2018 Biblical Interpretation Seminar in the Philippines

Anytime we have the privilege of traveling to our ministry hub in Tacloban, spending time studying the Word together is a priority. Amidst all the ministerial work we do, we prioritize training up people who are skilled in God’s Word. That was no different last month when Chris Cameron and I led a team of students from the Institute for G.O.D. International to Tacloban. Trip objectives included a ministry orientation for new interns and providing a music workshop for local youth. However, our primary energies went towards hosting an educational seminar on Biblical Interpretation. This seminar was geared towards Filipinos who were hungry to go deeper in their study of the Word and were willing to put in the work to attain helpful tools to do so.

The writer of Deuteronomy 8:1 instructs, “This entire commandment that I command you today you must diligently observe, so that you may live and increase…”  The Scripture communicates a direct connection between our careful and rigorous approach to reading the Word of God, and the fullness of life we experience as a result.  

Jason teaches Micah 6:6-8, a key passage used by he and Chris to apply biblical interpretation skills.

Jason teaches Micah 6:6-8, a key passage used by he and Chris to apply biblical interpretation skills.

There were 10 attendees to the seminar held at Tahanan, all of whom are regular participants at the community center. After a time of worship and exhortation to focus our hearts on the Lord, we introduced interpretive tools that help unpack the rich but complex texts that make up the Bible. These tools help readers discipline themselves to observing the genre, historical context, repeated words, etc… before arriving at an interpretation on it’s meaning.

In our plenary session we walked through an Old Testament passage (Micah 6:6-8) and practiced analyzing the terms and poetic format of the communication, before moving into a discussion of what message means for us today.

After receiving instruction in a class setting, participants worked in groups to dissect a passage of scripture using the literary tools taught at the seminar.

After receiving instruction in a class setting, participants worked in groups to dissect a passage of scripture using the literary tools taught at the seminar.

Breaking into small groups, attendees were given worksheets to practice the steps of disciplined biblical interpretation. Discussion followed, as facilitators gave feedback and fielded questions about this process. Attendees were enthusiastic about immediately putting into practice the things they learned in the seminar. Afterwards, several of the Filipinos shared how thankful they were to learn a new way to approach their study of God’s word. One participant, Mayel (age 25), stated, “I now have the tools to practice Bible study and apply God’s Word in my everyday life.”

I believe that as our South East Asia team continues to prioritize education in the word of God, we will continue to see the fruit of that investment in the lives of the young people at Tahanan committed to knowing his word and participating in his kingdom.

Hear more from the 2018 Biblical Interpretation Seminar participants on our VIDEO BLOG!

Philippines Interns Arrive!

Mabuhay! The Philippines Summer Interns from Students Living a Mission have arrived in Palo, Leyte! Each intern endured the long flights to the islands with great anticipation. Through prayer and bible study, the team leadership has been preparing the interns to enter the third world. The students and ministry partners we already have on the ground, welcomed the interns with traditional filipino snacks, Nescafe coffee (a Filipino favorite!), and a handmade banner. The evening ended in a delicious meal of pork adobo shared around a large table where each member of the team partook in eating tasty pork adobo, pancit, and rice.

After settling in, the team walked through the neighborhood that our community center, Tahanan, is located in to make observations of the standing destruction that still plagues so many Filipinos post-typhoon Haiyan. The poverty that once existed has only become worse as the islanders have tried desperately to rebuild their homes, their lives, and their communities while simultaneously grieving the loss of lives, property, and hope. The interns and immersion team are first being exposed to what daily life is like for Filipinos, experiencing what they do in local travel, weather and food. In addition, during these first few days, they are being exposed to the drastic dichotomy between the rich and the poor, as Catholic cathedrals tower over shacks that house the poor.

I have hopes for this team of 6 that God would keep their hearts soft as he shows them a people in need of his kingdom to come to earth in a very real way. They will visit dumpsites, volunteer in an elementary school, and tour local hospitals and clinics. They will visit those who are in prison, boys and girls in homes of refuge, and they will worship with youth groups in local churches. They’ve come prepared with open hearts, dances to perform, educational programs to conduct for children, and health seminars to share.

After just a few short days in country, the team has already seen and felt so much. It is only with the Lord that they will be able to continue opening up their hearts, loving those around them, and ministering to “the least of these”. Pray for their strength of mind, humble hearts, and strength to do the Lord’s will in their lives.  We’re expecting a great trip!