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Adjusting Means Exegeting

April 2024


Leading in this generation means exegeting the culture around us. In “Know Your Culture: 6 Keys to Good Cultural Exegesis - IMB,” Caleb Crider shares an amusing reaction to the cultural nuances he experienced in his initiation into the nation he had been called to reach with the gospel. Social kisses, two hours of rest in the middle of the workday, angry conversations in public followed by smiles and kisses left him confused and frustrated. His confusion began to diminish as he took time to study the people he was trying to reach.


Does it feel to you like our national culture in the United States has changed so dramatically in the past decade that we are now living in a country whose values and beliefs are vastly different than our own? We may not like the changes, but we have a responsibility to do the intense work of a missionary to be able to communicate the  gospel effectively to those who are immersed in the new culture.


Crider gives six tips to gain cultural  insight through observation:

1. Pray, then watch. We must ask God for spiritual wisdom to reach the people around us.

2. Go in community. Be with people, around people, and take someone with you.

3. Observe humbly. Try to avoid assumptions and take note of what you see.

4. Ask questions. Ask them what they believe and why.

5. Take notes. This will help you see connections, opportunities and challenges around you.

6. Join wisely. Adapt to the culture around you without sinning or compromising Scriptural values.


Be patient with people who are not familiar with churches or Christianity; for them, hearing the gospel is like hearing a foreign language – they need us to help them understand.

Dr. Lynn Hardaway



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