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.
Of this I am convinced: This side of heaven there is nothing more wonderful we could ever hold in our hands or engage with our minds than God’s Word as given to us in the Bible.
The author describes 25 ways of engaging with Scripture:
Survey the Word, Listen to the Word, Read the Word Silently, Read the Word Aloud (Privately), Read the Word Publicly, Discuss the Word, Hand-copy the Word, Study the Word, Cross-reference the Word, Stress the Word, Highlight the Word, Read the Word Responsively, Paraphrase the Word, Dramatize the Word, Sketch the Word, Read the Word Interpretively, Memorize the Word, Recite the Word Interpretively, Personalize the Word, Sing the Word, Hum the Word, Display the Word, Share the Word, Teach (or Preach) the Word, Do the Word! [more...]
People need to engage with God’s Word in order to have their lives changed. What if they could engage with without picking up a Bible? What if it could be delivered in a new way? One that is always with them? 411God delivers God’s Word to users’ cell phones in either SMS, voice or e-mail format at a convenient time they choose each day. It helps engage people who may not otherwise take the time to read from the Bible regularly. [more...]
These 5 bookmarks are free to download and contain easy to follow directions for five Scripture Engagement methods:
Reading, Meditation, Prayer, Contemplation, Action
Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer
Prepare, Picture, Ponder, Pray, Practice
The PR3 Method
Pray, Read, Reflect, Respond
Inductive Bible Study
Pray, Observation, Interpretation, Application [more...]
A presentation given at the Mobile Ministry Forum Consultation in December 2011, highlighting 7 key trends in the mobile space:
- Saturation - It is projected that we'll reach 7 billion mobile phone subscriptions in 2012. That doesn't mean everyone will have a phone, but most will have access, whether with their own phone or through friends and family. In 2011, there were 1 billion mobile broadband subscriptions. 2 billion smartphones are predicted for 2015.
- Mini Tablets/e-Readers - These are becoming more affordable, such as the $60 tablets being developed in India for school children.
- Operating Systems - Android sales are increasing, although a large proportion of current phones run on Symbian.
- Content - New content repositories are being created, such as REAP (SIL), ETEN (Every Tribe Every Nation), TWR's Linguablast and LinguaDMS.
- Facebook - Facebook is expected to reach 1 billion users in 2012.
- Engagement - There's a desire to encourage and measure engagement with content. It's estimated that 90% users read/watch content, 9% interact with it (e.g. comment/like/share), and 1% create new content.
- Security - Complete anonymity doesn't exist. There is an increased ability to monitor people's mobile use. Sharing SD cards and bluetooth transfers are safer in sensitive situations. Some countries are trying to phase out anonymous SIM cards, requiring people to register.
Watch the video in Vimeo... [more...]
BibleMAX from Max7 is an excellent collection of free-to-download resources for helping children engage with the Bible.
BibleMAX lessons have 4 main sections: Activate (welcome, song, opening activity), Communicate (read the Bible, explore the Bible story), Investigate (discuss, ask questions) and Commit (memory verse, prayer, challenge).
Lesson plans are available in several major languages (English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Swahili...) and translation into other languages is in progress.
There is a Leader's Guide giving 7 different ideas on how to... welcome children, explore a Bible story, reinforce a Bible passage, ask questions, transition between activities, memorize Scripture, pray with children and dismiss the children at the end of the lesson.
For example, 7 ways to explore a Bible story: make a model, interviews, draw the main events in the story, still-frame drama scene, story-telling, act it out, write a song. [more...]
One of the first questions translation teams ask when determining program strategy is: Are there people who are literate or semi-literate in the national language? If so, how can we get them reading in their own language?
In Columbia, where Spanish is spoken widely, very few Desano people had made the transition to reading in their own mother tongue. Leah Walter helped to develop a transition primer to be distributed along with the New Testament. The article includes a step-by-step description of how she and the team developed this primer to teach themselves how to read their mother tongue. It was suitable for both literates and semi-literates. Sample pages from the primers are included. They include lots of pictures, which aid the reader. [more...]
Ever wondered how you can make songs in a more African style? Have you wanted to make songs that are closer to your heart and speak deep to your Christian faith? "A Time to Sing" gives you biblical guidelines for making and singing new songs based on scripture in your church.
Available from Fuller Seminary Bookstore.
Lectio divina has no goal other than that of being in the presence of God by praying the Scriptures.
The reading or listening which is the first step in lectio divina is very different from the speed reading which modern Christians apply to newspapers, books and even to the Bible. Lectio is reverential listening; listening both in a spirit of silence and of awe. We are listening for the still, small voice of God that will speak to us personally - not loudly, but intimately. In lectio we read slowly, attentively, gently listening to hear a word or phrase that is God's word for us this day.
Fr. Luke Dysinger outlines the steps in the ancient art of Lectio Divina:
- Lectio - reading/listening
- Meditatio - meditation
- Oratio - prayer
- Contemplatio - contemplation
He explains how Lectio Divina can be used in private, as a group exercise and as a reflection on life. [more...]
The issue of non-readers is an issue for all countries, as we see reading declining even in countries with high literacy rates. It has been estimated that in some African countries printed scripture only reaches around ten percent of the population. The challenge is therefore to develop translations that are relevant to the media, productions that are appropriate, and distribution systems for scripture that reach the non-reading population.
Viggo Søgaard argues for the kinds of Bible translation needed for non-reading populations, conforming to "the rules and requirements of spoken rather than written language". He describes the differences between oral and written communication and highlights some of the areas translators need to pay attention to when producing translations for audio media (emphasis, direct speech, intonation, context information). [more...]