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Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did Paperback – November 15, 1999


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Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did + This Is My Body: An Evangelical Discovers The Real Presence + By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Basilica Press; 1 edition (November 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964261065
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964261068
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

...clearly explains not only the Old and New Testaments, but also the way Christians have understood Scripture over the last 2,000 years. -- David Morrison, New Covenant Magazine

A terrific book, accessible and valuable both to folks who are familiar with sacred texts and those who are not. Engaging and even entertaining. -- David Morrison, New Covenant Magazine

In readable, common-sense prose, Shea... makes the roots of the Christian world view accessible in the days of "dot-com." -- Helen Valois, National Catholic Register

Jesus and the Apostles discerned both the literal and spiritual senses of Scripture, but their rich method is lost on most modern Christians. Mark Shea has done us a good turn by teaching this lost art. Read this book; then read Scripture with new eyes. -- Mike Aquilina, Editor, New Covenant Magazine

Shea's effort...echoes St. Thomas Aquinas' basic work explaining the different ways we view Scripture and reflects much of his light as well. -- David Morrison, New Covenant Magazine

Shea's text is scholarly but not stuffy. His writing style is fresh, even breezy, demonstrating nicely that Bible study can be serious and fun at the same time. -- Nancy Hartnagel, Catholic News Service

Three cheers to Mark Shea! This is a book to be snapped up--and read--all the way through. The prose makes easy reading (a great virtue); but the depth and sweep of the material will draw any reader, beginner or expert, into rich vistas. I recommend it highly. -- Dr. Thomas Howard, author of "Evangelical Is Not Enough"

About the Author

Mark P. Shea is a staff writer for the Missionaries of Faith Foundation. He is the author of "By What Authority?: An Evangelical Discovers Tradition" and "This is My Body: An Evangelical Discovers the Real Presence."

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Customer Reviews

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Everyone from high schooler up will learn and enjoy!
Patricia L. Hayes
My small group study focused on this book for about the last 8-10 weeks, and we found it very easy to read, yet very thought- and discussion-provoking!
Lori Turner
Mark Shea is an immensely gifted author, and this book is typical for him, that is, it ranks among the best apologetics books I've read.
Glenn C. Cooper

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By "stpaulsapprentice" on November 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
I echo the words of a previous reviewer: this is a "fun" read. Not only is Shea bright and funny, but the tools with which he equips you in this book (almost without you even knowing it) will stay with you forever, and drastically change the way you read the bible.
Borrowing from the wisdom of the early Church Fathers, Shea shows us how to read the bible with a new pair of eyes, eyes that will penetrate deeper and deeper into these all-too-familiar texts.
As a newcomer to Catholicism, I've been absolutely reveling in this revolutionary (if something 2,000 years old can be called such) way of reading Scripture. I've begun to host bible studies using this method, and the attendents are loving it! I had one girl say, "I've never read the bible like this - this changes everything."
Let Shea introduce you to the early Christians, and let him show you how to read and learn the bible.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Tim Drake VINE VOICE on April 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Building on the success of his earlier works, Mark Shea has written yet another easy- and enjoyable-to-read work that sheds light on the faith.
Shea teaches the reader the art of looking at Scripture in the way that the Apostles did. While Shea draws upon Old and New Testament resources and the riches of the Catholic faith, Shea's style of writing makes it easy for non-theologians to learn what he has learned.
Readers will come away from this book able to look at everything from Genesis to Revelation with newly opened eyes.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By L. Kerr on May 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the second of Mark Shea's books that I've read (the first being "By What Authority? An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition," which I loved even though I'm not now and have never been an evangelical)--and I can attest that his relaxed style, witty approach and--most important--breadth of knowledge of his subject shine through once again. This is a fun read! And yet it's also a serious overview, consistent with the Catechism's remarks on how to read Scripture and chock full of turns of phrase that both delight and make one say "Of course!" I highly recommend it.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Patricia L. Hayes on May 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful book! Every Christian should read it! If you're a Bible reader, you'll love his down to earth, witty insights. If you're leery about opening up the Bible (language is too difficult, too deep, etc.) this book makes you want to take your Bible off the shelf dust it off and dive in.
Everyone from high schooler up will learn and enjoy!
Thank you Mark Shea and keep your books coming!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Labarum VINE VOICE on May 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It may seem odd that the Bible would be a point of contention for Christians since it is usually the one thing they agree upon. Yet with the proliferation of churches and movements within churches has come a proliferation of methodologies for Scriptural interpretation. Various Christian and pseudo-Christian groups devise whole theologies at variance with the historic position of the Church by applying moderninst and post-modernist assumptions to the study of the ancient Biblical texts. Usually they end up telling us more about themselves than God.

Into this morass steps Catholic apologist Mark Shea with a "new" way of looking at the Bible. His new way presented in Making Senses Out of Scripture is to go back to the old way and use the interpretive structure of the earliest Christians. Of course, one may see an ulterior motive in this by guessing that Mr. Shea believes this will place the Catholic position in a favorable light. This is likely the case but there is nothing here that other Christians should find objectionable. If indeed they believe the exegesis of the early Christians would result in Catholic belief, it suggests, to borrown from Shakespeare, that they doth protest too much.

Shea's study is divided into two parts. The first outlines the progressive revelation of Jesus Christ throughout salvation history in the covenants God made with His people. The key here is that the revelation becomes clearer through time and comes into its fullness in the New Testament. Those who attempt to interpret the Old Testament in itself without seeing how it points to and is fulfilled in the New Testament will inevitably result in faulty exegesis.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jason Hann on August 16, 2002
Format: Paperback
Mark Shea gives us a very excellent method for reading the Bible. This book also contains an easy to understand, simplified explaination of the six covenants God has made with man through the ages. It really makes the Old Testament easy to understand and relevant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bobby Bambino on October 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is the only one I know of that presents the sense of scripture in detail on a popular apologetics level, and for that reason, it is a must read for Catholics. Shea unravels the different levels of scripture that we as Catholics must keep in mind when reading the bible.

Shea makes some very clever observations. For example, points out towards the beginning of the book how many people these days say that there is nothing special about humans. Humans are just more evolved animals, and nothing special- a pig is a rat is a boy is a dog. A little bit later, Shea discusses the "conflict" between fundamentalist interpretation of Genesis vs. "scientific" interpretation of Genesis. He argues that we interpret Genesis from a 21st (or 20th) century point of view. He then mentions how the modern skeptic will mock the fact that God was trying to "partner" Adam with all the animals; that no animal was fit for Adam. Did God really think a porcupine would be a suitable partner for Adam? But here is where Shea makes a great insight; pointing out that this is a silly thing for God to do is PRECISELY the point of the Genesis narrative. During the time Genesis was written, people told truths not through philosophical reasoning. but through stories with a message. The message was exactly to illustrate that God made man FUNDAMENTALLY different than animals and that man could find no joy with an animal.

The first part of the book goes through salvation history; specifically the 6 covenants from Adam to Jesus and how they are made. While this is very important stuff and crucial to the book as a whole, it is fairly standard. However, it is the second half of the book that is not usually discussed in great detail in other Catholic books.
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