and allow it to shape you
- Focus on being and becoming rather than doing

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Dec 16, 2011
Brady Field
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Jan 26, 2016
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Jun 01, 2016
Eric Amundson
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Dec 30, 2014
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Jul 25, 2012
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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....

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