Scripture Engagement Essentials

Evaluating the conditions for Scripture Engagement
Author: David Gray (2019)

This questionnaire takes you through each of Wayne Dye's Eight Conditions of Scripture Engagement, asking questions to help you evaluate a particular context.

It is available to download as Word documents in both English and French.

The process of filling in the questionnaire will help Bible translation teams, local organisations and Scripture Engagement specialists to identify the areas on which to concentrate in order to facilitate the use of the Scriptures.  [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...]

A study of meditative engagement with selected psalms amongst Edinburgh students
Author: Fergus Macdonald
Published by: University of Edinburgh, 2008

"...the creative engagement between respondents and text results from respondents discovering that the psalms resonate with their idealism and basic human needs in ways that facilitate their ongoing spiritual quest for meaning and enlightenment, as well as providing an opportunity to confront God with complaints and dilemmas."

This study is the account of an empirical research programme in practical theology exploring the potential of the Book of Psalms to facilitate the spiritual journey of a sample of University of Edinburgh students aged between twenty and thirty who are on or beyond the fringes of the churches. Drawing upon some insights of the Bible Society movement regarding ‘scripture engagement,’ and in the wider context of increasing interest in spirituality and decreasing confidence in the churches among many westernised young adults, the project seeks to answer two research questions.  [more...]

Author: Pauline Hoggarth
Published by: Langham Global Library (2011)

"In this excellent book about Bible engagement, Pauline Hoggarth shows at the same time the depth and width of her acquaintance with the Bible, and her rich experience of many years working around the world encouraging people to get into the Book. Her global experience and her teaching ability, take us to cross the missionary frontiers of the twenty- first century with a renewed confidence in the live giving and transforming power of Scripture." (Samuel Escobar)

The Seed and the Soil explores the power of the Bible that brings about God’s transforming and liberating purposes, as well as its power as an often oppressively misused text. Characterised by a wide variety of storytelling, this book is accessible to all that read it.

Available as a paperback or Kindle e-book.  [more...]

Author: Margaret Hill

Common factors emerge that affect Scripture use: level of literacy, prestige of the language, and attitude of church leaders.

A wide variety of reasons account for published Scriptures not being used. They include a lack of literacy, a language that is dying or has low status, a translation rejected by church leaders, an inappropriate published format, a lack of distribution, a lack of contextualization when using Scriptures, and others. A summary of the conditions necessary for seeing Scripture used is also offered.  [more...]

The Impact of Mother Tongue Scriptures from 1989-2011
Author: Asewie, Bernard Amadu

MTh Thesis, South African Theological Seminary (2013)

The major finding of the research is that the proclamation of the Gospel in the mother tongue of the people has made significant strides in the growth of Christianity among the Nchumuru people. However the Gospel proclamation among the Nchumuru often produces different responses ranging from full embrace to partial embrace as well as conflictual or negative embrace depending on how the Gospel is proclaimed and how the people understand it.

Abstract:

This thesis, Towards a Model of Contextualising Christianity in the Nchumuru Culture in Ghana: The impact of mother tongue Scriptures from 1989-2011, is a study on the impact of mother tongue Scriptures on culture and also the engagement of the Gospel with the culture of the Nchumuru people of Northern and Volta Regions of Ghana. It examines the coming of Christianity to the people and the patterns of evangelisation among the Nchumuru with special reference to the medium used in the proclamation of the Gospel. It also addresses the issue of the birth of a Bible Translation ministry among the people and the subsequent birth of the Bible into that culture and how the Nchumuru have responded to the proclamation of the Gospel as well as the impact it has had on the lives of the Nchumuru.

The writer contends that despite the challenges, indigenous Nchumuru Christianity is possible through the recognition of traditional or cultural categories as significant preparation for the reception of the Gospel. In this way the Christian faith can be articulated in the Nchumuru cultural context with the use of its thought forms and patterns in a relevant worship of God.

The major finding of the research is that the proclamation of the Gospel in the mother tongue of the people has made significant strides in the growth of Christianity among the Nchumuru people. However the Gospel proclamation among the Nchumuru often produces different responses ranging from full embrace to partial embrace as well as conflictual or negative embrace depending on how the Gospel is proclaimed and how the people understand it. There is the need for the people to perceive and respond to the Gospel in ways that are meaningful to their own understanding and experience. The significance of the impact of the mother tongue Scriptures in contextualising Christianity in the Nchumuru culture and its contribution in the evangelistic task of the church is therefore very crucial.  [more...]

Manuel pour faire un bon usage de la Bible dans chaque langue et culture
Authors: Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill
Published by: Presses Bibliques Africaines (2011)

"Ce manuel est un guide efficace pour une bonne préparation à l'étude biblique, à la méditation, à la prédication intégrant les réalitiés culturelles de chaque peuple."

This is the French version of the book Translating the Bible into Action by Harriet Hill and Margaret Hill. It is also available in Portuguese.

The French version can be obtained from Wycliffe Benin in Cotonou or from the SU department of SIL in Nairobi.  [more...]

Author: Bettina Gottschlich
Published by: Fuller Theological Seminary, Doctor of Intercultural Studies dissertation (2012)

Abstract:
This dissertation contributes to the missiological conversation on transformational Scripture engagement. Translation into the mother–tongue and good distribution by themselves are insufficient to enable multi–lingual Budu believers of Congo–Kinshasa translate the Bible into action and changed lives. Literature surveyed on Scripture engagement, biblical theology of mission and contextualization revealed that effectiveness seems to be handicapped by the lack of connecting and integrating the people’s story in its wider historical context into God’s story, as presented in the totality of Scripture and understood through relevant themes and motifs. In light of a history of a largely non–contextualized gospel, the model of biblical theology in context including creative solutions to language in a multilingual environment could offer a way forward.

This qualitative research identifies and documents Scripture resources that enable life–transforming Scripture engagement among Budu believers from their point of view. It further identifies measurable indicators that determine what constitutes verifiably effective engagement. The research methodology consisted of qualitative methods to collect and grounded theory to analyze the data from 36 interviews and 36 focus groups, participant observation and document research, representing the whole of the Budu region and its church leadership. The findings revealed the emic view that I classify in two key themes of “People” as Scripture resources and “Ministry” Scripture resources.

The data collected is used to develop a change strategy together with Budu leadership to enable Budu believers encounter God’s Word in life–transforming ways using context–appropriate Scripture resources. My recommendations call for two important changes: (1) altering our comprehension of what constitutes a Scripture resource; (2) using this knowledge to enable Budu believers complete God’s story in a way that it becomes “readable” through the messengers individually and communally and communicated through appropriated means of communication. I specifically address the issue of leaders as promoters of transformation in the largely but not only communal and oral context of African believers. As these leaders find their place within God’s story, and become “living Scripture resources”, credible conveyers of the Word of God, they will be able to lead others towards life–transforming engagement with Scripture.

-- For information about this dissertation, please contact Bettina Gottschlich at bettinagottschlichatgmail [dot] com  [more...]

How the Bible can be Relevant in all Languages and Cultures
Authors: Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill
Published by: Piquant (2008)

"Clear, simple and readable - very practical, fully supported with further reading ... exactly the kind of thing that is needed."
Chris Wright, Langham Partnership

A tried and tested resource that encourages meaningful Bible use in multi-lingual contexts through both written and oral media.

Individual chapters can be used as a standalone interactive workshop in church or mission contexts. Chapters (with further reading) are also appropriate as a text for graduate studies. Includes activities, assignments, further reading resources and links for useful websites.

Also available as an e-book for Kindle.  [more...]

A report of a seminar for Ejagham pastors from Cameroon and Nigeria
Author: Chris Jackson

One pastor reported, 'I never understood grace like that before. I think I can learn a great deal using the Ejagham New Testament in my Bible study. And my people need to hear this so that they will understand better as well.'

This brief article describes a two-day multi-denominational seminar for Ejagham pastors from Cameroon and Nigeria. It mentions some aspects of the workshop, including learning to read Ejagham, translating key terms, and the use of the Ejagham song book. It quotes several success stories recounted at the workshop that resulted from people using the Ejagham New Testament.  [more...]