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It's not enough to translate the Bible; it's not enough to distribute the Bible. Our desire is to see real Scripture Engagement: people encountering God's Word in life-changing ways. On this site you'll find news, events and resources for those encouraging Scripture use and Bible engagement around the world.
An interactive journey through the Old Testament
Author: Jennifer Wright
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.
Author: Margaret Hill
Today we are in a very different position from when Bible agencies and churches first started running literacy classes. There are alternatives! We now have many methods of producing, distributing and copying oral Scriptures of many different types. In almost every case where a literacy programme is going nowhere, people will accept oral Scriptures and listen to them.
Several years ago, Margaret Hill wrote an article provocatively titled "How Literacy can Harm Scripture Use". Her thesis was that too many literacy programmes were starting with classes for beginners rather than focusing on transition literacy for the leaders and change agents in society. Such an approach, she argued, is harmful to Scripture engagement.
This article is a follow-up, emphasising the same message and going further to take into account the observation that "increasingly here in Africa we are seeing that many language groups are very interested in using their languages orally, but very uninterested in reading or writing in them".
Rather than "hitting your head against a wall" with struggling literacy programmes, the author calls for a refocusing of strategies and reminds us that audio Scriptures often work very well in such contexts.
Listening to the translated Scriptures: a review of today’s digital audio players
Author: Richard Margetts
Third Edition - Revised for 2014
This in-depth review (46 pages) compares a range of today's digital audio players including the Proclaimer and Mini-Proclaimer (from Faith Comes By Hearing), the Envoy S and Story Teller (from MegaVoice), the Saber (from Global Recordings Network), the Papyrus (from Renew World Outreach) and the Audibible (from Davar Partners International).
The review is presented in several sections, illustrated with photos and giving a summary of the key features, prices, pros and cons of each player. Also mentioned are feature phones, smartphones and locally available MP3 players.
The first edition of the document was published in 2008 and compared the Proclaimer, MegaVoice Ambassador and Saber. In the past six years we have seen:
- New entrants to the digital audio player world: the Papyrus, the Audibible, the Story Teller, Mini Proclaimer, the Herald and the Shofar.
- Significant development of existing players: The MegaVoice Ambassadors were retired and replaced by the Envoy. A solar-powered version of the Talking Bible is available, as is a new version of the Proclaimer. More internal memory was added to the Papyrus.
- New battery technology: Most players now use newer Lithium Ion Polymer or Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries rather than the NiMH type.
- Digital file sharing: Almost gone are the days of cassette tape. In most countries of the world, people are interacting with digital media and are increasingly familiar with memory cards and MP3 files.
- Mobile phones: The incredible growth in mobile phone ownership and use over the past six years means that most of the world’s population now have their own personal audio player.
Download the full report as a PDF document.
Published in Global Missiology, January 2014
Authors: T Wayne Dye, Tim Hatcher
"The worldwide spread of cell phones that can show video will enable us to bring the Scriptures into the lives of more people more effectively than ever before. Whatever the challenges, let us not miss this opportunity."
Video renditions of Bible portions are popular wherever people can even partially understand the language in which they are available. The authors of this article believe that video drama of Bible portions will quickly move from being a minor niche in Scripture distribution to a major, even central form of Scriptures for people in most language groups. They argue that because of the significant and growing influence of video Scripture portions, this medium merits much more attention than it has received in the past.
This paper focuses on the prospect for video to address a number of challenges to understanding typically addressed by paratextual elements. Video forms of key passages provide essential supplements. Short videos of selected Scripture passages can provide extensive background information more efficiently and often more effectively than traditional paratextual delivery systems. The potential for video to provide necessary historical and cultural context can be better realized through cooperation between exegetes, artists, and Scripture engagement personnel. Together, they can identify which Scripture passages could benefit most from video supplementation in particular cultural groupings.