“I was inspired by the radical faith of early Anabaptists, but I don’t want us to be stuck in the 16th century… Anabaptism now has a culturally diverse body,” says Hyejung Yum, co-founder of Sowing for Peace, an intercultural peace ministry based in Toronto. She participated in a working conference 26-28 August 2022 to develop an Anabaptist Bible.
Anabaptism at 500 is a project of Menno Media to observe the 500th anniversary of the beginnings of the Anabaptist movement by creating a study Bible through crowd-sourced material.
“The Anabaptist Bible is an effort to help readers understand what it means to read Scripture through the distinctive ‘Jesus-centred’ lens of the Anabaptist tradition,” says project director John D. Roth.
In line with the community hermeneutic that shapes Anabaptist theology and practice, the study Bible will be formed through and as a conversation of 500 groups of church members.
Interested parties can sign up to receive directions to guide four meetings. Each group receives a set of texts: a passage from the Old Testament, New Testament and a Psalm or passage from Proverbs. Their recorded reflections, insights and questions arising will be compiled by the project’s editors to form the core content of the Anabaptist Bible.
Although the project is primarily for a North American audience, the Bible study guidelines are available in English, French and Spanish.
“We assume that participants in the Bible study group will be earnest Christians, ready to engage their assigned texts in thoughtful conversation with each other through the lens of an Anabaptist hermeneutic. But we do not expect participants to have seminary degrees or to possess unique gifts in biblical interpretation,” says John D Roth.
“The only way a tradition exists for 500 years is if there is a capacity for frequent, ongoing renewal,” says John D. Roth. “Each age remains open to a fresh movement of the Spirit, found in conversation with each other and in prayer and study.”
“If immigrant Mennonite groups participate in the Anabaptist Bible project and their interpretation (of a passage) is included in the sidebar of an Anabaptist Bible…it will shape our Anabaptist identity in a new way in the 21st century,” says Hyejung Yum.
Learn more or sign up to lead a study group at www.anabaptismat500.com. Registration closes 1 March 2023. All submissions are due before 15 June 2023.