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Migration in the Bible

“The Bible has many accounts of men, women and groups of people who left their homes and travelled far away. Some of them went of their own accord such as Abraham, who was called by God. Others were forced to go. Again others had to flee because their lives were in danger or the hardships were too great. Very often it is these hardships which cause people to leave their homes. But always they nurture hopes to find a better way of living in another place.“

This study guide “On the Road“ encourages reflection and discussion in understandable language: How does the Bible describe migration and flight? How do migrants recognize their own experiences in these descriptions? This booklet helps when Christians from different countries wish to have discussions with one another. The booklets in Arabic, Farsi, English, French, Turkish and German can be ordered for € 2.-- from the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society).

“From the first to the last page the Bible is a book of experiences, remembrances and hopes of migrant peoples! (…) The biblical texts bear witness to people who not only suffer under their own experience as migrants but who overcome and transform this experience into becoming a positive one for themselves and for others as they realize that God has lead, carried and enabled them to do this.“

This describes the 2018 General Template of the Protestant Church of Westphalia, which intensively deals with church and migration. Chapter 1 “Biblisch-theologische Vergewisserung“ (Biblical-theological assurance) is especially accomplished. You can download the paper in English here and in Arabic, Farsi, French, Indonesian, Suaheli, Turkish and Hungarian here. Click here to download a working aid on this matter. This and the following documents are unfortunately only available in German.

“An illustration that has proved to be appropriate and capable when working on a biblical-theological orientation is that of the onward-going of God's people. It connects the experience of people who are on their way with the understanding of God's mission as a movement which involves the whole people of God.“

The Evangelical Church of Bavaria based its document “Interkulturell Evangelisch in Bayern“ (Interculturally Protestant in Bavaria) on the onward-going of the people of God. You will find the biblical topics on pages 37 - 47 of this document.

“It is about dealing with exclusive identity features based on ethnic or cultural demands, or rather on the inclusion of peoples previously estranged from the universal people of God. It is this basic sociological function of the Gospel that had and still has to be realized in the establishing of transcultural faith fellowships.“

Werner Kahl, professor for The New Testament and Study Leader of the Academy of Mission at the University of Hamburg interprets the Bible based on the experience of Christians from the Southern Hemisphere. In his book “Vom Verweben des Eigenem mit dem Fremden“ (Concerning the interweaving of the own with the alien) you can read his studies on the Acts of the Apostles (pages 33 - 44) and on the Letter to the Ephesians (pages 45 - 50).

Further bible studies can be found here.

For bibles and devotional books in various languages click here.

The EKD had a conference on the subject “How can a joint Church fellowship be understood theologically?“ Click here for the documentation.