Understanding Scripture

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...]

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...]

A Bible Engagement Tool designed to assist people to grasp the big picture of Scripture; the story of the King and His Kingdom, and their place in it!
Author: Clayton Fergie (Scripture Union International)

"The pattern of a fundamentally fragmented and disconnected understanding of Scripture still remains a major issue for those within Christendom, in both the majority and minority world."

Timelining Scripture is an innovative, yet simple Bible engagement tool that helps people to grasp Scripture as the single great coherent story of God’s purposes for the world. It reinforces a strong notion of the Kingdom of God and is particularly useful for helping people to find themselves, their community and their cultural context as actors within the biblical story. It is adaptable across age and cultural contexts and is highly visual, interactive and flexible.  [more...]

Author: Pauline Hoggarth
Published by: Lausanne Global Conversation

"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...]

Illustrated information books exploring the life and history of Bible times.
Authors: Tim Dowley, Robert Backhouse, Mary Evans, Stephen Motyer, Robert Bewley
Published by: Lion Hudson Plc

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. Send your order to cyberspaceplaceatmailrapide [dot] com with information on how you will pay and how you will get the books.  [more...]

International Study Guide (ISG 41)
Authors: Jonathan Lamb, Chris Wright (editors)
Published by: SPCK Publishing

Publisher's Description:

The book is in two parts. Part One explores key Christian belief about the Bible and why it matters; encourages effective use and application of the Bible in different cultural and social contexts; teaches on right and wrong use of the Bible; models different possible ways of approaching and using the Bible with integrity; encourages readers to take the Bible as a whole and build a biblical worldview.

Part Two, Using the Bible, illustrates examples of applied Bible use in different contexts with contributions from a variety of authors.  [more...]

Author: Paul Lawrence
Published by: Lion Hudson Plc (English edition)

A comprehensive Atlas of Bible History: in 192 large format pages there are 96 maps, 143 colour photographs, 7 panoramic illustrations and 16 site plans as well as substantial text that even non-specialists will appreciate. Among the best of its kind it would suit Bible students of all kinds, translators, researchers and readers with an interest in the history of the Near East.

Special features on subjects such as the peoples and languages of the Bible run through the book, which covers geography, landscape, climate, culture and religion.

As well as the English edition, it’s also translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Turkish, German, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, and Polish.

For information on accessing the French edition at a discount or other language editions contact cyberspaceplaceatyahoo [dot] co [dot] uk  [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."

  [more...]
Author: Wayne Grudem
Published by: Themelios 34:3 (November 2009)

"A useful analogy... might be to picture the clarity of Scripture as a journey to a distant mountain that we see clearly from afar but see in more detail—and understand more of what we see—as we journey toward the mountain over many months and years. We can see it from the beginning of our Christian lives, and we truly see and understand something about it, but a lifetime of seeking deeper understanding will be repaid with a lifetime of growth in knowledge and wisdom."

In this article, Grudem provides a helpful overview of the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture - i.e. its clarity and understandability. He considers some of its implications such as inspiring confidence in proclaiming the Bible's message, encouraging personal Bible reading and small-group studies, Bible translation and teaching.  [more...]