Reading the Bible from an individualistic mindset breeds checklist Christianity (did I do [insert good thing] today, check!). This emphasizes aspects of faith such as self-righteousness and individual works.
But if we read passages like this through a community oriented lens it changes that. There is still an individual response needed, but it changes the outcome. Instead, it becomes: Can we as a church stand united to offer our one body to sacrifice and service to Jesus? Have we uplifted each other, prayed for each other, encouraged each other and blessed each other in such a way that we can stand blameless before God?
Reading from a community lens is not only a more accurate way to read the Bible, it draws attention to values that were upheld in Greco-Roman society – such as unity and honor.
This underscores the merit in reading the Bible with people from different cultural backgrounds. While we (North Americans) prioritize freedom, equality, and love (all individualistic values), many non-Western cultures prioritize honor, loyalty, and hospitality (all community-oriented values). We all share the same values, we just differ in order of importance.
Hiebert suggests reading "you (plural)" instead of "you (singular)." You'll be right more often than not, and you may even learn something from the change in perspective.