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Global Voices, reviewed by John Lathrop

From Pneuma Review Fall 2013

Global VoicesCraig Keener and M. Daniel Carroll Rodas, eds., Global Voices: Reading the Bible in the Majority World (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2013), 144 pages, ISBN 9781619700093.

The chapters that make up this book were originally papers that were presented at a meeting of the Institute for Biblical Research which was held in San Francisco, California in 2011. The authors of these chapters are scholars who come from a number of different ethnic backgrounds. The contributors to this book are: J. Ayodeji Adewuya, M. Daniel Carroll Rodas, Daniel K. Darko, David A. deSilva, Nijay Gupta, Craig S. Keener, Grant LeMarquand, Barbara M. Leung Lai, Osvaldo Padilla, Chloe Sun, Edwin M. Yamauchi, and K. K. Yeo.

The purpose of this book is to demonstrate the value and importance of multi-ethnic readings of Scripture. Multi-ethnic reading of Scripture means that Christians in one culture, or from one part of the world, listen to believers from other cultures or parts of the world, in order to learn how they “hear the text.” Such readings can help us gain a greater understanding of the Bible. All of us, regardless of who we are, read the Bible from a particular frame of reference; our culture, upbringing, etc. As a result, we may learn some very important things, but we may also miss some other important things. If we listen to one another then multi-ethnic readings of Scripture can help us draw out the riches of truth found in God’s Word.

A couple of examples from the book may be helpful at this point. Reading from a Hispanic diaspora perspective, M. Daniel Carroll Rodas alerts us to the possibility that Abram’s deception, regarding his wife Sarai (Gen. 12), may be an example of just what one may do in a potentially dangerous situation in order to cross a border. Those of us who have never crossed a border, especially in potentially dangerous circumstances, may miss this in the text because it has not been a part of our experience. The second example comes from Barbara M. Leung Lai. In her chapter she views Daniel’s experiences as instructive to us as a survival manual. She looks at Daniel’s private life and how that impacts his public life. Her examination of the biblical text is very insightful. These examples show us that multi-cultural readings of Scripture can help us to uncover our blind spots and see truth that we might otherwise miss.

This book brings a very important topic to the surface, one that needs to be addressed, because Christianity is a global religion. Multi-ethnic readings of Scripture are especially important because Christianity is growing by leaps and bounds in the majority world. I did not find this book especially easy to read. However, I think that the main point that the book makes is vitally important. We have the Bible, and we have the Spirit, but we need one another as well. The Bible is best interpreted in the community of faith, in the global community of faith.

Reviewed by John P. Lathrop


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Category: Fall 2013, Ministry

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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