Reading the Bible Missionally

By Iwuamadi, Lawrence | International Review of Mission, December 2017 | Go to article overview

Reading the Bible Missionally


Iwuamadi, Lawrence, International Review of Mission


Reading the Bible Missionally, edited by Michael W. Gooheen. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. Pp. 343.

The book Reading the Bible Missionally is a fruit of the 2013 conference on "A Missional Reading of Scripture" at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The authors of the book have reworked the keynote addresses of the conference and some of the workshops into chapters of this 343-page volume, published in the Gospel and Our Culture Series. The 13 contributors to this book are experts from the fields of biblical and mission studies. They explore the meaning and importance of "missional hermeneutics" in contemporary biblical scholarship and in the life of the church.

Reading the Bible Missionally has five sections: A Missional Hermeneutic, A Missional Reading of the Old Testament, A Missional Reading of the New Testament, A Missional Reading of Scripture and Preaching, and A Missional Reading of Scripture and Theological Education. The first section serves as a prolegomenon to the book and to missional hermeneutic. It introduces the missional hermeneutic project from the perspectives of five contributors. Michael W. Goheen writes on "A History and Introduction to a Missional Reading of the Bible." Richard Bauckham focuses on "Mission as Hermeneutic for Scriptural Interpretation," followed by "Mapping the Missional Hermeneutic Conversation" by Giorge R. Hunsberger. Craig G. Bartholomew writes on "Theological Interpretation and a Missional Hermeneutic," while the last chapter, on "Intercultural Hermeneutics and the Shape of Missional Theology," is by John R. Franke. The second section includes three chapters aiming at the missional reading of the Old Testament. Christopher J. H. Wright has written the introductory chapter, while Mark Glanville and Carl J. Bosma show how the missional hermeneutic applies to the book of Deuteronomy and Psalms 67 and 96. Section three has a similar structure, but with the focus on the New Testament. The introductory chapter is by N. T. Wright, and Joel B. Green and Dean Flemming look at how to read the Letter of James and St Paul's Letter to the Colossians missionally. Michael W. Goheen, Timothy M. Sheridan, and Darrell L. Guder contributed to the two subsequent sections that focus on missional reading of scripture with reference to preaching and theological education. The book offers a detailed bibliography for studies in Missional Hermeneutics as a concluding chapter.

The goal of this book is to probe "a missional hermeneutic." It seeks to achieve this by highlighting the centrality of mission in biblical studies, pointing out that mission played an indisputable role in the formation of the Bible. This makes mission an imperative key to biblical interpretation. It argues that mission is a major interpretative lens for contemporary biblical hermeneutics. As this is a book of various authors, this argument is presented from different perspectives. This adds value to the book, but at the same time it is challenging for the arguments to be even. …

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