Understanding and using the Bible in different contexts

SPCK sent through a review copy today of a very interesting looking book called Understanding and Using the Bible, edited by Chris Wright and Jonathan Lamb (both of Langham Partnership International). It is part of the SPCK International Study Guide Series.

About the series, Rene Padilla comments:

‘To be relevant to life, theology must be contextual. The International Study Guides are a tremendous help to people. They broaden their concept of the mission of the Church and their Christian responsibility.’

The contributors to Understanding and Using the Bible represent a variety of cultural contexts including the UK, Latin America, South and South East Asia, and Africa. Here are the blurb and contents:

The Bible claims to be, and the Church confesses it to be, the word of God, but what does this mean? Understanding and Using the Bible encourages you to take the Bible seriously, whether you are a student, pastor, lay leader or just an ‘ordinary’ believer. Packed with wisdom and examples from around the world, this helpful book shows how the Bible is being used creatively to transform lives – and how simple techniques of Bible study and exploration can be employed across countries and cultures.

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.

Table of contents:

Part 1  Understanding the Bible
Introduction
1. Understanding the Bible as the word of God – Christopher J.H. Wright
2. Understanding the Bible as the words of human authors – Christopher J.H. Wright
3. Understanding the Bible as a whole – Christopher J.H. Wright
Selected reading

Part 2  Using the Bible
4. Using the Bible devotionally for life – Jonathan Lamb
5. Using the Bible in evangelism – Ajith Fernando
6. Using the Bible in groups – Catherine Padilla
7. Using the Bible in the context of Islam – Ida Glaser
8. Using the Bible in oral cultures – Steve Evans
9. Using the Bible with women – Emily Onyango
10. Using the Bible in the family as a guide for life – Anthony and King Lang Loke
11. Using the Bible in preaching – Jonathan Lamb

HippoBooks African Evangelical imprint

I received Langham Partnership‘s January Enews yesterday, which featured a book in a new Africa Bible Commentary series brought out by a new imprint, HippoBooks.

Here’s how HippoBooks describes its imprint…:

HippoBooks is a shared imprint among several publishers and partners. Together, our vision is to stimulate spiritual and intellectual growth in the African church by developing books by African Christian authors who address African realities from an evangelical perspective.

The imprint is comprised of a broad range of serious Christian and theological publications written especially for pastors, church leaders, and academics (theological students, teachers, and scholars). Titles in this imprint include Bible commentaries and new works in biblical studies, cultural studies, ethics, history, systematic theology, and more.

…and the commentary series:

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.

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.

The Langham Enews also linked to a review by Craig Blomberg of Samuel Ngewa’s commentary in this series on the Pastoral Epistles. Here’s an excerpt:

Affluent Westerners need to read this volume if only for the applications.  The most poignant of all for me came under 1 Tim. 5:18 (“workers  deserve  their wages”) when Ngewa described returning to Africa after graduate school and being told what his wife’s and his salaries would be by the Western mission agency that would be paying them.  When he explained about his extra needs due to resettling costs and having a baby, his request for a higher salary was denied because, as he explains, “any increase would make the gap between what we earned and the average pastor earned too large. . . .  The irony of the situation is that the person who declined our request was a missionary who was requesting more than our salaries combined to support each of his children! (p. 128)”

 Read the full review

Finally a quote from Chris Wright on the HippoBooks homepage:

“[It’s] time for the West to listen to the voice of the global Church.”