“The Bible is alive – it has hands and grabs hold of me, it has feet and runs after me”. Thus spoke Martin Luther, as cited by Knud Jørgensen in a quotation that summarizes the deeper meaning of this book. To the authors of Bible in Mission, the Bible is the book of life, and mission is life in the Word. (from the Foreword)
Bible in Mission is a rich collection of essays from around the world on the theme of 'Bible and mission - mission in the Bible'. They come as a follow-up to the missiological discussions of Edinburgh 2010. A glance at the contents page should be enough to convince all involved in Scripture Engagement that this book, now available as a free PDF download, is a must-read.
The Bible as Text for Mission (Tim Carriker)
The Bible in Mission in the Islamic Context (Kenneth Thomas)
The Bible in Christian Mission among the Hindus (Lalsangkima Pachuau)
Children, Mission and the Bible: A Global Perspective (Wendy Strachan)
Bible Hermeneutics in Mission - A Western Protestant Perspective (Michael Kisskalt)
Orthodox Perspective on Bible and Mission (Simon Crisp)
'Ignorantia Scripturae ignorantia Christi est' (Thomas P. Osborne)
The UBS HIV Good Samaritan Program (David Hammond and Immanuel Kofi Agamah)
The Bible and the Poor (Gerald West)
The Bible and Care of Creation (Allison Howell)
Bible Missions in China (Pamela Wan-Yen Choo)
The Impact and Role of The Bible in Big Flowery Miao Community (Suee Yan Yu)
Bible Engagement among Australian Young People (Philip Hughes)
Bible Translation, the Quechua People and Protestant Church Growth in the Andes (Bill Mitchell)
The Bible in Mission: Women Facing the Word (Elsa Tamez)
Scripture Engagement and Living Life as a Message (Steve Bird)
Reading the Bible with Today's Jephthahs: Scripture and Mission at Tierra Nueva (Bob Ekblad)
Lessons Learned from the REVEAL Spiritual Life Survey (Nancy Scammacca Lewis)
Glazed Eyes and Disbelief (Adrian Blenkinsop and Naomi Swindon)
Information Management and Delivery of the Bible (Paul Soukup)
In this detailed 17-page workshop guide from the Ndop region of North West Cameroon, Jennifer Wright describes how participants were taken on an interactive journey through the Old Testament:
The Bible Overview Workshop is a two day workshop for leaders of church groups, such as listening group leaders and Sunday School teachers, with the aim of giving a basic knowledge of the overall Bible story and particularly aspects of the Old Testament which are important for understanding the New Testament.
We had trained people to be listening group leaders and children’s leaders, and they were generally doing well, however we realised that due to limited knowledge of the Old Testament, some were finding it challenging to lead their group because they were not prepared for the kind of questions that could come up unexpectedly when listening to or reading the New Testament – for example about the priests, the sacrificial system, the Passover feast, etc. Although they knew a lot of Bible stories, many did not have a very clear idea of what order they come in and how it all fits together.
Geography: We had a simple map of the Ancient Near East on the wall and the whole room was set up to match the map. The participants moved around the room as they engaged with the material so they gained an understanding of the layout of the places we were talking about and the movements of the people of Israel, from Abraham’s first journey to Canaan to the return from Exile.
Timeline: Each participant received a blank timeline at the beginning of the course, and there was a large version of it on the wall. As we went through the material, we completed the timeline on the wall and the participants completed their own timelines to match it so they could take it home with them.
Telling Bible Stories together: We selected a set of stories to give a coherent summary of the Old Testament. Some stories which were well known to the participants were covered very briefly by letting them summarise them or in some cases act them out. Other stories were narrated or read from the Bible.
Questions: For several key passages, we asked questions based on the text in order to encourage discussion and bring out key points, especially when they would be referred to later. We also gave space for participants to ask questions.
Discussion topics – e.g. we finished the first day by making a large model Tabernacle (out of people, benches, a sheet, cardboard boxes, etc.) and then having a discussion of sacrifices, comparing the Old Testament sacrificial system to the local village’s sacrificial system.
What excites us most is that people who have never before led a Bible study are now having regular studies in their homes.
This article relates how Bible study cassettes on Genesis 1-11 and James have had a big impact on the Central Bontoc people of the Philippines. It outlines the format of the Bible studies and the ways they have been used both within churches and in evangelism, and how they support the development of literacy. [more...]
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...]
Fuller Graduate Schools, School of Intercultural Studies Doctor of Intercultural Studies dissertation (2012)
This dissertation explores the missiological opportunities, challenges and implications of growing multilingualism among people who are fluent in two or more languages. I look at the cognitive value of language and how languages shape people’s world views. World views influence peoples’ perceptions and way of processing and understand information. People’s beliefs are reflected in their character and relationships in the community. Christians want to promote positive community relations in order for people to participate in the mission of God within their community.
I survey relevant literature on the role of language and its value, how language fits the plan of God, and its place in His mission to different peoples. I then survey current trends of language use and growing multilingualism, and the language practices within Kenya. I therefore focus on research factors behind language choice and use.
Methodologically, I use focus groups, participant observation, and personal interviews in four different socio-linguistic contexts in four different Christian denominations. I thematically analyse and code the data to establish my findings. The findings point to the factors that influence language choice.
Factors that determine choice of language go beyond the level of fluency in reading, speaking or understanding. These factors involve attitudes that go very deep in both positive and negative ways. Additionally, people’s language choices are influenced by other social factors. The factors include desire to communicate, social cultural pressure, economic advancement, political correctness, reading materials availability, leadership perception on language, institutional policy, religious values and proficiency in any given language. These factors were consistently displayed in all four research locations enabling me to demonstrate reliability of the data and validity of the findings.
Understanding how these factors influence people will assist Christians who desire to become good witnesses. To be witnesses, people need to be empowered. For purpose of language choice, all languages should be viewed as being appropriate for ministry. Language is a platform for effective participant contextualisation among the people of God. Through their actions and pronouncements people are able to utilize the multilingual environment of Kenya to better engage in mission and spread God’s Word.
-- for more information about this dissertation, please contact the author at john_ommanisil [dot] org [more...]
Faith Comes By Hearing is committed to reaching the nations with the Word of God in audio. Their strategy includes setting up listening groups which meet weekly to listen to the Scriptures in the local language. In 40 weeks such groups can hear the whole New Testament from start to finish. This is done with the help of the solar-powered Proclaimer audio player. [more...]
MA dissertation: All Nations, UK (2013)
The coming of the New Testament in 2006 heralded a new era of Scripture engagement for the Minyanka people of Mali. This paper evaluates the factors that have facilitated and hindered the process of interacting with God’s Word. It includes an examination of the role of Bible understanding, literacy and methods of oral communication as well as the relationship between the Bible agency and the local churches.
The research takes an exploratory approach in which a review of existing literature and initial interviews helped to formulate a research questionnaire which was carried out in Minyanka churches. The results of the survey became the subject of discussion in follow-up interviews with Malian Bible translators, pastors and expatriate colleagues in order to interpret the data. This was combined with documentary research into Scripture engagement in the history of the Minyanka church and in reports of recent activities.
The testimonies of change and transformation demonstrate that the translated Scriptures are making a difference. Scripture engagement is taking place as people read their New Testaments, listen to the audio Scriptures and tune into Minyanka radio programmes.
But this paper also shows that there is no room for complacency. There is an urgent call for basic Bible teaching and ongoing literacy classes. Pastors have an especially important role to play and need to be given encouragement, time, resources and training to more effectively facilitate Scripture engagement. Their choice of communication methods and their availability to answer questions from the Bible has a considerable influence on the way people interact with the Scriptures.
Spiritual transformation is a desired outcome of Scripture engagement, but it is not necessarily immediate and certainly not automatic. As Bible agencies have learnt in the West, it is possible to have access to Scripture and some of the best resources and programmes, but fail to be changed by God’s Word. In this sense, Minyanka Christians are no different from Christians anywhere else in the world, facing the challenge of making Scripture engagement a priority amid the many distractions in life.
Pastors who have studied in a language other than their mother tongue can have difficulty using the local language Scriptures. When they preach, they sometimes borrow words from the language in which they studied, rather than thinking about the word that will communicate best in their local language.
For this reason Bible Institutes, seminaries and churches should encourage those who study the Bible to use the translation in their own language and investigate how important terms were translated.
On completing this 43 lesson course, a speaker with the Scriptures in their own language will be able to:
- identify how key terms in their language are translated;
- use the terms when they teach or preach;
- better understand the doctrine based on or related to the key term;
- attach greater value to the Scriptures in their language since they know that there are appropriate ways to communicate key terms in their own language and that it may change according to the context;
- use the Scriptures with more confidence and motivate other people in their ethnic group to do so.
The course is also available in Spanish and Portuguese. [more...]
The pastor will find that not only can his congregation read the Scriptures in their own language, but they will show a greater depth of understanding God’s Word and show growth in their Christian lives.
Community literacy projects have been running in Ghana since the 1970s. Pastors, however, were not using the mother-tongue Scriptures in their churches. To address this problem, Pat Herbert describes how they developed Scripture Guides to accompany literacy primers. The program is now known as Literacy for Life (LFL). The article includes a sample of a Scripture Guide lesson, and discusses various issues, including training of teachers to use the materials, making it a church-based program, and funding for the primers and Scripture Guides. It compares the normal literacy programs to the LFL program and describes the impact the program has had. [more...]
"Pastors have taken on the 'lecture' method to display the 'big man' syndrome which does not allow the people to engage. They are expected to sit and listen and remain silent. They feel this is how the church has to operate. The pastor simply tells them what the Bible says and what they need to do. They are not able to live out what they are told because they still have unanswered questions."
The model of the pastor as 'big man' who knows it all means that people have to sit and listen, and often this does not lead to engagement with Scripture in life-transforming ways. In many traditional cultures, leaders taught through stories, questions, and riddles, allowing people to interact and discover. Can pastors today learn to use discovery methods in the church that allow people to interact with Scripture and discover lessons for themselves? This article says yes, with field experience from Africa to demonstrate it. [more...]