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He Gave Us Stories: The Bible Student's Guide to Interpreting Old Testament Narratives Paperback – June 1, 1993


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He Gave Us Stories: The Bible Student's Guide to Interpreting Old Testament Narratives + Kingdom of Priests: A History of Old Testament Israel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 493 pages
  • Publisher: P & R Publishing (June 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087552379X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875523798
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. F Foster on May 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
This was one of the first significant treatments of a literary approach to hermeneutics within evangelical circles at the time the book was first published. And while I personally don't think a literary hermeneutic is the only good way to read the Bible, Pratt does a good job of demonstrating that such an approach has much to commend it.
Traditional evangelicals and liberals alike tend to like dissecting the Bible into little pieces (verses or even words within verses) as its primary technique of Scriptural examination and interpretation. While this is certainly not bad at all, Pratt properly believes that such an emphasis carries with it the very real danger of contextual tunnel vision, where we miss the larger picture and end up missing a lot of what the Bible intends to teach us. Pratt's hermeneutic in this book emphasizes the importance of investigating the 'original meaning' of the text - how the text was to be understood by the original historical audience it was being written to. For example, if Moses wrote Genesis during the time of the exodus as the Israelites were either at Mt. Sinai or in the plains of Moab about to enter Canaan, this historical background helps the modern reader gain added insight into not only what Moses said, but why he said it. While there are dangers with this, as I will discuss below, when handled properly, much that we either didn't understand or particularly care about in the Old Testament become extremely fascinating and meaningful.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brian Douglas on December 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
In He Gave Us Stories, Dr. Pratt introduces Old Testament interpretation in an approachable way. His aim, as stated in the preface, is to provide "motivated lay people and beginning theological students" with a method for biblical interpretation that is more practical and less technical. Through this approach, He Gave Us Stories appeals to a wider audience than a more scholarly volume would.
The principle idea of He Gave Us Stories is that the Old Testament narratives provide not simply a history of the Jewish people, but a revelation of God and the imperatives He has given man. However, because these truths are in story format, they must be interpreted to be of use to God's people today.
The backbone of the book is Dr. Pratt's three-fold approach to Biblical interpretation. The first four chapters cover the subject of "Preparing for Old Testament Narratives," the middle eight chapters deal with "Investigating the Old Testament Narratives," and the final four chapters are on "Applying the Old Testament Narratives." Dr. Pratt likens this approach to an archaeologist, who much invest a great deal of time, thought, and effort as he prepares for his project, searches for his treasures, and transports his discoveries home.
He Gave Us Stories provides more a simple method of hermeneutics than a formal system of biblical theology. With the exception of Chapter 12: Overview of Old Testament Narratives, the purpose, structure, and content of this book are pointed toward the exposition and application of individual texts.
This book is a useful tool for students and teachers of the Bible alike. Dr. Pratt has succeeded in making it accessible to those who are not textual and hermeneutical scholars.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David A. Sims on September 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book requires mental work, but it is rewarding. Dr. Pratt's hermeneutic is revolutionary in the sense that it allows the reader-student (you must study it to get the meat of it) to unlock OT narratives like never before. His three-prong paradigm for interpreting a OT narrative text (and any narrative text) is simply profound. His hermeneutical adjustments from original meaning (epochal, cultural & personal) are very useful and helpful tools in the quest to rightly interpret any OT text. I heartily recommend this book to any serious student of the Bible. If possible, it would be best to read the text along with Dr. Pratt's audio or video tapes as he teaches through the book, if those are available. Soli Deo gloria, David Sims
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have heard Richard speak, you will appreciate this book. You can hear him as you read, it just adds the structures of academia. When I first became a Christian and went to a Christian University, I found myself asking, "Why did God not write the Bible in the fashion of a good systematic theology book--nice and linear and organized?" Richard reminded me that those systematic books of the Apostle Paul are nuanced in the stories where they are observed in the "flesh". This is a book worth reading for every serious student of the Bible--and if you are one of those who bypasses the Old Testament except of selected verses this book is especially for you.
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