“The test of each story is the sort of person it shapes,” and (as the authors of that comment would grant) the sort of community it shapes. “The practice of community establishment and maintenance was at the center of the social ethic of earliest Christianity” as it has been of the First Testament’s social ethic.
There in a single, two-sentence, paragraph is an excellent description of what is, perhaps, my cardinal conviction regarding the nature and purpose of Scripture (and God’s intention for it); a conviction that shapes my life, the expenditure of my time and energy, and is the goal of my pursuits.
 Stanley Hauerwas and David Burrell, “From System to Story,” in Why Narrative? ed. Stanley Hauerwas and L. Gregory Jones (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989), pp. 158–90; see p. 185; reprinted from Stanley Hauerwas, Truthfulness and Tragedy (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1977), pp. 15–39; see p. 35.
 James W. McClendon, “The Practice of Community Formation,” in Virtues and Practices in the Christian Tradition: Christian Ethics after MacIntyre, ed. Nancey Murphy et al. (Harrisburg, Penn.: Trinity, 1997), pp. 86–110, see p. 102.
 John Goldingay, Old Testament Theology, Volume 3: Israel’s Life (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 14.