Text + Culture: Talking Points

—comment by Greg Strand, EFCA director of Biblical Theology & Credentialing

I am always looking to read pertinent works and to listen to relevant lectures/messages on foundational matters of the Christian faith. The “talking point” lecture series, began last year at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, focused on “Text and Culture” this year. Though I have not listened to the lectures, because of the subject-matter addressed I will. You may be interested as well.

Talking Points is an annual forum designed to bring about thoughtful perspectives on current ministry topics through presentation, dialogue and interaction.

"Text and Culture"
October 3, 2011

The Bible is…

  • an ancient text written to an ancient culture.
  • a relevant word from God for today.

In these two realities lay the challenge of pastors, ministry leaders and students of the Bible.

  • How do we understand the meaning of the biblical text in its original context?
  • How do we translate the text into the vocabulary of today’s reader?
  • How do we speak of the relevance of the Bible to our contemporary culture?

Biblical Text in Ancient Culture
Daniel R. Watson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Old Testament
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Scot McKnight, on his blog noted that Watson’s lecture addressed “how culture informs the Old Testament, and his theoretical as well as illustrative examples were a good warm-up to the topic. Showing how culture informs that text is what many need to see all over again, and Dan offered plenty of examples.”

Biblical Text in Contemporary Culture
Douglas J. Moo, Ph.D.
Kenneth T. Wessner Chair of Biblical Studies
Wheaton College

McKnight noted how Moo, the Chair of the Committee on Bible Translation, addressed “how the NIV translators worked: how they examined original text in original language, how they sought to create “natural” English, and how that involves both interpretation and seeking for natural English equivalents to what the text says.”

Biblical Text in & Cultural Relevance
Scot McKnight, Ph.D.
Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies
North Park University

McKnight’s summary of his own message was as follows: “My talk, after lunch, which had one of its goals to keep everyone awake and away from those early afternoon naps, was devoted to the theme of “cultural relevance,” and I developed seven themes — briefly of course.”

Question & Answer
Daniel R. Watson, Ph.D.
Douglas Moo, Ph.D.
Scot McKnight, Ph.D.

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