The Contextual Bible Study method is similar to many other forms of Bible study that have their origins in the interface between socially engaged biblical scholars, organic intellectuals, and ordinary Christian ‘readers’ (whether literate or not) of the Bible. Many will be familiar with the

See-Judge-Act method, where the Bible study process begins with analysis of the local context (See), and then re-reads the Bible to allow the biblical text to speak to the context (Judge), and then moves to action as we respond to what God is saying (Act). Social analysis enables us to understand our reality; re-reading the Bible enables us to judge whether our reality is as God intends it to be; and our plan of action enables us to work with God to change our reality. This process is an ongoing process, it is repeated, as each action leads to further reflection (See), etc. This is the cycle of praxis.


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CEBI (a similar centre for Biblical Studies in Brazil) adds two other elements to this process in order to make the cyclical nature of the process overt. They speak of their process as consisting of See-Judge-Act-Celebrate-Evaluate. After the group has acted, they then ‘Celebrate’ what they have done, both liturgically and socially; they then, after celebration comes evaluation. The group then ‘Evaluates’ the process to this point and goes on to plan for ongoing work.

Contextual Bible Study is a form of the See-Judge-Act method. First, Contextual Bible Study is always situated within the social analysis and needs of particular communities of the poor, the working-class, and marginalised. It is their perspective on reality that shapes the whole Bible study. Second, Contextual Bible study provides a way of doing theological analysis, "reading the signs of the times". The Bible is read carefully and closely in order to hear its distinct voice within its own literary and socio-historical context, thereby providing a theological resource from which to reflect on and engage with our social analysis. And third, Contextual Bible always ends with theological resources provided by the Bible study to plan for social transformation.  (source: our manual)


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