Advocacy for SE
All approaches to interpreting the Bible are culture bound, including the systematic theologies of modernity. The Church needs to be open to new ways of reading the Bible and should encourage people to interpret texts for themselves by adopting a more interactive approach to preaching. A divinely inspired text must be capable of speaking into postmodernity just as effectively as it has done in the past. The Church should embrace the openness of non-churchgoers to the Bible's wisdom, moral values and powerful prose while attempting to communicate that the text is more dynamic, surprising, challenging and relevant than society assumes.
This paper explores attitudes to the Bible among non-churchgoers in the UK. It focuses on a case study of young professionals, examining their familiarity with the Bible and their opinions of it. It evaluates the ways in which the Church attempts to raise awareness of the Bible and asks how culturally relevant these approaches are to the people represented in the case study. [more...]
"Read the Bible for Life aims to improve biblical literacy in the culture and the church by simultaneously moving readers toward greater skill in reading the Bible well and toward a deeper commitment to applying Scripture to everyday life."
The Read the Bible for Life initiative seeks to accomplish two things foundationally:
"1. We want to help people learn to read the parts of Scripture well, so they know how to engage a psalm, or an Old Testament story, or a parable, applying the word in specific, life-changing ways. 2. We want to help people understand how the grand story of the Bible fits together, so they can understand their place in that grand story that God has written on the world."
On the initiative's website you'll find videos, podcasts, blog posts, as well as details of the book "Read the Bible for Life" by George Guthrie (Union University). [more...]
"There is clear confusion among Christians about why they should read the Bible. For many, who have lived a Christian life without much engagement with the Bible, there is no perceived need to engage with it."
This paper, fruit of the recent WWSE Think Tank, seeks to engage with the 'Bible Engagement Crisis' in contexts where Bible availability is high but Bible use is relatively low. The focus is on the emerging generation who are less likely to use the Bible than the generations before them, especially using traditional methods.
After presenting the challenge, Stephen Opie outlines some of the strategic themes emerging, such as:
- establishing relevance by listening first;
- embracing technology, especially the Internet;
- identifying grassroots movements and helping them to grow.
Taylor University (a Christian university in Indiana, USA) has created a Center for Scripture Engagement.
The reasons given are: (1) because Scripture Engagement is on the cutting edge of evangelism, (2) because engaging with Scripture is the catalyst for transformational discipleship and (3) because a new vision of the power of Scripture is urgently needed.
The Center defines "Scripture engagement" as follows:
Scripture engagement is interaction with the biblical text in a way that provides sufficient opportunity for the text to speak for itself by the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling readers and listeners to hear the voice of God and discover for themselves the unique claim Jesus Christ is making upon them.
On the website, you can view findings from The Christian Identity & Scripture Engagement research project, where 592 university students were surveyed in 2011 on aspects of their Christian lives, including the spiritual disciplines and the role of the Bible. [more...]
"The greatest difficulty is no longer distribution, but appropriating the content of the Bible... There is a need to teach believers to meditate and, as in any learning process, you have to give regular booster injections if you want people to continue. We have often rambled on about the Bible, in sermons and Bible studies, but have we truly helped Christians to engage with the Bible in their day-to-day living?"
In this article, Henri Bacher describes some of the reasons for the erosion of Bible practice in the church and in believers' lives. Rather than starting with communication techniques, his suggested solutions major on the value of community. The idea is to encourage group interaction, networking and mutual encouragement, helping others to enter into regular, personal meditation. [more...]
The Catholic Biblical Federation (CBF) is a worldwide fellowship
of international, national and local institutions engaged in the
field of biblical pastoral ministry, biblical studies and Bible translation.
Besides translation of the Bible into local languages, the primary task of the Catholic Biblical Federation resides in the effort to translate the biblical message into the personal and communal contexts of human beings' lives. [more...]
The listing of these Eight Conditions or eight categories of factors used as a tool for evaluation can prevent surprises and help the church, missionaries, and Bible translators alike to focus on those activities that are likely to have maximum impact. It’s the great longing of my heart that the people groups of the world will not only have the Scriptures in their heart language, but that the Scriptures will have greatest spiritual effect.
Wayne Dye presents eight conditions affecting the use or non-use of the translated Scriptures:
- Appropriate Language, Dialect and Orthography
- Appropriate Translation
- Accessible Forms of Scripture
- Background Knowledge of the Hearer
- Spiritual Hunger of Community Members
- Freedom to Commit to Christian Faith
- Partnership Between Translators and Other Stakeholders
The Seed and the Soil explores the power of the Bible that brings about God’s transforming and liberating purposes, as well as its power as an often oppressively misused text. Characterised by a wide variety of storytelling, this book is accessible to all that read it.
Available: May 2011
The Seed and the Soil is available for pre-order. [more...]
Common factors emerge that affect Scripture use: level of literacy, prestige of the language, and attitude of church leaders.
A wide variety of reasons account for published Scriptures not being used. They include a lack of literacy, a language that is dying or has low status, a translation rejected by church leaders, an inappropriate published format, a lack of distribution, a lack of contextualization when using Scriptures, and others. A summary of the conditions necessary for seeing Scripture used is also offered. [more...]
"Ce manuel est un guide efficace pour une bonne préparation à l'étude biblique, à la méditation, à la prédication intégrant les réalitiés culturelles de chaque peuple."