This morning I was talking to a Luke-Acts class about the kind of questions we might ask that could help bring out the missional nature of the Bible. Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time thinking about this whole area and it seems to me that there are numerous questions one could ask.

So this morning I have set myself a challenge: over the coming months (years?) I will try to write a series of one hundred blog posts on such questions. I’d like to try and think of one hundred questions that we could ask of the text as we seek to read it missionally.

This is deliberately ambitious: partly to push myself to think creatively, and partly in an attempt to demonstrate that missional hermeneutics opens up all kinds of possibilities that can enrich personal Bible reading, the church, and scholarship.

What questions would you include?

Posted by: timjdavy | August 26, 2014

Rahab and a Gentile Exodus

There is an interesting article in a recent issue of the Tyndale Bulletin by Nicholas Lunn looking at whether the rescue of the Canaanite Rahab in the book of Joshua might be understood as a kind of ‘Gentile Exodus’. In ‘The Deliverance of Rahab (Joshua 2, 6) as the Gentile Exodus’ (Tyndale Bulletin 65.1 (2014), 11-19) Lunn observes a number of intertextual connections between the Rahab story and the Exodus story (particularly in Exodus 12-15), which he thinks suggest an intentional association of the two passages.

I won’t go into the details of these links but one of his concluding statements is worth noting here:

When the latter [the Rahab story] is read in association with the earlier deliverance account it becomes apparent that the rescue of Rahab and her family is being presented as another exodus. It may be considerably smaller in scale in comparison, yet it was an exodus, or a ‘bringing out’, nevertheless. Yet this was patently a wholly Gentile exodus. In keeping with the promise made to the Hebrew forefathers, that not just they themselves would possess the land, but that blessing would also come to those of other nations (Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14), now a Gentile family received a blessing through Israel. In sparing the Canaanite family the Hebrews were in fact extending to Gentiles the [hesed], the special covenant love, that they themselves enjoyed. Accordingly, as far as Rahab is concerned, the narrative ends with the statement that ‘she lives in the midst of Israel to this day’ (Josh. 6:25). She and those with her had, so to speak, become ‘grafted in’ to Israel.

For me this is interesting as it connects the Rahab story with what has gone before and in an integrated way, whereas I have usually seen her story discussed as a type of what is to come (cf. the scarlet chord) or as an example (perhaps fairly isolated) of God dealing with non-Israelites in the OT.

Questions remain, of course. The deliverance of Rahab is a rescue from the destruction of Jericho by the Israelites as part of their entry into the land. I think a fuller treatment would need to address her story in the context of this difficult area of the Old Testament. Nevertheless, Lunn’s article is a very welcome contribution to the place of Rahab’s story in a missional reading of Scripture.

What do you think of Lunn’s suggestions? How else might we approach Rahab’s story missionally?

Posted by: timjdavy | August 14, 2014

Scripture Engagement and student ministry

IFES Scripture Engagement websiteIFES have been developing its Scripture Engagement activities and resources through a blog. You can visit the site here: IFES Scripture Engagement. Here is the ‘About’ description:

Welcome to a vast topic which none of us will ever finish exploring. Scripture engagement is about all of life. It is listening and responding to God’s Word alone and together with others. It is digesting and living out the Word in every relationship and circumstance. It is unashamedly and competently sharing God’s good news in our world. Above all, Scripture engagement is meeting the Living Word in the written word – meeting Jesus and receiving his life.

This blog does not presume to address all aspects of this topic. It does not try and capture everything that is happening in IFES. Its aim is to help you stop and think again about Scripture engagement in your life and community. Its aim is to inspire you through IFES stories and ideas from around the world. In the hope that together we will learn to more fully love, study, live, and share God’s Word.

Posted by: timjdavy | July 3, 2014

Scripture Engagement and Paul Hobbs Art

This morning, as part of a class on Bible Engagement in Intercultural Contexts, we are thinking about approaches and issues in using the visual arts to communicate the Bible and faith. To help with this theme we invited the brilliant, Gloucester-based artist, Paul Hobbs, to share about his work.

Paul describes himself as making, ‘both celebratory abstract paintings, and painting and sculpture that consider contemporary social issues in the light of biblical values.’

Here is a link to his website: Paul Hobbs – Artist. It is well worth a look.

Posted by: timjdavy | June 19, 2014

Free download of Bible in Mission by Regnum Books

Bible in Mission

Bible in Mission

The 2013 title, Bible in Mission (edited by Pauline Hoggarth, Fergus Macdonald, Bill Mitchell and Knud Jørgensen) has been made freely available by the wonderful people at OCMS through their imprint, Regnum Books. Here is a link to the pdf download of Bible in Mission

Here is an excerpt from the forward from the publisher’s website, as well as the contents:

“The Bible is alive – it has hands and grabs hold of me, it has feet and runs after me”. Thus spoke Martin Luther, as cited by Knud Jørgensen in a quotation that summarizes the deeper meaning of this book. To the authors of Bible in Mission, the Bible is the book of life, and mission is life in the Word. This core reality cuts across the diversity of contexts and hermeneutical strategies represented in these essays. The authors are committed to the boundary-crossings that characterize contemporary mission – and each sees the Bible as foundational to the missio Dei, to God’s work in the world.

From the Foreword by Dana L. Robert, Truman Collins Professor of World Christianity and History of Mission, Boston University School of Theology


Editorial Introduction: The Bible in Mission 1
The Bible in Mission – and the Surprising Ways of God – Ole Christian Kvarme 5
The Bible as Text for Mission – Tim Carriker 29

The World
The Bible in Mission: The Modern/Postmodern Western Context – Richard Bauckham 43
The Bible in Mission in the Islamic Context – Kenneth Thomas 56
The Bible in Christian Mission among the Hindus – Lalsangkima Pachuau 68
Children, Mission and the Bible: A Global Perspective – Wendy Strachan 81
The Church
The Bible in Mission: Evangelical/Pentecostal View – Antonia Leonora van der Meer 93
Bible Hermeneutics in Mission – A Western Protestant Perspective – Michael Kisskalt 106
Orthodox Perspectives on Bible and Mission – Simon Crisp 119
‘Ignorantia Scripturae ignorantia Christi est’ – Thomas P. Osborne 131

Baka Bible Translation and Oral Biblical Narrative Performance – Dan Fitzgerald 141
The UBS HIV Good Samaritan Program – David Hammond and Immanuel Kofi Agamah 151
The Bible and the Poor – Gerald West 159
The Bible and Care of Creation – Allison Howell 168

Asia – Pacific
‘Text of Life’ and ‘Text for Life’: The Bible as the Living and Life-Giving Word of God for the Dalits – Peniel J. Rufus Rajkumar 178
Bible Missions in China – Pamela Wan-Yen Choo 185
The Impact and Role of the Bible in Big Flowery Miao Community – Suee Yan Yu 193
Bible Engagement among Australian Young People – Philip Hughes 200

Latin America
The Bible and Children in Mission – Edesio Sánchez Cetina 208
Bible Translation, the Quechua People and Protestant Church Growth in the Andes 216 – Bill Mitchell
The Bible in Mission: Women Facing the Word 224 – Elsa Támez

Biblical Advocacy – Advocating for the Bible in an Alien Culture – David Spriggs and Sue Coyne 230 Contents vii
Scripture Engagement and Living Life as a Message – Steve Bird 238
Reading the Bible with Today’s Jephthahs: Scripture and Mission at Tierra Nueva – Bob Ekblad 247
Lessons Learned from the REVEAL Spiritual Life Survey – Nancy Scammacca Lewis 255
Glazed Eyes and Disbelief – Adrian Blenkinsop and Naomi Swindon 264
Information Management and Delivery of the Bible – Paul Soukup 273

The Bible as the Core of Mission: ‘…for the Bible tells me so’ – Knud Jørgensen 283

HT the similarly wonderful Scripture Engagement website for the heads up on the free download

Posted by: timjdavy | June 6, 2014

Missio Dei journal issue on missional hermeneutics

Thanks to LICC’s ever-informative Antony Billington for bringing this to my attention.

The February 2014 issue of Missio Dei: A Journal of Missional Theology and Praxis focuses on the theme of Missional Hermeneutics. It represents another welcome addition to the growing literature on the missional interpretation of Scripture. Here is a list of the contents. (You can download the issue as a pdf or view the issue on the journal’s website)

Greg McKinzie, “Mission and the Renewal of Restoration Movement Hermeneutics”

Mark Love, “Missional Interpretation: The Encounter of a Holy God through a Living Text”
Greg McKinzie, “Currents in Missional Hermeneutics”

Derran Reese, “Contesting Culture: Contextualizing Worship in Northern Thailand”
Sean Todd, “Cultural Issues in Translation: The Thai Easy-to-Read Version”
Yancy Smith, “The Mystery and Mirage of Equivalence: Bible Translation Theories and the Practice of Christian Mission”

Andy Johnson, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Missional Hermeneutics Lived Out in Burkinabe Villages”
James Thompson and Tommy Givens, “NT Scholars Discuss Missional Hermeneutics”

Review of Ross Hastings, Missional God, Missional Church: Hope for Re-evangelizing the West by Daniel McGraw


Here is how the journal describes itself

Missio Dei: A Journal of Missional Theology and Praxis

MISSIO DEI exists to provide a medium for exploring the rich tradition and ongoing practice of participation in the mission of God among the churches of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement.

MISSIO DEI is published semiannually by the Missio Dei Foundation, a non-profit enterprise founded in 2009 to further reflection on the theology and practice of missions among the churches of the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement and promote an inclusive missiological discourse.

Posted by: timjdavy | October 10, 2013

Making Bible Studies Missional – part three

God is King

(Continuing the series on Making Bible Studies Missional – read parts one and two here)

The ability to ask good questions is a monumentally underrated skill. Consider the reflections of Isidor Rabi, a Nobel laureate in physics: ”My mother made me a scientist without ever intending it. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school: ‘So? Did you learn anything today?’ But not my mother. She always asked me a different question. ‘Izzy,’ she would say, ‘did you ask a good question today?’ That difference – asking good questions – made me become a scientist!”

What questions could we be asking in our Bible Studies to make them more missional?

This past weekend I was leading an intensive module here at Redcliffe on Reading the Bible Missionally, which is part of our MA in Bible and Mission programme. One of the themes we kept returning to was how we might move the scholarly discussion on the missional interpretation of Scripture into a Wednesday evening home group. How might the questions asked by scholars need to change in order to work for those not immersed in the missional hermeneutics conversation? I also reflected on this with a Psalms class the following day. Here is just one attempt at articulating a question, of which there would be many:

‘In what ways does this passage make a claim for the rule of God in our lives, our churches, our communities and our world?’

Such a question recognises the reign of God (whether we frame it in terms of the Kingship of Yahweh or the lordship of Christ) and asks us to consider what this reign means for us. It is not just a call to consider the extent to which our lives are aligned with that reign, though it certainly requires that. It is also a challenge to take our contexts seriously and to consider creatively how the reign of God can be discerned and embodied in the world, and how we might participate in that.

What questions would you ask to make our Bible Studies more missional?

[If you’d like to chat about studying Bible and Mission at Redcliffe College have a look at the college’s website or email me at tdavy[at]]

job for everyoneI’ve just co-edited the latest issue of Redcliffe’s free, online Encounters Mission Journal with Graham Dancy, a recent graduate of Redcliffe’s MA in Bible and Mission who works with Ambassadors Football (previously called Ambassadors in Sport). The topic this issue is ‘From the Bookshelf to the Classroom and Beyond’. Here is the blurb and listing of articles. I contributed a review of John Goldingay’s Job for Everyone in which I also reflect on how the book has challenged me as a teacher here at Redcliffe.

A good teacher never stops learning and reflecting. This edition of Encounters is dedicated to book reviews by members of the faculty of Redcliffe College. Although the titles covered are varied, the unifying theme is our request to participants that they complement their reviews by reflecting on how their reading might be useful for or influence their teaching.

One of the big developments in recent months at Redcliffe is the move to the College of the Wycliffe Bible Translators training, now called the Centre for Linguistics, Translation and Literacy (CLTL). This issue of Encounters therefore provides a timely opportunity to mark this exciting move and introduce some of the Faculty involved in those programmes.

The first review is by Carol Orwig, who discusses Michael Agar’s book Language Shock: The culture of communication, a book that provides a very realistic framework for language learning that goes beyond grammar and vocabulary and takes into account cultural issues. Staying with the cultural dynamic of language, David Gray reviews Translating Cultures by David Katan. Picking out some of the many (and often humorous) examples offered by Katan, David applies the difficulties of translating across cultures to his own translation consultancy and teaching on CLTL courses. Following this, Howard Jackson evaluates the three volume Basic Linguistic Theory by R.M. Dixon. Offering a brief description of each volume, Jackson recommends Dixon’s compendium as an indispensable guide to field linguistics.

Catherine Young draws on her own experience of living with the poor to review the revised edition of Bryant Myers’ challenging book Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development. The original edition has been a key book for her work in education and development among minority ethnolinguistic communities and she notes with approval the additional perspectives from around the globe in this new edition. On a very different tack but also meeting the needs of today’s complex world, Ted Pilling takes a look at Pathways to Jesus: Crossing the Thresholds to Faith by Don Everts and Doug Schaupp. He suggests it will be useful not only in the classroom for modules in evangelism and discipleship but also in our own interaction with today’s postmodern generation.

Inspired by John Goldingay’s Job for Everyone, Tim Davy notes the challenge of appropriate vulnerability in the classroom and wider community, as well as the missional importance of lament. On a different note, Daniel Button looks at The Language of Science and Faith by Karl Giberson and Francis Collins. He believes this will become a key text for his students and highly recommends it to all who are grappling with the science-faith divide. And finally, Hugh Kemp, whose The One-Stop Guide to World Religions has been published this month by Lion Hudson, relates the issues raised in Stephen Prothero’s God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that run the World – and Why their Differences Matter to the way we think about communicating the Gospel in relation to other religions.

Eight reviews of widely different books, but all providing useful tools for seeking to engage with, and communicate more effectively to, our complex world.

Graham Dancy and Tim Davy, Lecturer in Biblical Studies & Mission
Director of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission (Issue co-editors)

Article 1: Agar/Language Shock. (Carol Orwig)

Article 2: Katan/Translating Cultures. (David Gray)

Article 3: Dixon/Basic Linguistic Theory. (Howard Jackson)

Article 4: Myers/Walking with the poor. (Catherine Young)

Article 5: Everts and Schaupp/Pathways to Jesus. (Ted Pilling)

Article 6: Goldingay/Job for Everyone. (Tim Davy)

Article 7: Giberson & Collins/The language of science and faith. (Dan Button)

Article 8: Prothero/God is not one. (Hugh Kemp)

And finally, a single PDF of the whole issue. Ideal for using offline or to make printing easier.

Issue 46: Single Document Version (in full)

Posted by: timjdavy | September 25, 2013

Making Bible Studies Missional – part two


*Photo credit: Elyse Patten, Wycliffe Global Alliance Caption: Tevita Lalahi interacts during a Bible storytelling workshop on the island of ‘Eua

Earlier in the Summer I began a series looking at how a missional understanding of the Bible can influence the way we do small group Bible studies. (You can read the first post here: Making Bible Studies Missional – part one)

I have grown immensely from participating in Bible studies that dig into the biblical text with insightful questions and thoughtful points of application. But I am increasingly aware that this approach suits me because I am used to it and am accustomed to approaching written texts in this way. To what extent could we describe our Bible study approaches as reading comprehension? No bad thing but does it lead only certain people to an engagement with the text?

How accessible are our Bible studies to those not used to dealing with the written text, or who prefer not to?

What do you make of this statistic from the National Literacy Trust: ‘One in six people in the UK struggle with literacy. This means their literacy is below the level expected of an eleven year old’.

Making Bible studies missional isn’t just about making the content missional. It should be about making the experience missional as well.

One suggestion for how we might be able to shape our engagement with the Bible to be more appropriate and accessible for those who prefer not to deal with written texts is to develop practices that acknowledge the phenomenon of orality. On 18-23 November Redcliffe is hosting a course in Bible Storying. Check out the website for more details.

Posted by: timjdavy | September 23, 2013

The Bible, mission, fostering and adoption – any questions?

homeforgood- logoIn a few days I’m going to be posting a Q&A with Krish Kandiah about the fantastic Home for Good initiative and how fostering and adoption relate to the Bible and God’s mission.
This is a subject that has already come up in the first week of lectures here at Redcliffe: specifically, what are the implications of the Psalmist’s description of God as a ‘father to the fatherless’ (Ps. 68:5)? Is this just a nice literary flourish, or does this image have deeper and more resonant social and ethical implications for the people of God today?
What questions would you like me to ask Krish about the Bible, God’s mission, fostering and adoption? Have a look at the Home for Good website, along with the ‘about’ description below, and drop me a line with some suggestions:
Every day more than 50 children are taken into care in the UK. They are removed from chaotic, traumatic, abusive, neglectful or desperate situations. Some of them need a home in an emergency. Some of them need a temporary home until they can return to their families. Some of them need an occasional home to give their families a break. Some of them need a permanent home with a new forever family.

The Church is uniquely placed to offer its help to meet this need. As a large social network with involvement of large numbers of families, the Church is fertile soil for recruitment. Once carers have been through the full process of assessment, the Church could also provide an excellent community of support to wrap around families who are adopting or fostering children.

After a year of extensive consultation, with foster carers, adoptive parents, church leaders, social work professionals and fostering and adoption agencies, Care for the FamilyCCPAS (The Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service) and the Evangelical Alliance have launched the Home for Good initiative.

Home for Good aims to change the culture in local churches throughout the UK, to make adopting and fostering a significant part of their life and ministry.  It is a fantastic opportunity for the Church to be good news in society, change our communities and transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the UK.

Could you use your home for good by providing a foster placement for a child? Or could you provide a child with a home for good by adopting them into your family?

There are three components of Home for Good:

(1) A national church-facing campaign
The Evangelical Alliance will lead this campaign, targeting the heads of denominations, networks and festivals, as well as identifying and resourcing fostering and adoption champions in our churches. We plan to produce creative campaigns around National Adoption Week and Fostering Fortnight, and after a successful pilot of an Adoption Sunday in November 2012 we plan to roll out this idea nationally in 2013.

(2) Support Services
In June 2012 we held consultation events in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, London and Manchester, learning from the expertise of social workers and Christian foster carers and adopters. There was an overwhelming request for more support. Care for the Family are currently assessing what support is already available, and will then develop a model of support that meets these needs, while complementing the support services that already exist.

(3) Increasing understanding
CCPAS has a professional reputation among both faith groups and the statutory agencies for setting standards in safeguarding and for putting the welfare and safety of children first. They will produce resources for churches and statutory agencies about how they can work together and develop models of good working practices. This will help faith groups have a better understanding of the issues surrounding fostering and adoption and enable social workers and those within the statutory agencies to develop a solid understanding of faith issues.

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