Culture and Contextualisation

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...]

Como tornar a Bíblia relevante para todas as línguas e culturas
Authors: Harriet Hill, Margaret Hill
Published by: Vida Nova (2010)

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".  [more...]

Enjeux et défis pour l'Afrique francophone
Author: Michel Kenmogne
Published by: Editions CLE, Yaoundé / Wycliffe International, Nairobi (2009)

This book - 'Bible Translation and the Church: Issues and challenges for Francophone Africa' - was written as part of the Francophone Initiative in collaboration with CITAF (Conseil des Institutions Théologiques d’Afrique Francophone) - a consortium of evangelical theological institutions in Africa.

The aim is to introduce into the programme of every theological college a course on the importance of Bible translation and the role of local languages in the mission of the church.

The chapters are divided into five main sections:

  1. Pourquoi traduire la Bible dans les langues locales? (Why translate the Bible into local languages?)
  2. L'histoire de la traduction de la Bible depuis Néhémie jusqu'à nos jours (The history of Bible translation from Nehemiah to today)
  3. Théologie et traduction de la Bible (Theology and Bible translation)
  4. Traduction de la Bible: contexte, structures et méthodes (Bible translation: context, structures and methods)
  5. Bible et héritage colonial francophone (The Bible and the colonial heritage)
  [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...]

Authors: Karl Grebe, Wilfred Fon

We soon found that even the most experienced Christian leaders were not always sure how to relate the cultural phenomena to the biblical picture. On the whole, the church had bypassed the task of interpreting the cultural picture from the biblical perspective, leaving Christians to determine for themselves how to relate to the various traditions of their culture.

This 58-page booklet, available for download in both English and French, describes the key elements of an African Traditional Religion (ATR) worldview and interprets them in relation to Scripture:

  1. The Worldview of African Traditional Religion
  2. Christianity and the African Worldview
  3. The Biblical View of Spiritual Realities
  4. Interpreting ATR in View of Scripture

The authors conclude with implications for Christian communication and counseling in such contexts.  [more...]

Author: Eunice Pike

...to ensure the Mazatecs understood a bit of doctrine, we needed to put it in a hymn.

The concept of “limited good” means there is only so much good (including knowledge and love) to go around, so someone’s advantage implies someone else’s disadvantage.

The Mazatecs of Mexico hold this belief. One result is that they are reluctant to teach people directly for fear they will lose their own knowledge, so all teaching is indirect. This article looks at how this affects the spread of Christianity, and the important role missionaries, hymns, gospel recordings and mother-tongue Scriptures have in spreading the gospel. It also outlines Scriptures that speak of God’s unlimited goodness and kindness.  [more...]

Author: Jacob Finifrock

The living model of the transformation of a donkey, along with the use and application of Scripture left a profound impact on all of us who were involved.

This report describes how a team went to help promote the use of the newly translated Tharaka New Testament in Kenya. They found their most effective approach was training pastors and community leaders in how to train their donkeys! Finifrock describes the observations that led to this idea, the training used, and the Scriptures applied.  [more...]

A Case Study in the Role of the Translation Organization
Author: John L Ommani

When the Bible remains silent about certain cultural features, the Church... should assist the Christians to think through their traditions by digging deeper.

In the Tharaka society of Kenya, female circumcision has held a prominent place. In recent years Christian Tharaka people have questioned whether the rite should continue. The Bible Translation and Literacy agency has had a part in helping the society look at this rite from a biblical perspective. This article chronicles the history of the rite, including both its positive elements and problems, and some alternatives are presented.  [more...]

Historical and hermeneutical study of ordinary "readers" transactions with the Bible.
Author: Mote Paulo Magomba
Published by: University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg - MTh thesis (2004)

Abstract:
This study falls within the area of the Bible in African Christianity, particularly ordinary readers' appropriation of and interpretation of the Bible. It seeks to explore, firstly, the processes of the encounter between the Bible and the indigenous people of Tanzania, specifically the Gogo in central region. Secondly, this thesis seeks to identify some interpretative resources and emerging interpretative practices that have continued into the present of ordinary readers of the Bible.

This exploration is done by tracing the mission activities of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in Tanzania, which began in 1844. The work of the Universities Mission to Central Africa (UMCA) is also examined, particularly the role it has played in making the Book "open" to the indigenous, through translation.

Although there is continuity between past and present readings, this thesis demonstrates that ordinary readings are not static, they are dynamic; and over the years neo-indigenous interpretative moves have emerged which are a combination of both missionary and indigenous interpretative resources and methods. This reality is evident in the contemporary phenomenon of women and youths' songs in central Tanzania. These songs are creative interpretations of the Bible from an ordinary readers' perspective.  [more...]

Authors: Amy West, Jo Shetler

"Tensions naturally are high in a crisis, but when a person becomes a follower of Christ, some of those practices clash with Scripture, creating new and sometimes intense tensions."

This workshop focused on equipping believers to resist those pressures toward practices that conflict with their allegiance to God, and to overcome the internal tensions created so they might respond in ways that are scripturally grounded while still being culturally meaningful.  [more...]