Race and ethnicity have always been hot topics for as long as people have been around, and remain so today in a great many parts of the world. In the church too these issues are often present, if only in the fact that many Western churches remain almost entirely mono-cultural and mono-racial even when they are located in culturally diverse neighbourhoods.
Some of the most confusing and often controversial parts of the Bible are in the New Testament where Paul talks about Christians being chosen by God. Why does God apparently choose some and not others? Who exactly is chosen? Do we have any choice in the matter? What about those who aren’t chosen? Is God fair?
Over the past couple of years I have become increasingly convinced of the need to read the Bible on its own terms, in its own context, and to understand what it meant to its original hearers. All too often we are quick to ask “what does this passage mean for me?” or “how can I apply this to my life?” before we’ve really understood what it is saying.