Crossing Cultures in Scripture: Biblical Principles for Mission Practice

Crossing Cultures Through Scripture: Biblical Principles for Mission Practice is an excellent book that guides the reader to explore the many cross-cultural encounters described throughout the Bible.  There are instances of crossing cultures from Genesis through to Revelation, and author Marvin Newell sets out to show the reader what can be learned from each encounter, and how what we see in cross-cultural encounters in Scripture can be applied to cross-cultural encounters today.

Marvin Newell is the Senior Vice President of Missio Nexus,  an organization that seeks to promote missiological awareness throughout their network of churches.  They seek to advance the effectiveness of North Americans in fulfilling the Great Commission to the nations. He has served in various roles relating to missions for many years, serving as a missionary to Indonesia for over twenty years.  Marvin Newell also holds a doctorate degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in the area of missiology.  Combining his many years of experience with his high education, Newell is a great person to write a book on the theme of crossing cultures through Scripture.


Scripture is a crosscultural book. It was written in cross-cultural contexts. Its full of cross-cultural encounters. It assumes cross-cultural movements. It ends with cross-cultural worship.

The Bible is a cross-cultural book, that is written in many different cultural contexts.  Crossing Cultures in Scripture recognizes that, and starts in Genesis and slowly works its way through to Revelation showing cross cultural encounters.  From Eden to eternity, the author sought to point out various  lessons in understanding various cultures (such as honor/shame societies), embracing the cultures that you are working with and the various situations that you may encounter with cultures different than your own, multicultural leadership, cross-cultural conflict revolution, and sharing the gospel and communicating Christ with those who have never heard of Christ and are deeply engrained in idol worship.  There are many crucial lessons to be learned throughout Crossing Cultures in Scripture, and it is important to read through each chapter slowly and reflectively, seeking to find application.  Each chapter ends with a practical application section, that I found especially helpful in thinking through the concepts discussed. I really love books that recognize the importance of personal application and include either reflective questions or a brief summary of what the takeaway from that chapter was.  This book includes a “Crossing Takeaway” at the end of every chapter, and I really loved the short summary included in these sections.

This is a helpful book that fills a gap in our biblical theology.  I’ve read many books about theology and missions, but I really appreciated the way that Marvin Newell sought to help the reader to understand the many times that the Bible crosses cultures.  I really enjoyed this book, and found it especially helpful as I was reading Zondervan’s Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible at the same time and got a deeper look into the various cultures that were covered in this book. I found the pairing of this book with that Bible super helpful, and think they are a great option as a pair if you are considering a deeper study of the cultures in Scripture.

Crossing Cultures Through Scripture is a great book that I think many could learn from, I feel that it would be especially helpful to those who are in pastoral ministry and want to further their knowledge of how the crossing of cultures is woven throughout the Bible, or those who are studying to cross-cultures and engage in foreign missions within a culture different than their own.  This book includes many thoughtful, practical applications that are helpful in discerning how crossing cultures in biblical times is actually similar to crossing cultures now, two thousand years later.

Newell, Marvin. Crossing Cultures in Scripture: Biblical Principles for Mission Practice. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2016. 287pp. Paperback, $20.00

Buy itAmazon Christian Book

Visit the publisher’s page.

Thanks to InterVarsity Press for the review copy!

About Sydney Herron

Sydney is a student at Boyce College at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, studying Business Administration. Sydney loves her family, camping/hiking, icecream, all things Disney, Canada, and reading.

Leave a Reply