#35. Does Culture Limit Some People from Fully Understanding the Bible?

Jackson Wu exposes how the plain text of scripture may be misunderstood, dismissed or amplified depending on one’s cultural lens.

He looks at the pitfalls of presumption and filtering ancient text with modern eyes.

Providing specific examples, he considers ways that Christians can revisit scripture bring it into better focus and not overlook how radical Christ’s cross really is.

What You’ll Learn:

  • About the characteristics of honor-shame cultures
  • How culture filters someone’s understanding of scripture
  • How missions and outreach may be adapted for an honor-shame cultural context

About the Guest: 

Jackson Wu (a pseudonym), at the time of this recording was the theologian-in-residence at Mission ONE. He lived in East Asia for 15 years where he served as a professor to Chinese pastors.

He has penned several books: Reading Romans with Eastern Eyes, One Gospel for All Nations, Saving God’s Face, and his new book about the atonement The Cross in Context.

Jackson Wu received his PhD in Applied Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He maintains a blog and he regularly publishes at jacksonwu.org where there are numerous tools and resources available in English and Chinese.

Scripture Related to Episode:

Romans 12: 9-11; Honor One Another

1 Corinthians 10: 31; Do It to the Glory of God

Romans 2: 7-2: 10; Seek Honor from God

John 17: 22; Jesus Give Glory

Links Related to Episode:

Jackson Wu’s Blog

Jackson Wu, Books

Contact Jackson Wu

Timestamped Show Notes :

01:11 – Topic: Whether It Is Important for Christians to Understand the Concepts of Honor-Share and Saving Face

02:05 – How Culture Impacts How We Read the Bible?

02:21 – Examples of How Culture Influences Interpretation of Scripture

04:36 – Honor-Shame Dynamics in All Cultures

05:45 – Defining Shame and Defining Honor

06:29 – The Moral Part of Honor-Shame Culture

07:32 – What is Praiseworthy?

09:39 – NT Greco-Roman Culture as an Honor-Shame Culture

09:58 – Similarities and Differences in Honor-Shame Cultures

10:57 – Personal Identity in East vs. West

11:25 – Condemning Honor Killings as an Outsider

12:09 – Social Revolution and Shifting Honor Standards

12:55 – The Subversive Message of Cross

14:34 – Honoring Your Parents

14:34 – The Bible verses Culture

15:25 – Social Aspect of Honor and Shame Dynamics

15:36 – Living Inside of a New Story with a New Identity

16:37 – Can Scripture Be Accurately Understood without Understanding These Cultural Implications

17:18 – When Culture Overlooks Scripture — Baptizing One’s Own Cultural Theology

19:31 – Does Seeking Honor Conflict with Humility?

20:52 – Honor-Shame, Missions and Outreach

21:08 – Recognizing the Dynamics of Honor-Shame in Western Culture

21:31 – Status Symbols, Social Media, Sports and Western Versions of Group Identity

23:28 – Advice for Pastors

25:24 – Available Resources

25:30 – Seeking God’s Face – Practical Reflections

26:02 – The Cross in Context – Context Matters for Interpretation

26:30 – Divisions over the Doctrine of Atonement — Divisiveness over the doctrine of atonement

27:17 – More Resources: ‘One Gospel for All Nations’ and ‘Saving God’s Face’ by Jackson Wu

27:32 – Contact Jackson Wu

28:13 – Family and Readjusting to Culture ‘Back Home’

29:13 – Two Dad Jokes and Two Dads

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