From the Willowbank Report: Consultation on Gospel and Culture, under the heading 'Understanding God's Word Today: The Contextual Approach':
Today's readers cannot come to the text in a personal vacuum, and should not try to. Instead, they should come with an awareness of concerns stemming from their cultural background, personal situation, and responsibility to others. These concerns will influence the questions which are put to the Scriptures. What is received back, however, will not be answers only, but more questions. As we address Scripture, Scripture addresses us. We find that our culturally conditioned presuppositions are being challenged and our questions corrected. In fact, we are compelled to reformulate our previous questions and to ask fresh ones. So the living interaction proceeds.
In this process of interaction our knowledge of God and our response to his will are continuously being deepened. The more we come to know him, the greater our responsibility becomes to obey him in our own situation, and the more we respond obediently, the more he makes himself known.
It is this continuous growth in knowledge, love and obedience which is the purpose and profit of the "contextual" approach. Out of the context in which his word was originally given, we hear God speaking to us in our contemporary context, and we find it a transforming experience. This process is a kind of upward spiral in which Scripture remains always central and normative.
How can we start women reading their Bibles when they have never done it before?
Many women in Africa do not realize that the Bible has answers to their daily life questions. Hanni Gruenig describes how she used a course of Bible studies to address relevant issues for the women who had completed the literacy course. She describes its impact on some of them.
Manual and worksheets for training writers of Bible Guides.
SU International has helped with workshops for writers of Bible guides in Africa (francophone and anglophone), the Americas, South Asia, East Asia, Europe and the Former Soviet Republics. These workshops have given opportunities to develop resources for training, and to test them in different contexts.
This brief manual aims to bring these resources together and make them available on the for Bible ministries staff around the world to make use of and adapt for their own context.
A new resource for leaders of small groups of young people. Designed to let the Bible speak to young people, and to allow you to train yourself to be a Bible Mentor. For use in school SU groups, primary or secondary, SU holiday group-times, Bible class groups, seeker groups.
"I believe we should re-commit ourselves to relational ministry with open bibles, and I want to invite all who are involved with young people to live by the Book and to open it with young people throughout our Land... I want to offer this simple tool to encourage volunteers and “professionals” alike to spend good quality time mentoring regularly with groups of children and young people, by simply opening the bible, reading it together, and asking one another some good questions.” (Kenny McKie)
What excites us most is that people who have never before led a Bible study are now having regular studies in their homes.
This article relates how Bible study cassettes on Genesis 1-11 and James have had a big impact on the Central Bontoc people of the Philippines. It outlines the format of the Bible studies and the ways they have been used both within churches and in evangelism, and how they support the development of literacy. [more...]
This is the Brazilian Portuguese version of the book Translating the Bible into Action by Harriet Hill and Margaret Hill.
A tried and tested resource that encourages meaningful Bible use in multi-lingual contexts through both written and oral media. Includes activities, assignments, further reading resources and links to useful websites.
This version has two extra chapters in addition to those found in the English version - "Addressing human concerns: Alcohol abuse", and "Sharing your faith with animists".
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.
EasyEnglish is a form of simple English developed by Wycliffe Associates (UK).
This site contains Bible commentaries, Bible translations, Bible studies, and other materials that have been written in simple English. They are free to download and use.
The Bible commentaries are for pastors, elders and Bible Study leaders in the developing world or for people who speak English as a second language. They include a Bible translation in EasyEnglish (2800 word vocabulary). [more...]
A Bible study method which minimizes the spoon-fed approach and encourages the individual to learn for himself.
Dick Hohulin describes a devotional Bible study method which was used to great effect in the Philippines. It is simple and enables the student to easily comprehend the basic truths in the Scripture passage and to make a relevant personal application of the truths to his life. He lists the questions used and an example of their use with 2 Timothy 2. [more...]
Is the Bible too complicated for ordinary people to use as a handbook for living?
Not if you’re prepared to follow some basic guidelines which the Bible itself provides, as, for example, in the Letter to the Hebrews. The writer suggests six ways of engaging with the Scriptures.