Asking better questions of the Bible – a Scottish Baptist Day Conference for Interpreters of the Bible
Exploring the Bible together as communities of believers lies at the very heart of our identity as Baptists. It is embedded in our historic, Scottish Declaration of Principle.
The more I reflect on this, the more it strikes me that a key task of the gifted teacher is to help people of all ages in our churches learn for themselves how to ask good questions, as they engage together with the Bible. Yet, how often has it been our experience that it is the teacher who both sets the questions and is the one to whom people turn for the answers?
How can we instead inspire a culture in which the questions aren’t limited by the interests, background, education and outlook of the minister, but are broadened by also including the concerns, perspectives and agenda of other generations and outlooks
You are Invited…
We would love you to join us for this exciting day of deep diving into Scriptures!
Meet our highly experienced and knowledgable team of teachers, as they invite you to join for a day of digging deep into Scripture and exploring how we can ask better questions of the Bible!
Paulus De Jong
Paulus is one of the pastors at St Andrews Baptist Church, a lecturer in Biblical studies at the Scottish Baptist College and a fellow the university of St Andrews. Originally from the Netherlands, he has lived and worked in Scotland for the past seven years. He and his wife Tiny have two beautiful daughters with a third child on the way.
Abi Ngunga is pastor of St Andrews Baptist Church. He has over 25 years’ cross-cultural ministry experience. His greatest passion is unashamedly to introduce people to Jesus and to facilitate their personal spiritual growth and effective development in their Christian walk, for the transformation of their given community. He is also invested in training and building up the next generation of church leaders. His most recent volume is Messianism in the Old Greek of Isaiah: An Intertextual Analysis (FRLANT; Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012). He was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and has lived in Scotland for the past 18 years.
Lisa works as Deeper Church Lead, and is part of the BUS National Team. Before joining BUS Lisa was Pastor of Skipton Baptist Church, and Lisa is drawing on around 30 years of local church leadership, involvement on the Spring Harvest Leadership team and as a member of the Evangelical Alliance. Lisa regularly teaches theology and is invited to speak regularly at churches and events around the country.
Andrew works as Leadership Development Lead within the BUS National Team. Before joining the BUS, Andrew lectured in New Testament at the University of Aberdeen for 20 years, with a particular research interest in life and leadership in the earliest Christian communities. Together with his wife, Jane, he has been involved in planting and leading a ‘Simple Church’ in North Aberdeenshire, all in the context of hospitality around the kitchen table. He is passionate about these two goals of learning and formation, which come together in his role of Leadership Development Lead.
Asking Better Questions of the Bible cont…
…Jesus loved to pose questions and, perhaps counter-intuitively for many of us who teach, he also loved to leave questions floating, without an immediate resolution. Many also came to him with their own questions, and were sometimes sent away to ponder – perhaps with their question a little more finessed by Jesus. For Jesus, learning was not always achieved through teaching, but sometimes by encouraging a climate of puzzling, of question asking.
This summer, we have planned a day in which we will use advanced tools of Bible interpretation to show how learning to ask different kinds of questions of the text can sometimes create opportunities for the Bible to reveal even more of its inner workings. Different questions can sometimes highlight revealing connections across the Bible – and, sometimes, these can lead to yet more questions! We shall look in detail at aspects both of immediate literary context as well as intertextuality across multiple books of the Bible. We shall also consider the cultural interplay between the original authors, the specialist commentators we read, and ourselves as we apply an ancient, Eastern text to engage a typically Western audience. Detailed examples of interpretation will be drawn from both the Old and New Testaments.
The underlying premise for this day of exploration is that we will likely become better interpreters of the Word if we develop skills in asking better questions of the text. In recent years, I have been learning to become better at doing this; and, I keep being rewarded by wonderful surprises, a strengthening of my fundamental belief in the fathomless richness of Scripture, and a renewed excitement that as long as I keep turning the pages of the Bible each day, I will continue to find even more wondrous things in his law.
This day conference is for all who want to channel their enthusiasm for being surprised and excited by Scripture.
By Andrew Clarke, Leadership Development Lead, BUS