Ways of Engaging with Scripture

The contextual approach, from the Willowbank Report
Published by: The Lausanne Movement (1978)

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.

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Author: Ron Forseth
Published by: SermonCentral.com

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...]

Published by: Uncover the Word

These 5 bookmarks are free to download and contain easy to follow directions for five Scripture Engagement methods:

Lectio Divina
Reading, Meditation, Prayer, Contemplation, Action

S.O.A.P. Method
Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer

Ignatian Method
Prepare, Picture, Ponder, Pray, Practice

The PR3 Method
Pray, Read, Reflect, Respond

Inductive Bible Study
Pray, Observation, Interpretation, Application  [more...]

Author: Fr. Luke Dysinger
Published by: Valyermo Benedictine

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...]

A One-Volume Commentary Written by 70 African Scholars
Published by: Zondervan, 2006

The Africa Bible Commentary is the first one-volume Bible commentary produced in Africa by African theologians to meet the needs of African pastors, students, and lay leaders. Interpreting and applying the Bible in the light of African culture and realities, it furnishes powerful and relevant insights into the biblical text that transcend Africa in their significance.

Also available in French, entitled Commentaire Biblique Contemporain.  [more...]

Common Pitfalls in Reading Scripture
Authors: Bob Ekblad, Kris Rocke

"Our tendency is to “tame” Scripture and make it safe. While we desire to encounter Scripture on its own terms and allow it to speak its liberating word in into our lives, very often we (consciously or unconsciously) work to control it. Because of our fears (real or imagined) we “de-claw” it and domesticate it."

How can we read Scripture in ways that prevent us from encountering God in his Word? This article describes some common pitfalls: hyper-personalism, domestification, reductionism, isolationism, heroism, moralism and dualism. They are best demonstrated when a group practices reading the Scriptures in ways that make these barriers clear AND when they offer fresh readings that demonstrate alternatives.  [more...]

Preparing and presenting Bible stories for evangelism, discipleship, training and ministry
Author: J. O. Terry
Published by: Church Starting Network, 2008

Bible Storying is the intentional and uninterrupted sharing of God's Word primarily as stories. These stories are usually supplemented with culturally appropriate learning exercises that are listener sensitive. The stories may be told as part of a strategy of telling many stories leading to an invitation to believe, or may be only a few stories during an evangelistic encounter or a ministry opportunity.

This book is a manual for those wanting to get into Bible storying, including chapters on topics like: rationale for Bible storying, considering worldview, choosing Bible stories, crafting Bible stories for telling, pre-story dialog time, post-story dialog time.

The author describes the many options for presenting a Bible story and describes a model storying session.  [more...]