Many of us raised in the Christian faith were taught that the one vital goal of faith is to get ourselves to heaven along with as many others as possible. In the meantime, along the way to heaven, we were expected to help others, to grow more godlike and maybe to work to improve society some, if we had time. In The Powers That Be and Engaging the Powers, Walter Wink shows how there is tremendously much more to the Bible and to our calling here in this life as we try faithfully to understand God's thoughts and do God's work.

This study guide is designed to be used with either or both of these books and to help groups get the most out of them.

I have attempted to include all the main points made in both works, often including quotations, and I have added a few illustrations and questions of my own.

The Powers that Be summarizes in a short, exciting form the main points from a trilogy of larger works: Naming the Powers: The Language of Love in the New Testament, (1984), Unmasking the Powers: The Invisible Powers that Determine Human Existence (1986), and Engaging the Powers, Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (1992), all published by and available from Fortress Press of Minneapolis.

Walter Wink is Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York.

Quotes from the works are identified by the initials of the titles followed by the page number.


Engaging the Powers (ETP 365)

The Powers that Be (TPTB 365)

The guide is divided into thirteen sessions to fill a regular study quarter. Though I don't recommend it, the study can be compressed into fewer weeks by combining sessions. At the first of each session the relevant sections from both books are listed for reading in advance.

This little guide is in no way to take the place of reading the books themselves. If four members of the study group would agree to read the four Wink books, one each, it would make for a very rich discussion, as the three earlier works from Fortress contain a gold mine of scriptural references and interpretation, illustrations from history and challenging ideas which The Powers That Be necessarily omits.

Copyright © 1998 by Vern Rossman

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