In order to understand God’s Word we need to understand God’s mission.

In order to understand God’s mission we need to understand God’s Word.

In this series of posts I have been setting out our approach to teaching the Bible from a missional perspective here at Redcliffe College.

In today’s post I’ll talk about the final year of the degree. As well as a placement and a personal development report, in their final year of the degree students must take four modules from the following list and also submit a dissertation. 

  • Story, song and social networks: Bible engagement and oral culture
  • Missional texts: Isaiah
  • The Christian encounters with postmodernism and globalisation
  • Global philosophies and theologies of religion
  • The Kingdom of God: mission on the edge
  • Just mission: Justice and transformation in a complex world
  • Between the global and the local: missional theologies in context
  • The art of Christian Soulcare and companionship
  • Leadership, leaders and the global context
  • Communicating Christ to a complex world II

The two main ‘Bible’ modules are Story, Song and Social Networks’ and ‘Missional Texts: Isaiah’. (The Kingdom of God has loads of biblical material in it as well, especially from the NT).

The Isaiah module aims to equip students with a more in-depth understanding of the content of Isaiah and engage with a number of important issues concerning the book’s background, theology, interpretation and significance for the thinking and practice of mission. It covers: The function of the book of Isaiah as part of a missional reading of the Bible; Prophets and prophecy in Israel and the Ancient Near East; Key issues in understanding and interpreting Isaiah, including historical and cultural contexts, genre, structure, intertextuality, literary features and theological themes; Case-studies in exegeting passages from Isaiah; The contemporary application of Isaiah, especially in relation to the thinking and practice of mission.

Story, Song and Social Networks aims to equip students with an understanding of the thinking and practice of communicating the Bible to individuals and communities of oral learners in a variety of cultural contexts. It covers: The nature of orality and the challenges and opportunities of engaging oral learners with the Bible; The increasing use of Bible storying, song and other creative approaches in Bible Engagement; Case studies in Bible Engagement (sometimes called Scripture Engagement or Scripture Use) in a variety of contexts (both traditional oral cultures and in cultures where people prefer to engage with information in more creative ways than reading books); The role of web-based social networks in Bible Engagement.

So, students get to grips with both mission in the Bible and the Bible in mission. By this stage of their training it is vital that they are thinking not only about the richness and complexities of the content of the Word of God. They should also be thinking through the richness and complexities of communicating that Word to others. Orality seems to be a very helpful angle for this because it is so central a part of how most of the world communicates; the Cape Town Commitment did a good job of highlighting this. Indeed, in the CTC they call on colleges ‘to provide curricula that will train pastors and missionaries in oral methodologies.’ For more on this see this post.

Next in the series I will look at the MA in Bible and Mission.

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