Tanzania's Philipo Mafuja on Bible Study

Philipo Mafuja, president of Nassa Theological College in Mwanza, Tanzania, is passionate about training pastors and ministers to teach others about the Bible. If you haven’t read our interview with Philipo Mafuja yet, that story is available at http://www.biblestudymagazine.com, and in the May-June 2016 issue of Bible Study Magazine.

When we talked with Mafuja a couple of months ago, he also shared a little about the Bible study routine he’s kept for years. Here’s what he had to say:

First of all, I must be in a place whereby there's no noise—a solitary, quiet place, where there will no interruption. I give myself 30 to 40 minutes to do the reading and have some time to reflect. I prefer to have some Bible tools on hand, like a Bible dictionary.

I usually use a plan that lays out my readings for a year. Lately, I’ve been using Scripture Union guides. Yesterday I was reading 1 Corinthians 1:10-25. Each day you have 10–15 verses. But my approach is the same, whether I’m reading a single verse or a whole chapter. I must check the previous passage to see what it's talking about, and also read the following passage, in order to understand the context. It’s important to understand what the author is writing before and after the assigned passage, so that you have a clear context.

I usually follow four steps when I'm doing my Bible study: first, I make observations of some keywords and phrases to understand the passage I'm reading. Next, I make sure that I understand the context of the passage--to understand who is writing, and who are the recipients of that text. From there, I take some time to draw insights or some lessons I've discovered from that passage. Lastly, I think about how I can apply the text in my context. That is my approach for Bible study.

To read more about Philipo Mafuja’s work in Tanzania, and to read interviews from scholars all over the majority world, subscribe to Bible Study Magazine.