The Bible and Borders

Hearing God's Word on Immigration

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With so many people around the globe migrating, how should Christians and the church respond? Leading Latino-American biblical scholar M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas) helps readers understand what the Bible says about immigration, offering accessible, nuanced, and sympathetic guidance for the church.

After two successful editions of Christians at the Border, and having talked and written about immigration over the past decade, Carroll has sharpened his focus and refined his argument to make sure we hear clearly what the Bible says about one of the most pressing issues of our day. He has reworked the biblical material, adding insights and broadening the frame of reference beyond the US. As Carroll explores the surprising amount of material in the Old and New Testaments that deals with migration, he shows how this topic is fundamental to the message of the Bible and how it affects our understanding of God and the mission of the church.

1. "My Father Was a Wandering Aramean": Stories of Migration in the Old Testament
The Image of God
Experiences of the People of God
2. "You Are to Love Those Who Are Foreigners": Old Testament Law and the Sojourner
Hospitality in the Ancient World
Legislation concerning the Sojourner
3. Entertaining Angels Unawares: Hospitality for the Stranger in the New Testament
Learning from Jesus
Christians as Sojourners
The Call to Hospitality
What about Romans 13?
Epilogue: The Scriptures and the Future


"The great virtue of The Bible and Borders is the gift of a simple and compelling argument. 'Immigrant peoples' has become a subject overpoliticized and understudied on the basis of a careful reading of the biblical truth. Carroll teaches us that immigrants are first and foremost human beings with biblical dignity rather than political objects of modern ideologies and patriotic narratives. He asserts that a biblically grounded attitude toward immigrants ought to be shalom-hospitality as registered in the canon and the witness of the diasporic church of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, native-born Christians are expected to embrace the immigrant, refugee, or asylee with shalom-hospitality as a mark of being a true witness to Jesus Christ, even if making such a stand may cause us 'to suffer for doing good' as part of our pilgrimage of faith. The Bible and Borders is a candid invitation to reconsider our biblical grounds as we all seek to become faithful disciples of the reign of God in a challenging world."

Oscar García-Johnson, assistant provost, Fuller Theological Seminary; author of Spirit Outside the Gate

"Daniel Carroll has long provided an authoritative, biblical perspective on issues of immigration. In The Bible and Borders, he combines top-notch scholarly analysis with a pastoral heart to provide a concise yet thorough review of how the Scriptures should inform a distinctly Christian approach to this complex issue. Please, American Christians, turn off the television, tune out your social media feed, and instead read this book. Allow it--and the Scriptures it points to--to form your heart and mind as you consider how to respond to the immigrants within your community."

Matthew Soerens, US director of church mobilization, World Relief; national coordinator, Evangelical Immigration Table; coauthor of Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion, and Truth in the Immigration Debate

"I have been using Christians at the Border in my own college classroom teaching and in congregational workshops on immigration for the past decade. Carroll's biblical study is historically accurate and culturally informed. While his biblical interpretation is nuanced and complex, his writing style is easily accessible for wide audiences. The Bible and Borders is an excellent, biblically grounded book that can help all Christians think more critically and compassionately about our immigration crisis today."

Julia Lambert Fogg, religion professor, California Lutheran University; author of Finding Jesus at the Border: Opening Our Hearts to the Stories of Our Immigrant Neighbors

"With scholarly depth and pastoral sensitivity, Carroll helps us understand not only the complex dimensions of migration but also how it brings us face-to-face with the crucified and risen Lord in our midst. Taking us beyond polarizing debates, he examines our current policies in light of biblical faith and the gifts and challenges of the reign of God. As one of the most astute and articulate scholars on the Bible and migration, Carroll calls us to contemplate the God who migrated to us in the incarnation and who calls us to move into a new way of thinking and a new relationship with all those we define as 'the other.'"

Daniel G. Groody, CSC, vice president and associate provost, University of Notre Dame

"Danny Carroll asks, 'In a world where over 270 million people are on the move, what does it mean to be the church?' To address that urgent question, he invites us to turn to the pages of the Bible, pages that are full of stories of migrants, refugees, and exiles. Carroll expertly guides us through these rich and complex narratives and carefully explains Old Testament legislation about how people on the move are to be treated. In these difficult times of ours, when so many have turned to the Bible to support unjust laws, policies, and practices that oppress and discriminate against people on the move, this vitally important book belongs in the hands of everyone who wants to understand what the Bible really says about migration and how Christians are called by our faith to respond with compassion to these brothers and sisters of ours."

Jean-Pierre M. Ruiz, associate professor of biblical studies, St. John's University, New York

"Danny Carroll's The Bible and Borders is the best available treatment of how Christians should feel, think, and act concerning the issue of immigration. In a remarkably concise way, Carroll offers key biblical considerations relevant to Christian engagement with immigration--and immigrants. This is the book that needs to be in every Christian's hands right now."

David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and director, Center for Theology and Public Life, Mercer University

"In this deeply personal yet intellectually rigorous book, M. Daniel Carroll R. argues that the entire tenor of the Bible calls for a generous approach to human immigration. This book does not shy away from the challenges facing nation-states or their citizens, nor does it seek simple answers. Yet its meticulous analysis of the biblical witness underscores Scripture's clear call to regard all humans as made in God's image, subject to God's mercy, and therefore of concern to Christians of every stripe. This volume is a must-read for everyone paying attention to one of the greatest human phenomena of our times. Carroll appeals to our humanity and our faith, inviting a similarly hospitable response."

Mark W. Hamilton, Onstead Professor of Biblical Studies, Graduate School of Theology, Abilene Christian University

"Immigration, and even the question of how we describe immigrants, is an issue that Christians cannot ignore. In this clear and passionate study, Danny Carroll addresses this theme, showing how important it is across the whole Bible. Anyone interested in how we deal with this important issue will be challenged to think, and to pray, about this vital topic."

David G. Firth, Trinity College Bristol and University of the Free State

"Danny Carroll is the rare scholar who not only interprets biblical texts in their ancient cultural contexts with profound exegetical insight but also applies them with prophetic vision to today's world. I was already using his Christians at the Border in the classroom. It remains a pioneering book that explores the ethical terrain concerning what the Bible teaches us about welcoming the immigrant as a Christian imperative and integral part of the church's ministry. This sequel builds stronger roads for the church to sojourn together. It makes the connections between the biblical texts and a theology of God's concern for the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant clearer, and with that clarity he issues a powerful challenge to practice hospitality and justice that only the most hardened soul could ignore. Read this book, but only if you are willing for God to change you. It can only be read as a prophetic call to action!"

Max Lee, chair of the biblical field and associate professor of New Testament, North Park Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. M. Daniel Carroll R.

    M. Daniel Carroll R.

    M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas) (PhD, University of Sheffield) is Scripture Press Ministries Professor of Biblical Studies and Pedagogy at Wheaton College and Graduate School in Wheaton, Illinois. He previously taught for many years at El Seminario...

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