Scripture and Its Interpretation

A Global, Ecumenical Introduction to the Bible


19. Asian and Asian American Biblical Interpretation

Reviewing the Chapter

  1. What does the brief historical overview offered in this chapter reveal about the translation of the Bible into Asian languages and contexts?
  2. What are some of the aspects of Asian worldviews that have influenced Christian theology, including Bible translation and interpretation?
  3. In what sense does Asian scriptural interpretation seek to be both “glocal” and “praxis-based”?
  4. In what ways is Asian scriptural interpretation practiced both cross-culturally and in the context of real-life issues?
  5. Why and how do Asian and Asian-American biblical interpreters do their work in the context of a liminal and marginalized existence?
  6. Which biblical texts and themes are noted in this chapter as particularly significant for Asian Christians, and why?
  7. What are some of the challenges and critical issues currently facing Asian interpreters of the Bible?

Engaging a Central Issue

Respond to the following claim K. K. Yeo makes in this chapter (p. 327): “Worldview matters in biblical translation [and interpretation]. Asian worldviews are radically different from those of most Westerners, who are ‘sold out to scientism, materialism, and determinism’ (Jenkins, New Faces of Christianity, 16). Asian worldviews, similar to biblical worldviews, are dynamically religious.”

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. How would you characterize the similarities and differences between your experience of biblical interpretation in your context(s) and the approaches to biblical interpretation of Asian and Asian American Christians?
  2. What great strengths and what potential problems, if any, do you find in the Asian approaches to biblical interpretation and theology discussed in this chapter?
  3. What can Western Christians learn about biblical interpretation from Asian and Asian American Christians?