Listening to the translated Scriptures: a review of today’s digital audio players
Author: Richard Margetts

Third Edition - Revised for 2014

This in-depth review (46 pages) compares a range of today's digital audio players including the Proclaimer and Mini-Proclaimer (from Faith Comes By Hearing), the Envoy S and Story Teller (from MegaVoice), the Saber (from Global Recordings Network), the Papyrus (from Renew World Outreach) and the Audibible (from Davar Partners International).

The review is presented in several sections, illustrated with photos and giving a summary of the key features, prices, pros and cons of each player. Also mentioned are feature phones, smartphones and locally available MP3 players.

The first edition of the document was published in 2008 and compared the Proclaimer, MegaVoice Ambassador and Saber. In the past six years we have seen:

  1. New entrants to the digital audio player world: the Papyrus, the Audibible, the Story Teller, Mini Proclaimer, the Herald and the Shofar.
  2. Significant development of existing players: The MegaVoice Ambassadors were retired and replaced by the Envoy. A solar-powered version of the Talking Bible is available, as is a new version of the Proclaimer. More internal memory was added to the Papyrus.
  3. New battery technology: Most players now use newer Lithium Ion Polymer or Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries rather than the NiMH type.
  4. Digital file sharing: Almost gone are the days of cassette tape. In most countries of the world, people are interacting with digital media and are increasingly familiar with memory cards and MP3 files.
  5. Mobile phones: The incredible growth in mobile phone ownership and use over the past six years means that most of the world’s population now have their own personal audio player.
  6. Download the full report as a PDF document.

Author: Gordon Fee

We miss a great deal of the New Testament... because we are so poorly informed about the Old. And the point to make here is that the first readers of these New Testament documents, those whose heirs we have become, had a much greater awareness of what was going on not simply because it was written to them, in their language and culture, but because they were biblically literate in ways that most contemporary Christians are not.

In this lecture, Gordon Fee examines some of the Reasons why Christians read their Bibles poorly. He then points out some of the Results of this reality; and third, he points toward some Remedies.

Among the reasons cited for poor reading are: the over-stimulation of the senses making sustained reading difficult, the non-contextual individualization of verses, the fragmentation and flattening of Scripture. The negative results of this mean that people have 'a terribly fragmented understanding' of what the Bible is all about.

Fee proposes the following remedies:

1. People need to learn to read in meaningful sections.
2. People need to learn to read Scripture aloud.
3. Most people will need to read with some kind of guide.

Author: Sue A. Harris

The availability of Scripture in the traditional language is not enough to ensure shifting the patterns of language use already established in the church.

In the Galat community the traditional language is used for informal, in-group communication in the domains of family, friends, and neighbourhood. Harris discusses how this affects the use of mother-tongue literature and suggests that it is most effective to create new functions for literature use in domains that are appropriate in the community. Rather than expecting the church (a formal context) to use the mother tongue, she suggests home Bible studies or preschools as better environments to use mother-tongue literature.  [more...]

An integrated strategy for the total team
Author: Rick Brown

In the total team, the various agencies exercise complementary roles, as the Lord uses them to build up His local church.

A common strategy that is emerging to advance the Kingdom of God is culturally appropriate church planting movements. Rick Brown describes how different strategies have been used through missionary history (e.g. literature production, personal evangelism, church planting), but that these fail to reach full effectiveness if carried out in isolation. Now Great Commission organizations are working more towards a shared vision, a unified strategy. Using a farming analogy, he outlines key roles in the process of fostering church planting movements among unevangelized people groups. He goes on to summarize the benefits and obstacles to forming effective partnerships and lists core values held by many Great Commission agencies.  [more...]

Author: Glenn Stallsmith

The changes necessary for worldview transformation can only be undertaken in culturally appropriate ways if the Christian community itself is in charge of the change process.

This article reports on a Worldview Scripture Use Workshop held in the Philippines which aimed to work out real-life problems found in the cultures of the participants. The workshop followed an approach of discovering rather than telling, in which participants evaluated their own culture in light of biblical truth.

The report briefly describes the teaching methods used and their strengths, the factors discovered during the workshop, and the results of the workshop. This included a change of attitudes; the production of new media, namely songs; and synergy.  [more...]

Old Testament
Author: John H Walton
Published by: Zondervan, 2009

Many today find the Old Testament a closed book. The cultural issues seem insurmountable and we are easily baffled by that which seems obscure. Furthermore, without knowledge of the ancient culture we can easily impose our own culture on the text, potentially distorting it. This series invites you to enter the Old Testament with a company of guides, experts that will give new insights into these cherished writings.

Features of this new five volume set include:

  • Over 2000 photographs, drawings, maps, diagrams and charts.
  • Passage-by-passage commentary presents archaeological findings, historical explanations, geographic insights, notes on manners and customs, and more.
  • Analysis into the literature of the ancient Near East.

The chapters on Genesis from the first volume can be viewed online for free.  [more...]