Christian African emerging adults’ epistemological understanding of the authority of the Bible with particular reference to contextual evangelism

  • Talitha Korner South African Theological Seminary
  • Dr Shaun Joynt South African Theological Seminary
Keywords: contextual evangelism, emerging adults, authority of the Bible, epistemic understanding, practical theology


The primary objective of this paper was to demonstrate that among the emerging adults of Mamelodi, Gauteng, South Africa, there appears to be a perceived lack of comprehension of the epistemic authority of the Bible. It currently hinders the proclamation of the gospel in a significant and contextual manner, within a Charismatic, Catholic and Lutheran Church. The construal of Biblical authority is from a conservative evangelical perspective and does not purport to represent an ecumenical construal of such authority.

Through semi-structured interviews, the researcher explored Christian African emerging adult’s epistemic understanding of the Bible, focusing on contextual evangelism. Fifteen participants (eight males and seven females) from three different denominations (Catholic, Charismatic and Lutheran) participated in the study. The researcher conducts a case study to investigate her perception of a lack of understanding of the Bible’s authority. The findings based on the interviews reveal a disturbing neglect in reading and understanding the Bible and applying biblical principles in participants’ lives. This thesis concludes with a summary of a clearer understanding of the Bible's authority amongst emerging adults.