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Knowing Scripture Paperback – March 25, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


"A contemporary classic to learning, understanding and applying scripture for beginning Bible students and practiced theologians. Sproul is a master at both teaching the Bible and in studying in a way that draws you closer to the heart and mind of God. In this revised edition of the worl, Sproul provides even more guidelines for reading, study and application of the Bible's truths." (On Mission, 2009 Pastor's Edition)

"Probably the best, most readable introduction to biblical interpretation available." (Knowing & Doing, Spring 2009)

"This little book should be required reading for any beginning student of the Bible." (Christianity Today)

"The Bible excites him and his excitement is infectious." (J. I. Packer)

About the Author

R. C. Sproul, theologian, pastor and teacher, is founder of Ligonier Ministries, an international teaching ministry based in Orlando, Florida. He holds doctorate degrees from Free University of Amsterdam and Whitefield Theological Seminary, and is author of more than sixty books, general editor of The Reformation Study Bible and executive editor of Tabletalk magazine. Sproul is senior minister of preaching at Saint Andrew's Chapel and can be heard daily on the radio broadcast Renewing Your Mind.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books; Revised Edition edition (March 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 083083723X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830837236
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. R.C. Sproul is founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries, an international Christian education ministry located near Orlando, Fla. He is also co-pastor of Saint Andrew's Chapel in Sanford, Fla., chancellor of Reformation Bible College, and executive editor of Tabletalk magazine. He can be heard on the radio program Renewing Your Mind, which is broadcast on hundreds of radio outlets in the United States and around the world, and on RefNet 24-hour Christian internet radio. Dr. Sproul has contributed dozens of articles to national evangelical publications, has spoken at conferences, churches, and schools around the world, and has written more than ninety books, including The Holiness of God, Faith Alone, and Everyone's a Theologian. He also serves as general editor of The Reformation Study Bible.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Tim Challies TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
One of Satan's greatest triumphs is in convincing Christians to abandon the Bible, or at least keeping them from really mining its depths. He tries to convince us that the Bible is outdated, unimportant or less important than many other things. He tries to convince us that it is difficult to understand and that we should rely on others to interpret it for us.

R.C. Sproul wrote Knowing Scripture early in his career to address these concerns and out of a desire to see Christians dedicate themselves to a systematic study of the Bible. Written in 1977, this is one of Sproul's earliest but most important and highly recommended books.

Sproul begins with an introduction to why we should read the Bible. He dispels myths regarding Scripture being too difficult to understand or too boring to hold our attention. From that foundation he shows how the principle of private interpretation was a pillar of the Reformation and thus remains a pillar of Protestantism. He explains what private interpretation is and what it is not. He shows, for example, that it does not preclude us from verifying our interpretations against those of others. He also stresses the need for objectivity as we read the Scripture. In short, he keeps us from viewing private interpretation as being a method of forcing Scripture to say what we want it to say.

He dedicates a chapter to an introduction to hermeneutics. Do not be scared by this technical word as it simply means "a list of rules and guidelines for interpreting Scripture." Some of the concepts he introduces are:

* The analogy of faith. This says that Scripture interprets Scripture, or that one passage supports and explains another. It also means that one part of Scripture never corrects another part, for Scripture needs to correction.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By RigelK on February 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
_Knowing Scripture_ by R. C. Sproul is my favorite Bible study aid. I use it as a steady reference. I recommend this text not only to Christians but to anyone studying the Bible as a text. This book is very useful for a broad spectrum of Bible students from the beginning Christian reader to the seasoned theologian to the nonChristian approaching the Bible as a historical, literary work.
While Sproul holds that the Bible is the inspired word of God, this is not a fundamentalist text. Thoughtful analysis and interpretation are taken on with an eye to culture, author intent, literary style, and other factors. This book is a priceless vault of information and tools. Common pitfalls in Bible study are dealt with and explained. It is a short, easy read in a friendly conversational style but has great depths of information to plumb...look at is as a key that opens the door to a new level of intelligent Bible study. I cannot stress how well written and very useful this book is. When you hand someone a new Bible, toss in a copy of _Knowing Scripture_, too. I recommend this book with the greatest intensity.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bart Breen VINE VOICE on December 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I actually listened to the audio version of this book on CD. RC Sproul is a very easy to listen to speaker and he has a gift of making difficult concepts seem easy.

Contrary to a few reviews here, Sproul is not advocating an elitist approach to Scripture where only the "pro" dare to wrestle with Scriptural interpretation and understanding. Quite the opposite. Sproul is seeking to put the tools into the hands of his listeners.

Over and over he provides general principles and approaches that should help to keep the reader from falling into common errors that have been present and prevalent within the Church for many years.

The one proviso that I picked up on, and it isn't so much a criticism as it is an observation is that Sproul is a reformed theologian and he is not afraid to select some passages for use as an example as to how it is possible to "get something wrong." Some of his choices are bravely chosen from those that are among the more controversial, such as women's role in the church and some on the charismatic gifts. Sproul gives a brave rendering as to why these should be understood as he understands them from the traditional reformed position. In doing so he fails to give all the information available from other positions that makes their positions equally viable. In fairness, that may be beyond the scope of his purpose, but in that event I still think it behooves the speaker to be a little more generous and less dogmatic where there are non-cardinal issues being addressed. Perhaps it is asking too much.

Nevertheless this is an excellent resource to get in good layman's terms the most important Biblical Study tools to navigate the Scripture and avoid many of the pitfalls experienced when common fallacies in logic and approach to a literary and historical document are violated, even by well-meaning Christians who hold the text's inspiration and relevance in highest regard.

A very worthwhile read or listen.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D.P. on July 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
In my opinion, this is one of Sproul's best works. He has written some excellent books, and he also has a great passion for the body of Christ. This book was used as a textbook in my Hermeneutics class at school, because it is an excellent book for Pastors to use to equip the church with the basic principles of Hermeneutics. I like it when Sproul goes into the different translations, and points out the bad KJV translation of 1 John 5:7 (our earliest manuscripts do not corroborate with this translation). Most people in the modern day church do not think Hermeneutics is necessary. They rely on their existential Barthian interpretations. Sproul attacks this prevalent view with this quote, "We don't need Theology, just give us Jesus." Sproul responds, "Who is Jesus?" They give him their answer, and Sproul says, "Thank you for your Theology." I laughed at this, because that is so reminiscent of the Christians of today. Every Pastor should conduct his congregation into the basic principles of Hermeneutics, and this is the book to use.
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