One of the main catalysts in the development of a missional reading of the Bible has been the annual gathering at the Society of Biblical Literature of the Gospel and Our Culture Network forum on missional hermeneutics.
This forum describes itself as exploring:
intersections of missiology, ecclesiology, and biblical interpretation, focusing on hermeneutical issues that arise in view of the Church’s missional character. In particular, presenters and participants at the Forum explore how faithful interpretation of Scripture needs to pay attention to a number of interlocking realities in the text: (1) the ways in which the biblical text renders the identity of the missio Dei, the God who is engaged in mission to the whole creation; (2) the ways in which the biblical text is shaped for the purpose of forming a people of God who are called to participate in God’s mission to the creation; (3) the ways in which the biblical text evokes and challenges a missionally located community’s interpretive readings and questions; (4) the ways in which the biblical text relates the received tradition to a particular context in light of the good news of the reign of God in Jesus Christ; and (5) the ways in which the biblical text discloses its fullest meaning only when read together with the culturally and socially ‘other.’
For this year’s forum the theme is ‘Reading Genesis 1-11 Missionally’. On this the forum states:
These foundational texts from Genesis disclose important truths about the nature of God and God’s mission to the world, and about the identity and vocation of the people of God, who are called to participate in this gracious mission. Proposals for papers are invited (in the form of one-page abstracts) which engage a specific passage or set of passages within Genesis 1-11—in view of the hermeneutical framework identified above—and which explore the extent to which such a missional approach to the biblical text illuminates important dimensions of the text.
It is great to see the forum tackling and OT text, especially one so foundational as Genesis 1-11. At Redliffe we have a 2nd year undergraduate module called, ‘Missional Texts: Psalms and Genesis 1-11’. I hope that the results of the forum will be published in one form or another so that we can benefit from reflections of this exciting group.