Understanding Scripture

Africa Bible Commentary Series
Published by: Hippo Books

"The Africa Bible Commentary Series builds on the vision of the acclaimed Africa Bible Commentary — to reach African pastors, students and lay leaders, with top notch biblical and theological scholarship, by Africans, for Africa, and the world."

The first in the series has been published, a commentary on "1 & 2 Timothy and Titus" by Samuel Ngewa (professor of New Testament Studies at the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, NEGST).

"These commentaries are divided into preaching units that contain detailed exposition of each passage as well as contemporary applications. The unit is not intended to be preached as a sermon, but as a resource for sermon preparation. Each unit is followed by two or three questions that could be used for a small group or personal study. Academic issues relating to the Greek text and disputes about interpretation are dealt with in extensive end notes."

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Your Guide to Understanding the Bible
Authors: Gordon Fee, Douglas Stuart
Published by: Zondervan

Covering everything from translational concerns to different genres of biblical writing, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth is used all around the world. In clear, simple language, it helps you accurately understand the different parts of the Bible—their meaning for ancient audiences and their implications for you today—so you can uncover the inexhaustible worth that is in God’s Word.  [more...]

A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture
Author: Michael Williams
Published by: Zondervan (2012)

From the book description:

"Many Christians today experience Bible teaching in isolated, unconnected pieces, receiving little or no guidance into how these pieces form a coherent picture in Christ. How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens presents Christ as the central focus of each biblical book and the primary way the Bible relates to contemporary circumstances. Each book of the Bible has an identifiable theme ultimately fulfilled in the person and work of Christ.

By demonstrating how each theme relates to living the Christian life, this book promises to be an invaluable guide for reading and understanding the Bible."

You can download a sample chapter here.  [more...]

Author: Brian Arensen
Published by: Evangelical Missions Quarterly, July 1995

We need to help our students switch their focus from their teachers to the Bible. We want them to be able to say with full confidence, “This is what the Bible teaches.”

How can we do that? It must begin with a major change of emphasis at our schools. We must teach our students how to think and not merely what to think. We must develop students’ confidence and skills to read, interpret, and apply the Bible for themselves.

In this article, Brian Arensen argues for the importance of teaching inductive Bible study methods in African theological colleges. He reports that after teaching and reinforcing inductive Bible study concepts, they have seen a significant difference in the way the students handle the Scriptures:  [more...]

Author: Paul Lawrence
Published by: Lion Hudson Plc (English edition)

A comprehensive Atlas of Bible History: in 192 large format pages there are 96 maps, 143 colour photographs, 7 panoramic illustrations and 16 site plans as well as substantial text that even non-specialists will appreciate. Among the best of its kind it would suit Bible students of all kinds, translators, researchers and readers with an interest in the history of the Near East.

Special features on subjects such as the peoples and languages of the Bible run through the book, which covers geography, landscape, climate, culture and religion.

As well as the English edition, it’s also translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Turkish, German, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, and Polish.

For information on accessing the French edition at a discount or other language editions contact cyberspaceplaceatyahoo [dot] co [dot] uk  [more...]

Author: Pauline Hoggarth
Published by: Lausanne Global Conversation

"Jesus loved metaphors and so did the Old Testament prophets. They knew their power to expand people’s limited imaginations or straighten out distorted understandings. They knew how metaphors enable people to glimpse another reality."

In this article, Pauline Hoggarth encourages us to mull over the metaphors we find in the epistle to the Ephesians: "When we think about the Bible’s powerful ability to expand our imagination, few of us have the New Testament letters in mind! We tend to forget their nature as human, pastoral documents. We receive them as theological treatises, flat text on the page, forgetting that they were listened to as ’performances’, probably recited from memory by the person bringing them, in front of their intended audience. In such performances, Paul’s metaphors were crucial for communicating key ideas that he wanted people to remember."  [more...]

Finding our place in the biblical story
Authors: Craig Bartholomew, Michael Goheen
Published by: Baker Academic, 2004 and SPCK, 2006

Many of us have read the Bible as if it was merely a mosaic of little bits - theological bits, moral bits, historical-critical bits, sermon bits, devotional bits, narrative bits. But to read the Bible in such a fragmented way is to ignore its divine author's intention to shape our lives through its story.

Published in association with the Bible Society in the UK, this book takes readers through the big story of Scripture in six acts:

  Act 1: God establishes his kingdom - Creation
  Act 2: Rebellion in the kingdom - Fall
  Act 3: The King chooses Israel - Redemption initiated
  Act 4: The Coming of the King - Redemption accomplished
  Act 5: Spreading the news of the King - The mission of the Church
  Act 6: The Return of the King - Redemption completed

Each chapter concludes with 'Questions to help us find our place in the story'. There are addtional discussion questions on the Bible Society website and additional resources on the authors' website.  [more...]