Saturday, January 28, 2012

What is a Missional Hermeneutic?

I wrote this essay for Catalyst a couple of years ago. It remains a good place to being the conversation about missional hermeneutics.

A missional hermeneutic is an interpretive approach that privileges mission as the key to reading the Scriptures. Missional hermeneutics works across the spectrum of approaches to the biblical text. It takes seriously the historical situation of the text (“behind the text”). It recognizes the influence of the reader’s social location (“in front of the text”). Yet it is fundamentally rooted in a close reading of the text (“the world of the text”). A missional hermeneutic seeks to hear the Scriptures as an authoritative guide to God’s mission in the world so that communities of faith can participate fully in God’s mission.

At the 2008 meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, G.R. Hunsberger (“Proposals for a Missional Hermeneutic: Mapping the Conversation”) reviewed current proposals on missional hermeneutics and organized them into four categories: The Missional Direction of the Story, The Missional Locatedness of the Readers, The Missional Engagement with Cultures, and The Missional Purpose of the Writings. I have adopted Hunsberger’s categories for the purposes of this essay.

Read the rest:


  1. Hello Brian,

    I found your sight and was trying to access this article, but it looks like the link/ site no longer works. Is there another way to access your article?


  2. It looks like the original domain is pending renewal. I'll post my article on this site.

  3. Thank you. I'm a church planter in Calgary, and I'm loving this stuff on the missional hermeneutic. Thanks for your work.