How the Church Can Help
Author: Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill, Dick Baggé, and Pat Miersma
Published by: American Bible Society (2015)

This book offers a practical approach to engaging the Bible and mental health principles to find God’s healing for wounds of the heart, which provides a strong foundation for restored lives and relationships.

This edition is adapted for ministry in North America, with all-new stories and three new chapters on domestic abuse, suicide, and addictions. Apart from this, it includes the same content and approach as the original Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help.

It is a resource for leaders in churches and NGOs who care for people who have suffered horrific events like conflict, abuse, and disasters. It will also help individuals struggling with suffering. It provides core mental health principles within a biblical framework, an approach that has been field tested since 2001 with leaders from Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and independent churches. It has been adapted into more than 150 languages and cultures around the world.

The book is designed for use in groups and written in simple and non-technical language. Each lesson begins with a story depicting its topic, followed by discussion questions and participatory exercises. The book includes more than 270 Bible references from more than 217 passages.  [more...]

Published by: GemStone Media (2014)

"In the high mountains of Central Asia are shepherds who live a simple but rugged life. The village where they live is extremely remote and isolated from the outside world. Going there feels like you're stepping back into time. This is the first time a film has been done with this people group. All of the actors are from the local village."

This is the first film in GemStone Media's Luke 15 trilogy, which is followed by "The Lost Jewel" and soon "The Lost Sons".

To see footage from the making of The Lost Sheep, watch the video "The Lost Sheep - Behind the Scenes".

The film is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. It can be downloaded and shared freely.  [more...]

Author: Ellen Errington (2016)

The experience of going to church is largely an oral one in any culture. This is perfectly acceptable and appropriate, but there are ways that the experience of participating in church activities can be complementary to developing literacy skills and literate practice for daily life.

In this paper, Ellen Errington applies the concept of scaffolding to the task of teaching people from oral cultures the skills of reading and writing. By supporting the learner through these means, literate practice may seem less foreign and new avenues of communication may be opened up. Scaffolding techniques are really just good teaching practices, but for learners from oral cultures, literacy teachers need to use them more often and more intentionally to build success.

The church, though primarily an oral setting, can also be a setting for supporting literate practice, including Bible ‘literacy,’ for all church members. The inclusion of scaffolding techniques for oral literacy learners in the church setting can bring excitement and deeper understanding to all who participate.  [more...]

Choosing Illustrations for Translated Scripture
Author: Michelle Petersen (2016)

Choosing to illustrate interesting events in the text may help build audience interest in the story of Scripture, and this interest may be more foundational to audiences’ relationship with God than knowledge of details about what objects and places looked like.

Illustrations often serve motivational functions for readers, especially reluctant readers, increasing their enjoyment of a text and the amount of time they give it. Various audiences require different kinds of Scripture visuals to care about the message and understand it well. Just as translators need to carefully check the words of Scripture, it is important that they also check Scripture illustrations with members of the intended audience, and if needed, change their choices based on this interview feedback. This paper encourages translation teams to check visual elements of Scripture with members of the intended audience, and helps prepare consultants to check illustrations based on local visual vocabulary, grammar and rhetoric.

This is an edited version of a paper presented at the Bible Translation Conference in October 2015, Dallas, Texas.  [more...]

How not to write Bible study questions
Author: Richard Margetts

Article in English and French (2015).

As well as teaching the sorts of questions you should ask, it can also be helpful to highlight the sorts of questions you shouldn’t ask, i.e. what kinds of questions or series of questions can be unhelpful or uninteresting? What kinds of questions should I probably avoid if I want to encourage a good Bible study?

This article sprang from training local church leaders in preparing participatory Bible studies for small groups. It describes 15 types of questions to avoid when developing such studies, including:

  • questions that are repetitive or uninteresting;
  • questions that deviate significantly from the main point of the passage;
  • application questions too soon before participants have had the chance to really look at the text and understand it;
  • questions that jump around from one verse to another, without a clear progression towards the application;
  • application questions that have little relevance to the lives of the group members.
  [more...]
A Strategy for Promoting the Use of the Vernacular Scriptures in the Cameroon Baptist Convention Churches in Nso’ Tribe, Cameroon
Author: Shey Samuel Ngeh

MTh thesis, South African Theological Seminary (2015)

Abstract:

This research was prompted by the observation that there is minimal use of Lamnso’ Scriptures in Baptist churches in Nso’, even though the Lamnso’ New Testament has been available since 1990. It was also observed that the active participation of Nso’ Christians in Bible studies done in Lamnso’ points to great prospects for the extensive use of Lamnso’ Scriptures.

The author of this thesis seeks to devise a strategy for promoting Lamnso’ Scriptures for extensive use. He consulted academic works to find out what others have written regarding the importance of mother tongue Scriptures and conducted a historical analysis to find out how historical factors have shaped the attitude of Baptist churches towards Scriptures in Lamnso’. He did an empirical study by sending questionnaires to fifty-seven Baptist churches, receiving feedback. The data collected was analyzed and interpreted.

The result shows that even though Lamnso’ Scriptures are indispensable to spiritual maturity among Nso’ Baptist Christians, their use in evangelism and discipleship do not reflect their importance. This is due to lack of a proper strategy and biblical teaching on the importance of mother tongue Scriptures. Consequently, the author has proposed a theological framework to provide a theological basis for setting forth a strategy for promoting Lamnso’ Scriptures.

The theological framework is followed by a practical framework based on the historical and empirical analyses, as well as the theological obligations of the church. The author contends that proposed solutions, recommendations and action plans with practical steps must be implemented by individual Baptist Christians, churches, Baptist theological institutions and the Cameroon Baptist Convention at large so that Lamnso’ Scriptures assume their proper place in evangelism and discipleship for the growth of the church.  [more...]

English and French teacher's guides, coloring pages and big picture books

Chris and Karen Jackson (eds.), 2015
Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy (CABTAL).

Lessons from Luke is a 52-lesson curriculum for children, based on the Gospel of Luke and developed in the North West region of Cameroon. It aims to provide an easy-to-follow series of lessons that are culturally appropriate and make use of teaching aids and illustrations found in a typical rural milieu.

This version of Lessons from Luke is known as the Economy Version. It is the version of the curriculum that is currently being implemented in Cameroon and elsewhere. The only difference between this version and the original version published in January 2015 under the same title is the number of pictures used in the stories and in the FlipBooks. With the number of pictures reduced, the FlipBooks have been reformatted so that there are now four in total, one for each quarter. Each FlipBook contains 39 pictures used to illustrate the stories. Beyond that, the actual content of the lessons has not changed.

The reduced number of pictures results in a major reduction in the cost and complexity of producing the curriculum. Yet there has not been a loss of effectiveness. The minimum number of pictures used in a lesson is three, while some lessons have four and five pictures depending on what is needed to best support the story of the lesson.  [more...]

Assessing the benefit of local language Scriptures among the bilingual Malila and Nyiha communities of Tanzania
Author: Mark Woodward

MA dissertation: Bible & Mission, Redcliffe College, UK (2014)

Abstract:

In many ways the Malila and Nyiha are typical of Tanzania's numerous multilingual communities, where both Swahili and the local language are used as part of everyday life. Given that there are several versions of the Swahili Bible, two of which are generally available in the larger cities, it is often unclear as to what, if any, benefit will be gained from the long and arduous task of translating Scripture portions into the local language.

In this study I first look at the impact of translated Scriptures throughout the history of the church, and what insights might be gained from the sociolinguistic literature concerning the way multilingual communities use and perceive each language that they speak. I then carry out research among the Malila and Nyiha communities, asking them what they feel has been the impact of having access to Scriptures in their local languages in addition to the Swahili Bible. Finally I discuss the perspectives shared by the community members and church leaders, making recommendations for decision makers in other multilingual communities who may be considering translating Scriptures into their local language.

This study concludes that the benefits of translation may extend far beyond simply an increase in comprehension, and so decision makers would do well to bear in mind the fact that sociolinguistic principles play a significant role in how Scriptures are perceived, and should therefore be fully considered when contemplating how a community might best access the Bible.

Download as a PDF document below:  [more...]