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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Same

A few months back I responded to a study of Ephesians with two groups.  Last week I was privileged to work with a group of people in another country using the same tools.  Until we met their approach to the Bible was mostly devotional.  They would read a few verses and react to them.  I pushed them really hard past their comfort zone.  I challenged them to read a book at one sitting and to get a feel for a book as a whole.  The primary reason for that emphasis is that in both their country and ours errors are multiplied by emphasizing one or two verses in a book without regard for the message of that book.
Do we need to do something different to help people grow in other cultures?  Thoughts at DTTB.
Going in I was unsure how the week was going to work.  Halfway through the week I was in a conversation with a member of the local ministry of education, who was decrying the decline of education in the region.  She was explaining that the students’ academic ability was in a consistent decline.  All of the people in our meeting were products of that system.  I noticed at the beginning of the week they had difficulty making abstract connections between themes.

As the week progressed there was progress.  They began to see that they could study and understand what they were studying.  Given the right questions to ask, with some simple guidance on what to look for in the text, they were making solid observations on what the author was saying.  They were excited that they could do this on their own.  They were excited to share what they were seeing in the Word of God.

Yesterday morning we held the next to last meeting of the current Dads Teach the Bible workshop.  The men in that workshop have had the identical experience.  Different language, different culture, halfway around the world, the same response to the Word of God.

Why do we insist on making this so difficult?