Ways of Engaging with Scripture

How not to write Bible study questions
Author: Richard Margetts

Article in English and French (2015).

As well as teaching the sorts of questions you should ask, it can also be helpful to highlight the sorts of questions you shouldn’t ask, i.e. what kinds of questions or series of questions can be unhelpful or uninteresting? What kinds of questions should I probably avoid if I want to encourage a good Bible study?

This article sprang from training local church leaders in preparing participatory Bible studies for small groups. It describes 15 types of questions to avoid when developing such studies, including:

  • questions that are repetitive or uninteresting;
  • questions that deviate significantly from the main point of the passage;
  • application questions too soon before participants have had the chance to really look at the text and understand it;
  • questions that jump around from one verse to another, without a clear progression towards the application;
  • application questions that have little relevance to the lives of the group members.
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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...]

The Art of Spiritual Reading
Author: Eugene Peterson
Published by: Eerdmans (US) and Hodder & Stoughton (UK), 2006

"I want to pull the Christian Scriptures back from the margins of the contemporary imagination where they have been so rudely elbowed by their glamorous competitors, and reestablish them at the center as the text for living the Christian life deeply and well."

Eugene Peterson encourages readers to feed on and live the Scriptures. He wants us to see the Bible as more than a book telling us how to think or behave. We must "eat this book"!

"Holy Scripture nurtures the holy community as food nurtures the human body. Christians don't simply learn or study or use Scripture; we assimilate it, take it into our lives in such a way that it gets metabolized into acts of love, cups of cold water, missions into all the world, healing and evangelism and justice in Jesus' name, hands raised in adoration of the Father, feet washed in company with the Son."

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Author: Dick Hohulin

A Bible study method which minimizes the spoon-fed approach and encourages the individual to learn for himself.

Dick Hohulin describes a devotional Bible study method which was used to great effect in the Philippines. It is simple and enables the student to easily comprehend the basic truths in the Scripture passage and to make a relevant personal application of the truths to his life. He lists the questions used and an example of their use with 2 Timothy 2.  [more...]