Bible and mission blogs

Every Tongue blogLately, we’ve been developing the Bible and Mission resources section of the microsite. Last week Wycliffe Bible Translators’ Eddie Arthur suggested that this section would “keep anyone in reading material for the next decade or two.” We are working on it Eddie!!
Here are some blogs we’ve come across that have dealt in some way with the themes of the Bible and mission, and missional hermeneutics. Let us know if there are more:
Realmeal ministries – Brian Russell; nb. missional hermeneutics page and tags here and here
Kouya Chronicle – Eddie Arthur
Cross Talk – Michael Gorman; nb. missional hermeneutic tag
Everytongue – Mark Woodward; nb. missional hermeneutics tag
Billington’s blog – Antony Billington; nb. missional hermeneutics tag

As we continue to build up the resources section, please let us know how it can best serve you in your Bible and mission thinking and practice.

Eddie Arthur on The Radical Result of Bible Translation

Words for Life - Summer 2011 issueWords for Life is Wycliffe Bible Translators’ regular magazine. In the Summer 2011 issue Eddie Arthur tackles the subject of  ‘The Radical Result of Bible Translation’. In a short but insightful article he somehow manages to address a whole range of issues, including: the scary nature of giving someone a Bible; mission and coercion; the Bible and politics; language development and dignity; marginalisation, empowerment and identity.

Here’s some of the text of the article to give you a flavour. You can view the whole thing here: Words for Life – Summer 2011

Far from destroying dignity and oppressing them, Bible translation and language development work helps to give people a new sense of their value before God and amongst the nations. Bilingual education programmes give people a sense of value for their own languages and culture while providing them with a bridge to the wider world through the use of national and international languages. For many marginalised groups, who may well be ignored by their national governments, a language and translation programme may represent the only hope for education and development in their area. The work of Wycliffe Bible Translators and its partner organisations isn’t some sort of luxury; it is a vital part of bringing education, development and a sense of identity to some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people.

It is hard for English speakers to understand what it is like to belong to a people group whose language is continually ignored or discriminated against, or to have a language so obscure that even God doesn’t seem to speak it.

Eddie has much more to say on these and other important topics, as our MA in Bible and Mission students discover when he comes to Redcliffe to teach half of the module, ‘Bible Engagement in Intercultural Contexts’.

Check out his blog as well.

Why read the Bible with the global church?

Reading the Bible with the Global ChurchOn 30 March Eddie Arthur (UK Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators) will be giving the 2011 Annual Lecture in Bible and Mission here at Redcliffe on the subject of Reading the Bible with the Global Church.

It seems to me that the act of Bible reading is itself a cross-cultural experience. Within the pages of the Bible we have the Spirit-inspired thoughts, songs, stories, instructions, visions and poems of a remarkably diverse group of people. As I read the text I am constantly engaged in a process of understanding the language and ideas of people unlike myself. I am constantly crossing borders and boundaries. This is one of the many reasons why it is essential to recognise the worth in reading alongside others, and especially others from different cultures. The wonderful diversity of the global church parallels and broadens the cultural diversity of the biblical writers and figures themselves.

In anticipation of the event and as part of an ongoing discussion we would love to hear your views and your stories:

  • Why do you think it is important to read the Bible alongside brothers and sisters from around the globe?
  • Do you have stories of how you’ve experienced this?
  • How can this be encouraged practically?

Please join the conversation by leaving a comment below, or posting something on Twitter or Facebook.

Redcliffe’s 2011 Lecture in Bible and Mission

Reading the Bible with the Global ChurchThis year’s Annual Lecture in Bible and Mission will be held on Wed 30 March, 7pm to 9pm. It is the key public event of the year for the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission, with previous speakers being Chris Wright on The Bible and Mission and Gordon Wenham on The Nations in the Psalms.

Our lecturer this year is Eddie Arthur, Executive Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators, who will be speaking on the subject, ‘Reading the Bible with the Global Church: Opening our eyes to see how God speaks worldwide’.

It is being put on in partnership with Bible Society, Wycliffe Bible Translators and Biblefresh.

Here are the details from Redcliffe’s website:

We all come to the Bible with our own perspectives, insights and blind spots, which is why reading it with others is vital. But often the groups we are part of come from similar cultural backgrounds. Are there things we could be missing?

Imagine being part of a Bible Study group made up of believers from Britain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso and Bulgaria. How might this open our eyes to read God’s Word afresh?
At this year’s lecture in Bible and Mission Eddie Arthur will explore what it means to read the Bible alongside believers around the world. There will also be discussion groups led by church leaders to unpack what this might look like in a local congregation context.

About Eddie Arthur
Eddie Arthur is the Executive Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators. Previously he has worked as part of the translation team for the Kouya NewTestament in Ivory Coast and as the National Director for a Wycliffe partner organization in Ivory Coast and Mali. You can read more of Eddie’s thoughts on Bible translation and life on his website kouya.net, or follow him on Twitter @kouya

Cost
The evening is free, but prebooking is required.

To book
Please complete the online form or call 01452 308 097.

Directions
Please see our directions page for details on how to find us.

 

Suffice it to say that it should be an excellent evening! Eddie is a clear and deep thinker, a great communicator, and someone with a wealth of experience in the thinking and practice of Bible and mission.

More reflections to follow in the run up to the event…

The Bible and Lausanne’s Cape Town Commitment – part two

The excellent Scripture Engagement website highlighted another part of the Cape Town Commitment related to Bible and Mission.

The following is a section within PART II For the world we serve: The Cape Town Call to Action,  IV. Discerning the will of Christ for world evangelization

C)    Aim to eradicate Bible poverty in the world, for the Bible remains indispensable for evangelism. To do this we must:
(1)   Hasten the translation of the Bible into the languages of peoples who do not yet have any portion of God’s Word in their mother tongue;
(2)   Make the message of the Bible widely available by oral means. (See also Oral cultures below.)

I’ve posted before on the essential task of the continuing task set before the church of Bible Translation. Living in the West it is too easy to take this for granted. We need our conviction and passion for God’s Word, God’s world and God’s people to spur us on to action. This is an issue of justice as much as anything else. I don’t say this lightly.

D)    Aim to eradicate Bible ignorance in the Church, for the Bible remains indispensable for discipling believers into the likeness of Christ.
(1)   We long to see a fresh conviction, gripping all God’s Church, of the central necessity of Bible teaching for the Church’s growth in ministry, unity and maturity…
(2)   We must promote Bible literacy among the generation that now relates primarily to digital communication rather than books, by encouraging digital methods of studying the scriptures inductively with the depth of inquiry that at present requires paper, pens and pencils.
E)    Let us keep evangelism at the centre of the fully-integrated scope of all our mission, inasmuch as the gospel itself is the source, content and authority of all biblically-valid mission. All we do should be both an embodiment and a declaration of the love and grace of God and his saving work through Jesus Christ.

It is not enough to own a Bible (or several) in our heart language. We must know it and engage with it. We must help others do the same. On the issue of technology, how can we engage people with the Bible who ‘don’t do books’? What is interesting to me is the relationship between the ultra-technological generation, many of whom have moved beyond books (or have never engaged with them), and the vast numbers around the world for whom books are not the primary form of communication…

2. Oral cultures
The majority of the world’s population are oral communicators, who cannot or do not learn through literate means, and more than half of them are among the unreached as defined above. Among these, there are an estimated 350 million people without a single verse of Scripture in their language. In addition to the ‘primary oral learners’ there are many ‘secondary oral learners’, that is those who are technically literate but prefer now to communicate in an oral manner, with the rise of visual learning and the dominance of images in communication.
As we recognize and take action on issues of orality, let us:
A)    Make greater use of oral methodologies in discipling programmes, even among literate believers.
B)    Make available an oral format Story Bible in the heart languages of unreached and unengaged people groups as a matter of priority.
C)    Encourage mission agencies to develop oral strategies, including: the recording and distribution of oral Bible stories for evangelism, discipling and leadership training, along with appropriate orality training for pioneer evangelists and church-planters; these could use fruitful oral and visual communication methods for communicating the whole biblical story of salvation, including storytelling, dances, arts, poetry, chants and dramas.
D)    Encourage local churches in the Global South to engage with unreached people groups in their area through oral methods that are specific to their worldview.
E)    Encourage seminaries to provide curricula that will train pastors and missionaries in oral methodologies.

Dealing with the question of orality is one of the major challenges for Bible Engagement in the coming generations. (indeed, it is fair to say it always has been?). So, as the statement asks of us in the final point, what are we doing here at Redcliffe to address the issue. I’ll highlight three things:

1. In our second year Psalms course one of the assignments is to produce a creative piece that comes out of a deep reflection on a psalm. Students have done this in an amazing variety of ways – painting, drawing, sculpting, welding, video, song, sewing, blogging.

2. An new third year module we are looking to deliver (subject to validation) in the next academic year is called Story, Song and Social Networks: Bible Engagement and Oral Culture. It 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. This might be an ‘unreached’ people group who use song as the primary means of communication, or sections of UK culture whose preferred mode of communication is through web 2.0.

3. As well as a module on missional hermeneutics, our MA in Bible and Mission has a module on Bible Engagement in Intercultural Contexts delivered by some fantastic thinker-practitioners from agencies like Wycliffe Bible Translators and Bible Society.

There is more we could do and more we should do, but that is the challenge before us all.

English Translations of the Bible – An Uncomfortable Privilege?

I’ve just written an article that will appear later this year in Inspires, the magazine of the Diocese of Gloucester. It touches on subjects like the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, the Biblefresh initiative, Redcliffe College, and the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators.

It is fantastic to have access to so many different versions of the Bible in English; I love being able to refer to different translations for different purposes. It is a real privilege; but it is one that I’m finding increasingly uncomfortable.

Consider the following statistics from Wycliffe Bible Translators. The previous century saw more translations of the Bible produced than the rest of the history of the church put together. Yet there are still around 340 million people (representing over 2000 languages) who do not have a single word of the Bible in their ‘heart language’.

Perhaps it is time for us English speakers to say, ‘You know what, we have enough versions of the Bible now. Let’s turn our attention more fully to those that have none.’

2010 Redcliffe lecture in Bible and Mission – Gordon Wenham on the Psalms

Prof Gordon WenhamI’m pleased to announce that this year’s Redcliffe Lecture in Bible and Mission will be on Wed 12 May and delivered by Prof Gordon Wenham who will be speaking on the theme of ‘The Nations in the Psalms’.

As you will see from the blurb below from Redcliffe’s website, the evening will also incorporate the public launch of the Centre. Similar to last year’s lecture by Chris Wright, the event will form the basis of a Bible and Mission issue of Encounters Mission journal, which will be out in early June.

Watch this space for updates. Here are the details so far:

Redcliffe Lecture in Bible and Mission:

The Nations in the Psalms

With Prof Gordon Wenham, Tutor in Old Testament at Trinity College, Bristol

Wednesday 12 May 2010
7.00pm to 9.00pm

In partnership with Bible Society and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

The 2010 lecture in Bible and Mission will be delivered by world-renowned biblical scholar Prof Gordon Wenham on the topic ‘The Nations in the Psalms’.

Even on a superfical reading of the Psalms, we come across a diversity of ideas regarding ‘the nations’:

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? (2:1, ESV)
let the nations be judged before you! (9:19)
God reigns over the nations (47:8)
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy (67:4)
Declare his glory among the nations (96:3)
Praise the LORD, all nations! (117:1)

How then are we to understand the complex relationships between Israel, the nations and God? And what insights for mission might we gain from these and other texts in the Psalms?

After Prof Wenham’s lecture a ‘missional response’ will be offered by Tim Davy, lecturer in Biblical Studies and Director of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission.

Launch of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission

The evening will also incorporate the public launch of an exciting new Redcliffe initiative. The Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission aims to serve the Church by engaging in research, teaching, writing and speaking on mission in the Bible, and the Bible in mission thinking, practice and training. Its goal is to encourage Christians to reflect on mission biblically and the Bible missionally.

Prof Gordon Wenham is tutor in Old Testament at Trinity College, Bristol. Prior to this he was Professor of Old Testament at the University of Gloucestershire. He has held teaching positions or served as visiting lecturer at a range of institutions around the world. He is the author of numerous publications and combines scholarly excellence with clarity and accessibility. His main research interests are the Pentateuch, the Bible and Ethics, and the Psalms.

Book now
The lecture is free but pre-booking is required. To book your place, contact events@redcliffe.org.

New look website for Wycliffe Bible Translators

Wycliffe Bible Translators have just launched their new website. Why not take a few moments to have a look around it and (re)learn about this exciting and crucial ministry.

From the Wycliffe blog:

Welcome to the new look!  We’ve just launched the new website and we hope you enjoy exploring what we have to share here.

The Bible: the Story everybody needs – The Bible contains the amazing story of God’s love for us and how he can be known by all of creation.  For that reason, we want everybody on the planet to have access to God’s word in the language they understand best, to make it possible for them to get to know God for themselves.

We’ve organised the site into three sections:  Live the Story is full of resources to help you, your group or your church to interact with the Bible.  Give the Story shows the variety of ways we can be part of sharing the Story with others, by praying, giving, going or telling others about the need for Bible translation.

The Wycliffe Story includes latest news, blogs and contact information.  It also explains more about us: including the story of how Cameron Townsend’s heart was moved by the Cakchiquel man who asked “If your God is so great, why can’t he speak my language?”

As Wycliffe UK and others worldwide work together to provide God’s word to people in their heart language, more and more individuals, networks, churches and organisations are connecting with us to see this happen by 2025.

Changes to the Bible and Mission blog

Over the last couple of days I’ve been making a few changes to the structure of the blog, primarily with the purpose of integrating it more fully within the activities of Redcliffe’s new Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission.

A new initiative

For some time we have been working hard to develop a new initiative that will ‘serve the Church by engaging in research, teaching, writing and speaking on mission in the Bible, and the Bible in mission thinking, practice and training.’ Though we continue to fundraise we have now received sufficient support from such organisations as Wycliffe Bible Translators and Bible Society for me to have some time to devote to developing the Centre’s activities.

You can see a more detailed explanation of the Centre’s aims and activities on the About page. The main things are teaching (including a new MA in Bible and Mission); hosting an annual lecture and bi-annual consultation in Bible and Mission; research and writing; and hosting a Bible and Mission Scholar from the Majority World each year here at Redcliffe.

What about the blog?

At least for the time being it makes sense to house all the Bible and Mission activities on this site. So it is now more like a microsite than just a blog. Having said that the blog is front and centre and will actually be updated more frequently. It is the best medium by far for thinking aloud and getting across what we are doing in an immediate and accessible way.

I hope you enjoy the developments; let me know what you think!