The Way of Life was first published in 2002 by Bethel Publications, Beechworth, Australia, and printed by Printland Publishers, Hyderabad India. It has gone through many printings since then and has been widely used in Christadelphian ecclesias around the world. This internet edition is a slight revision of the print edition, and is intended to make the book available to a broader readership.
There are already several books that cover basic Bible doctrines and others that cover some of the principles of a life in Christ. But I know of no books that adequately cover both. I think it is a mistake to separate the two because it encourages the idea that people need to know the truth before baptism, but living it is something they just work out for themselves afterwards. We ought to teach living the Way just as much as believing the Truth. Also, it was felt that there was a need for a simpler presentation of Bible teaching in an attractive format with class activities, discussion questions, homework, etc.
Who wrote it?
The writing team consisted of nine people. Rob Hyndman was editor and had ultimate responsibility for the contents and production of the book. Other authors included Mark and Ruth Morgan, Neil and Robyn Pitt, Stuart and Shannon Richards, Ruth Sutcliffe and Leanne Hyndman.
Notes to leaders
The book was written for use in a small group discussion format. Discussion groups work best if they are led by an experienced Bible reader who can guide the discussion, help class members find answers to their questions, and ensure all class members are learning and growing through being part of the group.
Each chapter is intended to provide the basis for one class, lasting between 60 and 90 minutes. The “focus passage” is designed to get the class thinking about the topic, and looking in detail at a particular passage relevant to the topic. The questions associated with the focus passage also help the group to warm up to each other, and begin to talk more openly.
The main body of each chapter provides a summary of Bible teaching on that topic. A group leader may wish to go through this material as it is written, or they may wish to provide their own ideas and approach to the topic. Discussion classes generally work best if class members are allowed to ask questions or make comments at any stage, although sometimes a leader may have to request particularly vocal members to allow others the opportunity to make comments!
There are various questions in the margin and in the “Thought provokers” section at the end of each chapter, which can be used to promote group discussion or to extend the class thinking in some areas. I generally find it is better not to leave these to the end of the class, but to use the questions throughout the class to maintain group interest and involvement. Of course, a leader may wish to supplement these with other questions.
The “Further investigation” section at the end of each chapter provides additional activities which are intended to be done individually as “homework” outside the class, but some may be suitable for group discussion also. If a class member wishes to learn more about the topic than is provided in this book, there are some suggestions for further reading in the section “Want to know more?” at the end of each chapter. We have tried to select books which are easy to read, and accessible to a wide audience. In some cases, we have recommended books which contain doctrinal errors, although a warning is given in each case.
The chapters do not have to be covered in the order presented. The needs and interests of the class should determine the most appropriate order and emphasis.
Each chapter may be printed out and copied for class use. Click the printer icon at the top of each chapter for a pdf version which can be printed. If you are using more than a handful of chapters, you will probably find it simpler and cheaper to purchase a print-copy of the book (click “Buy” above).
The illustrations throughout the book were prepared by Coralie Islip. Despite my request for “just some basic line drawings”, she has done a magnificent job as usual. Nathan Islip produced the maps in chapters 19 and 65, and the wonderful sketch of Jerusalem in chapter 3.
Helen Quixley and Ruth Morgan painstakingly checked every reference in the book, while Meryl Morgan and Christie Smallwood proof-read the text and made many helpful suggestions about the content. Rachel Morgan, Catherine Morgan and Coralie Islip also read some chapters and provided useful feedback. Finally, Ben O’Connor read the entire manuscript before it went to print.
Naturally, in a project like this, there will be some disagreements about what should be said, or how it should be said. However, these were remarkably infrequent. Where they did occur, the responsibility for what was written rests with me as editor.
I am very grateful to all those named above for their commitment to this project, their unflagging enthusiasm and their spiritual encouragement. The writing took more than four years, but dedication of all involved never faltered. Even when I lived in the United States for six months, they held meetings without me and we sent chapters across the Pacific by email.
Finally, I wish to thank our heavenly Father for blessing this project from the beginning. The guidance, care and strength he provides continually amaze me.
It is now more than eight years since the print version of the book was first released, and I am greatly encouraged by the large number of people around the world who write to tell me how helpful it has been. I pray that this internet edition will allow the book to reach more people in more countries, as the gospel spreads before the return of Jesus.
Rob J Hyndman
Chapters of the book may be reproduced for class use without further permission. (Click the printer icon at the top of each chapter to get a version of the chapter suitable for printing.) Requests to reproduce material from this book for any other purpose should be directed to the editor, Rob J Hyndman.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version. NIV. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.