Rob Bell argues that the Bible is open-ended. “It has to be interpreted. And if it isn’t interpreted, then it can’t be put into action. So if we are serious about following God, then we have to interpret the Bible. It is not possible to simply do what the Bible says. We must first make decisions about what it means at this time, in this place, for these people.”

The Bible is story and poetry. Commands, instruction written to others in different places, times, situations, settings. We can’t merely adopt their words as ours.

“To take statements made in a letter from one person living in a real place at a moment in history writing to another person living in a real place out of their context and apply them to today without first understanding their original context sucks the life right out of them. They aren’t isolated statements that float, unattached, out in space.”
And so we need to interpret. We need to decide what to do and how to do it. Too often, we try to do it all on our own. Bell notices the importance of community and how they shared and discussed these decisions together.
“The point is the ask, what is God up to here, now?
What in the world is God doing today?
How should we respond?
How did they respond? What can we learn from them that will help us now?”
We look to the accounts of the Bible for guidance. We look to the stories of its people to see how God interacted with them. Then we move to what God is doing with us.