John 17:17 Ė ďSanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.Ē


Sanctify! Newbie Booklet (web version)

Room 202

2118 West Carson Street

Torrance, CA 90501


Table of Contents 2

Essential Information_ 3

Regular Gatherings 4

Practices 6

Atmospheres 6

Growing and Birthing_ 7

Tangentizing_ 7

Sanctify! Dictionary_ 8

Theological Dictionary_ 10

Biblical Genres and Questions to Ask of Each_ 15


Why Sanctify! exists:

1.       To point and keep pointing people to the Word of God which is able to convict and transform.

2.      To train them to chew and understand Godís Word for themselves.

3.      To equip them to point others to Godís Word.

Know the Story Ė Be the People Ė Expand the Kingdom

The purpose of Sanctify! is to become maturing, integrated disciples who take seriously the lifelong, communal process of tending towards God. Disciples take seriously the rule of Christ over every aspect of existence, bringing the physical, mental, emotional, vocational, academic, entertainment and relational aspects of life under Christís rule.

The goal of Sanctify! is knowing the story, being the people, and expanding the kingdom. Knowing the story begins with the content of Scripture, and results in active participation in Godís kingdom. Being the people combines a horizontal relationship with other believers and a vertical relationship with Christ. Expanding the kingdom is increasing kingdom breadth by making disciples and increasing kingdom depth by becoming better disciples.

Community Agreements

         Cell phones off.

         The primary bible translation is the English Standard Version. Other translations may be used for comparison.

         Take responsibility for preparation, participation, and presence.

         Come unless you absolutely cannot (then let someone know).


Bible Study, weekly

How to Prepare

         Read the chunk at least three times. Daily is optimum. Read deeply and carefully; savor the text--don't just wolf it down.

         Ask questions (who, what, where, when, why, how) of the study portion.

         Extra: Search for connections and answers in other portions of Scripture.

         Extra: Search bible introductions and bible dictionaries for background information that may help us understand the chunk.

What to expect at Bible Study

Expect participation in leadership and in the study. Bible Study usually has two guides: Worship Guide and Study Guide. The Worship Guide is responsible for opening the gathering at the appointed time and closing it upon completion. There is no additional preparation, but the Worship Guide should arrive early. The Study Guide is responsible for studying the chunk, locating background materials, and guiding the paragraph by paragraph study of the portion.

1.       Opening Worship

         Opening question (no passes): How did you prepare this week?

         Focusing question (leader answers first): What has God been teaching you through [current study chunk]?

         Beginning ritual: light the lamp.

2.      Study

         Reading the chunk (read around; participants may pass)

         Studying the portion: The passage is studied paragraph by paragraph, asking questions and searching for answers. To answer the questions we go first to the Bible, second to our brains, and then to commentaries and dictionaries.

3.      Closing Worship

         Response: We finish with corporate worship, recording our gratitude and reverence in the group journal. After recording the responses, the leader reads them.

         Closing ritual: the lamp is extinguished.

Collegium, weekly

How to Prepare

         Think about the topic.

         Take notes.

         Bring your notes to share.

What to expect at Collegium

Expect participation, controversy, and community.† A Collegium is "a group whose members pursue shared goals while working within a framework of mutual trust and respect" († The Sanctify! Collegium gathers over a meal to discuss important and controversial topics brought by members of the Collegium.† The presenter of the day is responsible for formulating the question of the day, gathering viewpoints and related information, and presenting the question to the Collegium. The presenter also opens and closes the session. All members are responsible for guiding the Collegium through the four movements of discussion (describe, analyze, frame, and decide; see the Sanctify! Dictionary below).

Members are expected to treat one another with mutual trust and respect by listening, speaking, questioning, and coming prepared. As members, we are responsible to share what we know, clarify what we do not understand, and challenge what does not square up.

EAT! monthly

How to Prepare

         Bring money.

What to Expect

         Dining at a local restaurant, from inexpensive to beyond

Experience, quarterly (beginning in 2008)

Participatory worship experience created by an in-house design team

Other Scheduled Events


(American Heritage Dictionary as found on has been consulted)


As friends, striving together to become like Jesus, we come to know and trust one another by spending time together talking, learning, and playing.


As leaders and future leaders, we rain one another in the skills and content of the Christian faith, developing modes of living and thinking that glorify Jesus.


As participants, dedicated to the spoken exchange of thoughts, opinions, and feelings, we discuss, debate, and tangentize with passion for truth and love for one another.


As disciples, developing a godly disposition of the mind, we think together by asking hard questions, conceiving ideas, drawing inferences, and using judgment.




We intend to create an atmosphere where each person's insights are evaluated and each person's voice is heard.


We intend to create an atmosphere that is a relaxed living room, suited for daily wear.


We intend to create an atmosphere characterized by thoughtful questions, creativity, and reasoned reflection.


We intend to create an atmosphere where tough issues are discussed honestly and respectfully and where toes are stepped on truthfully and lovingly.


To encourage the practices and atmospheres, a Sanctify! gathering will begin birthing a new gathering once there are ten to twelve regular participants. We intend to be prepared at all times for the birth of new groups. We intend to have many weekly bible studies and collegiums. The whole Sanctify! community gathers regularly for EAT! and Experience.



Tangentizing is a primary discussion method in Sanctify! This method rides tangents for insight into the main point. The method also has inherent dangers: sidetalk and interruptions. Conversations not open to the entire group (sidetalk) and anything that imposes itself when another is engaging the group (interruptions) are rude.

True tangents are connected to the main point and are drawn back to the main point, bringing new insights. To ensure respectful tangentizing, the community agrees to three rules:

1) We will listen more than we speak (but we will speak).
2) We will summarize or restate what others are saying to be certain we understand.
3) We will ask questions when something is unclear or we want to know more.


Bible Commentary: A book that describes the grammatical and historical backgrounds of Bible books, discusses various interpretations, and gives the commentator's opinion regarding the meaning of the passage. A commentary should be consulted after one has studied the passage and with the realization that commentaries are written my mere humans. When we read a commentary we ought to enter into conversation with the writer, agreeing and disagreeing as needed.

Bible Dictionary: A book that defines biblical (and sometimes theological) terms. A Bible Dictionary should be used in much the same way as a commentary. Read and search the passage first; quite often, the meaning of a term is made clear in the context.

Chunk: A logical division of a bible book or theme, usually large enough to be studied over a number of sessions.

Disciple: A follower-learner of Jesus. A disciple is a follower because he or she obeys and imitates Jesus as master. A disciple is a learner because he or she is in process, learning from God and in community with other disciples.

Guide: A guide directs the worship or study to ensure a logical flow and allow each person an opportunity to participate. Their primary purpose is to spark discussion and learning - not hand out preconceived opinions and "pre-chewed food".

Paragraph by Paragraph: "Verse by verse" Bible study is quite common and helpful, but it does have some problems.† First, the original biblical documents had no verse numbers; the numbering was added later and, sometimes, was added in odd places.† Second, it is too easy to take a verse out of context and misunderstand the meaning of the text. Third, the paragraph is the basic unit of thought.† Sanctify! practices paragraph by paragraph study so that we might keep sentences in their context and better understand God's Word.

Portion: A logical division of a bible book or theme, small enough to be studied in one session.

Preparation: The primary purpose of preparation is to allow ample time to savor the passage and listen for the voice of God. Read the Bible chunk deeply and carefully. Deep reading means savoring the text as you might savor an excellent meal. Read slowly. Stop and think. Pray. Careful reading means paying attention to what the text actually says rather than bringing in your own notions. Questions are one tool for careful reading. Checking the historical and cultural context is also important. Bible Study and Collegium are a very small span of time--an hour or so out of 168 hours available in any one week. Allow God more time to teach your soul.

Asking Questions: In addition to reading the passage for preparation, a careful reader asks questions. A well-known questioning formula is useful here: 5WH. This formula refers to the standard "journalist's questions": who, what, where, when, why, and how. Ask questions of each paragraph; leave no paragraph untouched. Start with basic (even obvious) questions, as these prime the pump. Ask questions that link this paragraph to other paragraphs in the book and in the Bible as a whole. Writing down these questions helps clarify our thinking and understanding.

Four Movements of Discussion: 1) Describe the situation and the beliefs behind and beneath the situation. 2) Analyze these beliefs according to biblical theology. 3) Frame the response by clarifying the content and practice that ought to be covered in the decision. 4) Decide on a view or action most appropriate to the analysis and then state the reasons for the decision.


Authority means that to disbelieve and disobey the Bible is to disbelieve and disobey God. The Bible is master, not servant. It is the source and measure of the content and practice of faith.

The Bible is God's Written Word

Culture is the worldview of the writer and the intended readers. The Bible was written over a period of at least 1,500 years, in three ancient languages (none of which is English), and in a number of nations (none of which is the USA). The cultures are different from our own and different from one another. Culture is crucial.

Genre is the type of literature as shown in style, form, or content. There are a great number of genres in the Bible. For example, Genesis is narrative, Psalms is poetry, portions of Daniel are apocalypse, and Romans is a letter. Genre is an important factor in determining meaning.

History includes the significant events happening at the time of the writing and at the time of the story. For example, when reading the gospels it is important to know something about the Roman Empire and about the various parties within Judaism.

Inerrancy means that the original manuscripts do not say anything contrary to fact. This includes not only statements about theology, but also statements about history, geography, and the like. Inerrancy does not demand identical accounts, but allows for differences in emphases. The gospels are an important example of this. The gospel writers emphasize different aspects of Jesusí life and organize events according to differing themes. Further, inerrancy must be measured against the standards in place at the time of writing. For example, the distinction between quotation and paraphrase is blurred in Ancient Middle Eastern cultures. The exact wording was not necessary; it was sufficient to communicate the ďgistĒ.

Infallibility means that the Bible will not lead us in the wrong way when it comes to the content and practice of faith. It can be trusted as a guide to salvation and Christ-following.

Inspiration means that the words of the Bible are ďGod-breathedĒ or ďGod-spoken.Ē The Holy Spirit worked through the human writers so that while freely writing according to their own style and personality, the resulting document was the Word of God.

Occasion is the situation that prompted the writing. In a few rare cases, the situation is specified. Most of the time, we must look at clues in the biblical book and then make our best guess. For example, in order to understand the book of Lamentations, one must know Jeremiah wrote it from Jerusalem after the southern tribe of Judah was taken into captivity by Babylon.

Style is the authorís distinct manner of expression. Different authors choose to use different words, different levels of complexity, different grammatical structures, and different moods. For example, Luke writes a researched gospel with a beautiful, fluid style, while John writes a nearly philosophical gospel using metaphors and signs.

Attributes of the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Aseity is Godís self-existence. He depends on nothing and no one for his existence. This is what Jesus meant when he said that the Father has life in himself (John 5:26). God also made this claim when he told Moses his name: I AM WHO I AM (Exodus 3:14).

Grace: God gives his goodness to those who deserve only punishment. He gives because he decides, not because we deserve his gift. Rebellious humanity only deserves punishment. In his grace, God gives us salvation.

Holiness: God is separated from sin and devoted to seeking his own honor (Isaiah 48:10). God will never do wrong (Job 34:10) nor will he enter into relationship with sin (Psalm 11:4-7). He will not allow his glory to be given to another.

Immutability is Godís unchangeableness. God does not change in his being, his attributes, his purposes, or in his understandings. This does not mean God is rigid and unemotional. A quick read through the stories of the Old Testament shows that God is moved by emotion. So, what does this mean? It means that Godís intention to save can be completely trusted (Malachi 3:6). God is not shifty (James 1:17).

Infinity is Godís unlimitedness. He is not subject to the limits of being, time, and space. He is absolutely perfect (complete) and unlimited in his attributes. Because God is not subject to the limitations of time, he lives in an eternal present, without past or future. There cannot be a time when God is not. He is always available. Because God is not subject to the limitations of space, he fills all space. Not that God is too big to be measured. Rather, he cannot be measured because he is not subject to spatial measurement. It would be like trying to measure weight in inches. Just as weight cannot be measured in inches, neither can God be measured by time or space.

Knowledge: God knows himself and he knows all things possible and actual. Psalm 147:5 says that Godís understanding is beyond measure. God does not obtain knowledge. His knowledge is an essential part of his nature.

Love: God eternally decides to act for the good of another. His love is first inward. The Father loves the Son and the Spirit. The Son loves the Father and the Spirit. The Spirit loves the Father and the Son. Godís love is also outward toward creation. He cares for his creatures (Luke 12:24). Finally, Godís love is toward humanity. This is especially shown in saving us while we were his enemies (Romans 5:8), in order that we might know him forever (John 17:3).

Mercy: God is kind to those in misery and distress. He helps us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). We can trust his mercy; he saves those who truly seek his help (Psalm 17:7; Hebrews 11:6).

Righteousness: God always does what it right and he is the measure of what is right. It is unimaginable that God should act unrighteously (Genesis 18:25). All his rules are completely pure (Psalm 19:7-14).

Simplicity is Godís unity. He is not composed of parts; he is one God. This is made clear in Deuteronomy 6:4: ďHear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.Ē There is only one God and there is no other like him (Exodus 15:11).

Sovereignty: Godís will and power are sure. His decisions and actions are the final cause (Revelation 4:11). God is in charge (Job 42:2) and he has the power to accomplish what he decides (Jeremiah 32:27; Matthew 26:53-54).

Trinity is Godís three-in-oneness. He is one God eternally present in three persons. The Father is not the Son or the Spirit. The Son is not the Father or the Spirit. The Spirit is not the Father or the Son. On the other hand, the Father is the one God, the Son is the one God, and the Spirit is the one God. Each person of the Trinity is wholly God and wholly himself.

Veracity: God is true in himself, in his revelations, and in his relationships. God is the one true God (Isaiah 44:6-8). His words and works are true and can be trusted (Romans 3:3-4). God is true in his relationships and his promises can be trusted (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Wisdom: God chooses ends and means that are worthy. Proverbs 8:22-31 describes Godís wisdom at work in his creating of the worlds. Wisdom is Godís knowledge acting according to his character.


Attributes. Because we are created in the image of God we share limited versions of his communicable attributes. For example, God has absolute sovereignty over his creation, while humans have a limited sovereignty that is subject to Godís rule (Genesis 1:26). God is perfectly holy, while humans are called to be holy (1 Peter 1:16).

Composition. Humanity is composed of both material and immaterial substances, of both physical and spiritual stuff (Genesis 2:7). The material substance (our physical bodies) began as dust. God took the dust of the ground and formed a human. The immaterial substance (our spirit/soul) was formed by the breath of God.


Image of God. By design, humanity is very good. We were declared so by our Creator (Genesis 1:31). By design we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Two aspects of the image of God are personhood and attributes.

Personhood. Persons are self-conscious. We know we exist and can observe ourselves from the outside. We show this self-consciousness when we ask ourselves how we feel about something or why we made a certain decision. We are self-determined. We can make decisions that do not rely on instinct and are not under compulsion.


Conversion is the human act of turning away from trusting self and turning towards trusting God. It is an act of belief (trusting God) and practice (following God).

Disciple-making is the process of making more Christ-followers and better Christ-followers. The church makes more Christ-followers by going out into the world, talking about and showing the truth of God. The church makes better Christ-followers by encouraging and equipping Christians for sanctification, teaching believers the content and practice of faith.

Forgiveness is the gracious, humanward act of God removing the guilt that results from our sin nature and our individual choices to sin (Colossians 2:13-14). Forgiveness is a once for all event and is to be distinguished from the confession and cleansing needed for continued fellowship with God (1 John 1:9).

Glorification is the finalization (consummation) of our salvation. It happens when a believer finally sees Christ face to face (1 John 2:1) and is made physically and spiritually perfect and fit for an eternal, willing love relationship with God. We finally become the humanity God intended in his design.

Justification is the gracious humanward act of God declaring righteous the person who trusts Christ. In justification the believer receives the righteousness of Christ (Philippians 3:7-9), making it possible to enter into fellowship with God. Forgiveness removes sin and justification imputes righteousness.

Perseverance is the assurance that the ones God saves stay saved. Perseverance is based upon the Fatherís plan (Romans 8:28-30), the Sonís mediation (Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 2:1; Hebrew 7:25), and the Spiritís indwelling completion (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

Regeneration is the imparting of life. Sin disconnects individual humans from God. Disconnection is death. Connection is life. In regeneration, the person who trusts Christ receives a new nature that is free from sin and connected to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Representing the reign of God means being what we are: a community of human beings in an eternal, willing love relationship with God. Our message and behavior point to God. Worship is in all we do and all we say. A community of faith is what we are.

Sanctification is the process that begins to make our salvation complete. The moment we trust Christ, we are forgiven of our sins and given Christís righteousness, but we ourselves have not learned righteousness. In sanctification, God the Spirit works in and with our spirits teaching us to do and to be Christís righteousness. Because it is the work of the Spirit, we can rest in the fact of its completion. Because it is our work, we put effort into learning Godís ways.


(Excerpted from Playing With Fire by Walt Russell)

Old Testament Narrative

What does this passage tell us about God (the Hero), his plan, or the role that his people should be playing in his plan?

Old Testament Law

What does this passage tell us about God and his holiness, about Israel and her sin, and about how Israel needed to obey in order to maintain her covenant relationship with God? What specific areas of life does God expect holiness and transformation in his people?

Old Testament Prophecy

What does this passage or oracle tell us about Israel's behavior in her covenantal relationship with God and about God's response to his people, and those areas that we may be susceptible to neglect within our new covenantal relationship?

Old Testament Psalms

What does this psalm tell us about how God's presence and work connects with our deepest concerns and emotions in the midst of difficult or joyous circumstances?

Old Testament Wisdom Literature

What does this passage tell us about what wise, skillful living would be in the area begin discussed? What general pattern of life does this reveal for God's people , or what specific behaviors does it challenge us to embrace?

New Testament Gospels

What does this passage tell us about who Jesus is and about how we should respond to being his disciples? How then should we live as citizens of the kingdom of God?


What does this passage tell us about our purpose and focus as God's people and how we should respond to being a part of the church and living as citizens of the kingdom of God?

New Testament Epistles

What does this passage tell us about our identity in Christ and about specific choices we should make to understand that identity or enhance our unity and ministry as God's primary means of ministry in the world?


What insights into God's ultimate triumph does this passage give us and how does it encourage us to life faithfully and courageously today in the face of opposition and persecution of the church?