Ways of Engaging with Scripture

Preaching the Old Testament today
Authors: Grenville J R Kent, Paul J Kissling, Laurence A Turner (Editors)
Published by: IVP UK (2010)

"Contemporary people too can find their hearts burning as they hear God speak through the Old Testament texts. However, preaching from this part of the Christian Bible brings significant challenges and raises a number of issues, and hence can be neglected."

This volume offers guidance for expository preaching from the Old Testament, and practical suggestions for how to understand the message of its diverse literature and to apply it today. The chapters cover narrative, plot and characters, along with the main Old Testament genres and two special topics: preaching from 'difficult' texts, and preaching Christ.

"The aim is to encourage use of all the Bible's rich resources, in the power of the Holy Spirit, in preaching the good news of the kingdom of God worldwide."  [more...]

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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Stories of Trauma and Healing
Published by: American Bible Society, 2014

Hope Rising documents transformed lives of trauma survivors who have found hope and healing through the Bible’s message of forgiveness and restoration.

"...people here and around the world suffering from the aftermath of trauma could never connect with the Bible in their current state. Without addressing the issue of trauma then much of the rest of the work of providing the Bible is in vain."

Around the world, 1 in 7 people have experienced the pain and horror of a traumatic event. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country with the highest rate of sexual violence in the world, the rate of trauma is much higher. Trauma is a barrier to engaging with the Bible.

On the American Bible Society's Hope Rising website (HopeRising.tv) you can find the full and shortened versions of the documentary, together with a Bible study guide, sermon topics and discussion resources for churches.  [more...]

Communicating effectively to non-readers
Author: Rick Brown
Published by: International Journal of Frontier Missions (21.4 Winter 2004)

In seeking to free ourselves from the biases of a print-oriented culture, we need to consider, not only the kinds of media and discourse genre (e.g. narrative) that are most appropriate for oral cultures, but also the most effective ways to use those genres and media. What do non-readers like to see and hear? What do they enjoy listening to? Their choices will not necessarily be the same as those of print communicators. If the styles of presentation are ones which oral communicators prefer, then they will be more likely to listen, to understand, and to remember what they hear.

In this paper, Rick Brown argues that oral cultures have their own preferences for ways to communicate truth, and that these are often different from what print-oriented people prefer. In order to share the message most effectively, we need to find out what media and methods work best for them. In most cases this will include a multi-media approach with an emphasis on memorizing the Scriptures with the aid of high-quality recordings from skilled actors or voicers.  [more...]

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...]

Leading Bible-Oriented Small Groups that Thrive
Author: Orlando Saer
Published by: Christian Focus, 2010

"Orlando Saer's Iron Sharpens Iron may well become the "Bible" for small group studies--as the author's six finely wrought chapters cover virtually everything essential to initiating and maintaining healthy small group Bible studies. There is nothing arm-chair here... Saer writes from ground-level, providing us with hard-won advice that is unexceptionably biblical, intensely practical and ever-so-wise. (from a review by R. Kent Hughes)"

Orlando Saer provides a practical guide for anyone leading or wanting to lead a small Bible-study group.  [more...]