Research Results

A study of meditative engagement with selected psalms amongst Edinburgh students
Author: Fergus Macdonald
Published by: University of Edinburgh, 2008

"...the creative engagement between respondents and text results from respondents discovering that the psalms resonate with their idealism and basic human needs in ways that facilitate their ongoing spiritual quest for meaning and enlightenment, as well as providing an opportunity to confront God with complaints and dilemmas."

This study is the account of an empirical research programme in practical theology exploring the potential of the Book of Psalms to facilitate the spiritual journey of a sample of University of Edinburgh students aged between twenty and thirty who are on or beyond the fringes of the churches. Drawing upon some insights of the Bible Society movement regarding ‘scripture engagement,’ and in the wider context of increasing interest in spirituality and decreasing confidence in the churches among many westernised young adults, the project seeks to answer two research questions.  [more...]

The Impact of Mother Tongue Scriptures from 1989-2011
Author: Asewie, Bernard Amadu

MTh Thesis, South African Theological Seminary (2013)

The major finding of the research is that the proclamation of the Gospel in the mother tongue of the people has made significant strides in the growth of Christianity among the Nchumuru people. However the Gospel proclamation among the Nchumuru often produces different responses ranging from full embrace to partial embrace as well as conflictual or negative embrace depending on how the Gospel is proclaimed and how the people understand it.

Abstract:

This thesis, Towards a Model of Contextualising Christianity in the Nchumuru Culture in Ghana: The impact of mother tongue Scriptures from 1989-2011, is a study on the impact of mother tongue Scriptures on culture and also the engagement of the Gospel with the culture of the Nchumuru people of Northern and Volta Regions of Ghana. It examines the coming of Christianity to the people and the patterns of evangelisation among the Nchumuru with special reference to the medium used in the proclamation of the Gospel. It also addresses the issue of the birth of a Bible Translation ministry among the people and the subsequent birth of the Bible into that culture and how the Nchumuru have responded to the proclamation of the Gospel as well as the impact it has had on the lives of the Nchumuru.

The writer contends that despite the challenges, indigenous Nchumuru Christianity is possible through the recognition of traditional or cultural categories as significant preparation for the reception of the Gospel. In this way the Christian faith can be articulated in the Nchumuru cultural context with the use of its thought forms and patterns in a relevant worship of God.

The major finding of the research is that the proclamation of the Gospel in the mother tongue of the people has made significant strides in the growth of Christianity among the Nchumuru people. However the Gospel proclamation among the Nchumuru often produces different responses ranging from full embrace to partial embrace as well as conflictual or negative embrace depending on how the Gospel is proclaimed and how the people understand it. There is the need for the people to perceive and respond to the Gospel in ways that are meaningful to their own understanding and experience. The significance of the impact of the mother tongue Scriptures in contextualising Christianity in the Nchumuru culture and its contribution in the evangelistic task of the church is therefore very crucial.  [more...]

Author: Bettina Gottschlich
Published by: Fuller Theological Seminary, Doctor of Intercultural Studies dissertation (2012)

Abstract:
This dissertation contributes to the missiological conversation on transformational Scripture engagement. Translation into the mother–tongue and good distribution by themselves are insufficient to enable multi–lingual Budu believers of Congo–Kinshasa translate the Bible into action and changed lives. Literature surveyed on Scripture engagement, biblical theology of mission and contextualization revealed that effectiveness seems to be handicapped by the lack of connecting and integrating the people’s story in its wider historical context into God’s story, as presented in the totality of Scripture and understood through relevant themes and motifs. In light of a history of a largely non–contextualized gospel, the model of biblical theology in context including creative solutions to language in a multilingual environment could offer a way forward.

This qualitative research identifies and documents Scripture resources that enable life–transforming Scripture engagement among Budu believers from their point of view. It further identifies measurable indicators that determine what constitutes verifiably effective engagement. The research methodology consisted of qualitative methods to collect and grounded theory to analyze the data from 36 interviews and 36 focus groups, participant observation and document research, representing the whole of the Budu region and its church leadership. The findings revealed the emic view that I classify in two key themes of “People” as Scripture resources and “Ministry” Scripture resources.

The data collected is used to develop a change strategy together with Budu leadership to enable Budu believers encounter God’s Word in life–transforming ways using context–appropriate Scripture resources. My recommendations call for two important changes: (1) altering our comprehension of what constitutes a Scripture resource; (2) using this knowledge to enable Budu believers complete God’s story in a way that it becomes “readable” through the messengers individually and communally and communicated through appropriated means of communication. I specifically address the issue of leaders as promoters of transformation in the largely but not only communal and oral context of African believers. As these leaders find their place within God’s story, and become “living Scripture resources”, credible conveyers of the Word of God, they will be able to lead others towards life–transforming engagement with Scripture.

-- For information about this dissertation, please contact Bettina Gottschlich at bettinagottschlichatgmail [dot] com  [more...]

Author: Katherine O’Donnell

MA dissertation: Bible & Mission, Redcliffe College (2013)

Abstract:

This study examines both what Tanzanian Christians think about the Bible and the way they engage with it, through a review of the literature on Bible use in Africa and primary research in the Mbeya-Iringa Cluster Project of SIL International. Data was gathered through a mixed method approach using questionnaires (with respondents selected through purposive sampling across four language areas) and a group interview (with the Literacy/Scripture Use Coordinators who administered the questionnaires).

The research revealed that Tanzanians commonly see the Bible as the Word of God, though what they mean by this is less clear. Preaching, prayer meetings, Bible seminars and songs were most commonly ranked as very important for growing in faith. Further, respondents most frequently engaged with the Bible by reading or listening to it at church (80%), reading alone (55%), singing (47%) or praying (45%). There was a clear discrepancy between their level of Bible engagement and the importance they ascribed to it. Only 63% owned a complete Swahili Bible, while far fewer used mother-tongue Scriptures. Most people seemed to interpret the Bible simply and directly, but not always contextually or accurately, and saw the Bible’s central message as being one of judgement, sin or salvation. Variations were sometimes found between genders, denominations and language areas.

Amongst other things, the findings suggest that Scripture Engagement workers should use methods appropriate for oral and communal societies, provide training for pastors and lay Christians in hermeneutics and other Bible engagement tools and facilitate the distribution of Christian literature.  [more...]

Viability, reproducibility, and long term results
Author: Gregory Fisher

"We wanted the research to address fairly both the positive impact and the challenges facing the FCBH program... This research took a brutally honest look at our own program, and found factual evidence to support our contention that audio scriptures are a valuable tool for use in making disciples in oral cultures."

Greg Fisher is the Regional Manager for Africa for Hosanna/Faith Comes By Hearing. In this 43-page ebook, he describes the methodology and results of a recent research project looking into the FCBH listening group programmes in Africa.

He asks: "What use had the end user made of the FCBH program? We knew what had been introduced into the field through our trainers, but, how had the program actually been used? In what interesting ways was it contextualized in different areas of Africa? What long term impacts would the end users of the program report to our researchers? We knew the long term impacts we hoped to see; however, we wanted to know the impacts the end user reported to help us to measure impacts hoped for against actual impacts seen."

The ebook is available as a download from Smashwords.  [more...]