Author: Eddie Arthur, Executive Director of Wycliffe Bible Translators UK.
In the introduction to his excellent book, Mission After Christendom, David Smith recounts the occasion when he was working through the Joseph story with a group of students in Nigeria. As they got to the end of the story, Smith asked them what lessons could be learned from it. He expected the students to say something along the lines of God can always be trusted, but instead the students all replied that you should always look after your family (Smith 2003, p.1).
I wonder how many people here see a message about family loyalty as the first thing they gather from the story of Joseph. I’ve no doubt that for most, if not all of us, the message that we would take away is about the way in which God works out his purposes down through the years even when things seem to go against him. But this group of students from a very family and community orientated society came to a very different conclusion. Of course, both of the lessons which could be drawn from the story are true and one doesn’t invalidate the other in anyway.
The point of this illustration is a very simple one. People from different cultures and backgrounds bring different experiences to the Bible and ask different questions of it and so see different things in the text. This simple proposition is the central theme of this lecture. Over the next hour we will be looking at different ways in which people from different parts of the world read the Scriptures and exploring what, if any, the relevance is for our context here in the UK.
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Reading The Bible with The Global Church
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