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"In Australia, frequent Bible reading is the practice of a small group (between 3% and 5%) of young people. This is predominantly a sub-group of those who are involved in Evangelical and Pentecostal churches and youth groups, and those who come from families which encourage the practice."
This 53-page report by the Christian Research Association in Australia presents an in depth survey of Bible engagement among 13-24 year olds. It includes statistics on regular Bible reading, attitudes of young people to the content of the Bible, barriers to Bible engagement, major influences on young people, as well as proposing the following recommendations:
- Focus on building youth groups and Bible study groups
- Develop materials for occasional readers and the curious
- Work with families in encouraging Bible engagement
- Explore relevant forms of communication and community for encouraging Bible engagement
"So my challenge to Christian leaders who are genuinely concerned about the decline in Bible reading is this: stop telling us we’re biblical ignoramuses, and start encouraging us to meet God in his Word. Because ultimately, true Bible engagement is real God engagement. And that’s our deepest need."
Whitney Kuniholm (Scripture Union) urges us to move beyond mourning Bible illiteracy - the increasing lack of Bible knowledge in our societies. Rather, he encourages us to call people to Bible engagement - meeting God in his Word and responding in obedience. [more...]
"Jesus loved metaphors and so did the Old Testament prophets. They knew their power to expand people’s limited imaginations or straighten out distorted understandings. They knew how metaphors enable people to glimpse another reality."
In this article, Pauline Hoggarth encourages us to mull over the metaphors we find in the epistle to the Ephesians: "When we think about the Bible’s powerful ability to expand our imagination, few of us have the New Testament letters in mind! We tend to forget their nature as human, pastoral documents. We receive them as theological treatises, flat text on the page, forgetting that they were listened to as ’performances’, probably recited from memory by the person bringing them, in front of their intended audience. In such performances, Paul’s metaphors were crucial for communicating key ideas that he wanted people to remember." [more...]
"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...]
"Bible poverty" is global and it is the result that occurs in any context or setting that blocks or hinders people from having access to the Scriptures in a language they understand well and engaging with them in ways that transform their lives.
This article considers barriers and bridges in response to three questions: (1) Why do the Scriptures not transform lives when they are available? (2) Why do more than one billion people not have the Scriptures in their language? (3) Why are the Scriptures that are available so often limited only to those that can read?
The paper is an overview of the Scripture in Mission topic to be discussed at the Lausanne Congress, Cape Town 2010. [more...]
"The Bible has yet to beat the perception of being a dusty old rule book among millennials largely because to substantiate relevance and garner interest, the text first must be read... The message of the Bible is unchanging, but how we deliver that message not only can change, but must."
Lamar Vest discusses some of the strategies the American Bible Society is using to encourage the millennial generation to engage with the Scriptures, including creative delivery methods and "new tools that put the user in the driver's seat of their Bible experience". [more...]
"Many people feel the Bible is irrelevant for the modern world and unfortunately the sermon can underline that perception in two ways. First if we preach the text but do not apply it to our context, we confirm people’s suspicions that the Bible has nothing to say today. On the other hand if we preach without allowing Scripture to set the core heartbeat of our message but instead rely on holding people’s attention through great story telling or multimedia clips – this again implies that we believe the Bible has nothing to say today."
Krish Kandiah (Evangelical Alliance UK) encourages preachers to adapt their sermons to model how to read the Bible, showing their listeners an appreciation for the Bible that can help increase biblical literacy. He argues that "raising the level of biblical literacy does not mean simply giving people more information about the Bible, or helping them find more time to read the Bible, but imparting skills that will help people enjoy the Bible in its depth and diversity, bridging the ancient text with our contemporary context and inspiring worship for its Author."
This article is part of the Lausanne Global Conversation on Scripture in Mission. [more...]
"Learning takes place when the activity is (1) receptor-oriented, (2) context-oriented, (3) repetitive, and (4) participatory… Indigenous music embraces all four of these learning components. Not only are the words in the people’s spoken language, but the music is also in their traditional music system."
Research shows that music is an effective tool for memorisation. Mary Saurman describes what is needed for effective instruction and shows how music meets many of these requirements: it is receptor-orientated, uses repetition, is participatory, and has intrinsic motivation because it is a part of people’s culture. She offers examples of how music has enhanced literacy programs across the world. Finally she outlines several steps to incorporating music into a literacy program: consider music’s function in the community; ask questions of when it’s used; what it’s used for and who uses it; then consider which song categories and styles are appropriate for literacy; and finally begin to use it! [more...]
"The occasion in Yali culture which became the natural opportunity for initial and continued transmission of Scripture — basically in the form of Bible stories — was in the evening hours which traditionally were given to nunung and dindil ale story telling. Here was a time when the community was used to gathering, and ready and eager to hear a new story."
This paper highlights some of the assumptions about Scripture that can limit or hinder its communication in an oral culture. The author examines orality (as opposed to non-literacy) with a view to demonstrating the capacity and capability of oral media (stories and songs) for the effective transmission of Scripture. [more...]
Lion Hudson has republished their set of 12 illustrated Bible information books. The series includes: People of the Bible, Life in Bible Times, Bible Facts and Figures, The Life of Jesus, The World of the Bible, Bible Atlas, The Jerusalem Temple, The Tabernacle, Old Testament Introduction, New Testament Introduction.
These books are really popular with translation teams. They would also be good in Bible schools and for those working with children and youth.
Special Offer: For those working with Bible agencies, get the complete set of 12 books for only £12 (British pounds), if you can arrange to collect them from the Wycliffe Bible Translators UK headquarters (Horsleys Green). Send your order to lionpublishing_uksil [dot] org with information on how you will pay and how you will get the books from Horsleys Green. [more...]