July 26, 2005
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth
Periodically as I study here at Gordon-Conwell, I would like to share with you our readers some of the great things I am learning here and perhaps pass on the name of some good books. Here is my first recommendation: "How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth" by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart. This book can be read by anyone and is not by any means technical in nature. The book was written for the regular church attender who would like to be able to get the most out of reading their Bible like the title implies. This book does not really contain background info or commentary on the books of the Bible. Instead, Fee & Stuart show you how to approach the different books of the Bible based on the different literary forms. For example, how should we understand the psalms compared to the parables of Christ. Or how do we approach the Old Testament prophetical books or Revelations. The most helpful aid they provide is to give you the right questions to ask yourself as you read specific parts of the Bible. Are we to obey all the Old Testament laws and hold them to the same degree we do the Sermon on the Mount? Was the book of Acts intended to be a handbook about how to order the Church for all time or was it merely descriptive of the first century church? The way you answer these questions will drastically change how you read and understand these books of the Bible. The only way I can compare what this book can do for your understanding of the Bible is to compare it to a class I took in college where we studied the art of film and learned makes a movie a great movie and what makes a dud a dud. After taking that course, for better or for worse, I have never been able to watch another movie in the same way since. I believe that this book will have the same effect concerning your study of the Bible. You can find it used starting around $7 at Amazon.com. If anyone else has read this book or heard of it I would love to hear your comments. For those of you who attended Hillsdale, a lot of what is covered in the book was taught by Prof Westblade at different points in his Intro to Western Religion, New Testament and Old Testament courses. I am actually quite surprised that he did not have this as required reading for any of these courses. If I ever teaching an intro to Bible course, I believe this will be required reading for my students.