A church planter working in one of Scotland’s poorest communities spoke recently about a funeral for an infant. Astonishingly, he said that the two questions not asked at the graveside were, “Where is God?” and, “Why did this happen to me?”
This conversation illustrates one of the initial findings of a Scottish Bible Society research project into reading the Bible within Scotland’s poorest communities: the context in which the Bible is being read is very different.
Here are some of the elements we have been told are part of this context:
- Suffering and difficulty as a part of life
- A sense of hopelessness and despair
- An openness to spiritual things
- A suspicion of and disregard for the church
- Responsiveness to Jesus and the Gospel
- A hunger to read the Bible even amongst those who struggle with literacy
Around the country great work is being done by churches and para-church organisations. One of the most encouraging things we have discovered is that the Bible is being read and lives are being changed. One leader in Aberdeen spoke of the “missional” Bible studies that he conducts each week, where people from different backgrounds meet within a housing estate – a mixture of Christians and those who do not yet know Christ – and together they read the Bible and encounter God.
However, alongside this encouragement is the discovery that there is a lack of resources that enable Bible engagement in this context, and as a result churches and para-churches are creating their own material to enable people to read the Bible.
Taken together, these findings present a tremendous opportunity. There is the urgent opportunity presented by the context of Scotland’s poorest communities, to bring the Bible to them and allow it to transform their lives. Alongside this is the opportunity to develop new resources that will equip and enable the church and para-church to reach people with the life-changing message of the Gospel. Please pray for the Scottish Bible Society as we undertake this important work.
Find out more
If you’d like to find out more about this work or you can provide any insights into any of our areas of research, please contact Adrian Armstrong by e-mail or call 0131 347 9827.
The Scottish Bible Society provides a range of study resources to support Bible engagement. Find out more about Equip resources.