Bible Studies in Mission (BISAM) is one of the oldest interest groups of IAMS (International Association for Mission Studies). BISAM has been studying the interface between the bible and mission since 1976. The group has been convened by people such as David Bosch, John Pobee and Teresa Okure SHCJ, and since 2004 by John Prior SVD.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bible Studies and Mission (BISAM)
Proposed Project 2008 – 2011

Since 1976 the BISAM Study Group of the International Association for Mission Studies (IAMS) has been researching the inter-face between the bible and mission. Since 1996 biblical-missional themes have been studied in the context of today’s multi-cultural world.


At the 2008 IAMS Assembly at Balaton, Hungary, the BISAM study group proposed the following theme for their next collaborative project: Bible, Nation and Empire: The use of the bible by both mission and bible scholars and also by local congregations.

A key theme throughout the Hebrew-Christian Scriptures is that of “nation/ community-building”, first by the Hebrews and Judeans, then by the Judean and Hellenistic Apostolic Communities. In biblical times community/nation formation took place within the context of oppressive empires.

Today at local, regional and global levels we are working to rediscover and recreate community as some nations are merging into larger blocs and others seem to be systemically failing, all this happening within the context of a global economic and political “empire”.

Nurturing faith communities is central to mission; this is taking place within the wider context of national and empirical power. How does the building up of faith communities relate to “nations” and “empire” – both in the bible and in our contemporary contexts?

How do we understand specific biblical texts within their own nation/empire contexts in the light of our own nation/empire contexts?

Process and Timeline
2008 The BISAM network develops the rationale of the theme and sends it to the IAMS executive for approval.

2009 Individual bible and mission scholars and/or local teams of scholars develop the theme researching scholarly work and/or surveying specific local contexts. It is very much hoped that the theme will be taken up by both scholars and by local congregations.

By the end of 2009 papers should have been emailed to the BISAM convenor who will forward them to the entire BISAM network.[1]

Papers/studies/surveys are sent to and commented upon by others. In particular the aim is to highlight different approaches to the biblical text by scholars and by local congregations, and also readings by those from different social and cultural backgrounds. These responses will then be circulated. A few BISAM members will be asked to comment on the papers and responses and what they imply for inter-cultural and inter-disciplinary studies of the bible in mission.

2011 A selection of the papers and responses with concluding comments will be published either in Mission Studies or possibly as a separate book.

Papers should follow the style guide of Mission Studies.

BISAM seeks to study collaboratively, in the true spirit of mission, various ways in which the bible is used today in mission, and the multifaceted questions which it raises among peoples of different race, gender, class, culture, creed, faith and social location; as such BISAM operates on an inter-disciplinary basis.

BISAM is conscious of the need for deepening awareness of the interpretive methods we use; of the need for ongoing studies of how the bible is actually used in specific contexts by faith communities; and of the need for the development of creative imagination in “weaving together” the story of Jesus with stories of people in a particular context.

BISAM remains open to new ideas and suggestions from IAMS members and friends, especially where these suggestions are related to real life concerns in one’s concrete social context.

John Prior,
BISAM Convenor 2004-2012

[1] The BISAM network are those who are, have been, or wish to be, active in the BISAM Study Group.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

EDINBURGH 1910 - 2010

Many meetings are being held regionally and internationally to celebrate God's mission a century after the World Mission Conference of Edinburgh 1910.

The user-friendly website of the Edinburgh committee with a series of papers (to be published in book form) and much information on preparations for Edinburgh 2010 are available on an attractive website. Visit

The IAMS 2008 Assembly in Hungary can be seen as one such international movement "towards 2010". Visit the IAMS website:

Anybody working on the use of the bible in mission since 1910? Contact the BISAM convenor at