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Out of Context: How to Avoid Misinterpreting the Bible Paperback – November 1, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Are you guilty of interpretive malpractice? Here's how to prevent it from happening again.

Although 92 percent of American households own at least one Bible, only 59 percent read it occasionally, and an even smaller percentage actually study it. It is no wonder that even those of us who value the Scriptures often don't understand them!

In Out of Context, veteran Bible professor Richard L. Schultz uses contemporary examples of "interpretive malpractice" to explain how biblical interpretation can go wrong--and how to get it right. He introduces you to the important concepts of context, word meaning, and genre and the differences between the world of the Bible and our own. With the expert help in interpreting and applying Scripture shared in this book, you'll find your Bible reading more rewarding than ever before.

About the Author

Richard L. Schultz (PhD, Yale University) is the Blanchard Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He is a regular contributor to scholarly journals and theological and biblical dictionary projects. He lives in Wheaton, Illinois

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (November 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080107228X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801072284
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dr Conrade Yap TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
How will you feel when the powerful book of biblical promises, or the highly encouraging book about marriage, or the beautiful applications of biblical principles by your favourite Christian authors, are good on the outside, but on the inside, have quoted Scriptures out of context? Shocked? Surprised? According to Richard L Schultz, far too many popular Christian authors are misinterpreting the Bible when they write their books.

Schultz boldly critiques the works of many well-known authors like Bruce Wilkinson, Henry Cloud, John Townsend, James Dobson, Larry Crabb, Gary Smalley, John Trent, John Eldredge, Joshua Harris, Rick Warren, and many more. Even well respected authors like Eugene Peterson and James Houston are not spared. He points out the five common fallacies of failing to respect the contexts of narrative texts. He speaks out against the fallacy of people trying to find "Christ everywhere in the Old Testament." He also accuses authors of either misinterpreting the Bible or misapplying the lessons. He warns against "prooftexting," the art of finding a verse in the Bible to prove our own purposes. He cautions readers against "textjacking" that lifts verses out of their original contexts. Schultz knows that his critiques will generate a lot of counter-responses, which is why he takes pains to explain his position. At the same time, he offers 7 ways to read Scripture within the right context.

Schultz does not intend to belittle Christian authors or popular Christian books. It is a challenge to authors to do their homework properly. It is a call for Christians to read their books with a Bible in hand. It is written by one who cares about right teaching, good biblical understanding, and hard work of research that honours God.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James Korsmo VINE VOICE on March 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
Richard Schultz, a professor of OT at Wheaton College, takes readers on a journey of learning. The terrain is biblical interpretation. This book, intended for the general reader, is full of very sound advice in how to approach the biblical text. Key to his argument is that misinterpretation is all to common in the church today. After a brief by entertaining introduction based on the Jabez prayer phenomenon, he helps readers appreciate why misinterpretation is dangerous. He then gives a very well-rounded set of instructions for how to pursue a sound interpretation of the text that appreciates its cultural and biblical context, harnessing a broad array of hermeneutical tools in a helpful and friendly way. I think this book does a great service in both laying bare the misuse of Scripture that is too often let pass in the church and in popular Christian literature and at the same time making a case that anyone can handle the Bible in a responsible manner. Schultz's work can help give confidence (and also some important caution) to anyone who desires to treat the Bible with the respect it deserves. This is an important way we can all show the true value of God's Word.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Paul R. Bruggink on May 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Richard Schultz's goal for this book is to promote reading the Bible with understanding and appropriate application.

In the first six chapters, he presents and discusses specific examples of different types of biblical misinterpretation and misapplication, usually to make or reinforce a point that the author wants to make. Richard Schultz then shows how one can interpret biblical texts more accurately and apply them more appropriately.

Then in the seventh and summary chapter (What's So Bad about "Textjacking"?), he makes a final plea for taking the divine and human authors' original intentions more seriously when handling Scripture.

He then raises and discusses five possible objections to his approach: (1) that he is being judgmental, (2) that he is suggesting that only professional biblical scholars are able to interpret the Bible correctly, (3) that he is denying the role of the Holy Spirit in illuminating interpreters, (4) that he is ignoring the fact that there are competing interpretations of a given text, and (5) that he is more concerned with correct interpretation than with edifying the church of Jesus Christ.

He argues that the problem cannot just be ignored because: (1) misinterpretation is a bad hermeneutical habit that should be stopped before it gets worse, (2) Christians instinctively want to use the Bible to ground their views in Scripture when Scripture is actually silent on many current issues, (3) Christians often derive the right doctrines or ethical principles from the wrong texts, (4) misinterpretation results in invoking biblical authority to support their own ideas, and (5) misinterpretation promotes a faulty view of how God speaks to the church today through his words.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book takes a practical look at the ways that the Bible is used, and at times twisted, to fit into modern day times and situations. The author does an excellent job of showing how the Bible is often misinterpreted and why it is so important to handle God's word properly.
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This book helps to put verses in proper perspective.Many folks are unaware of the way scriptures are misapplied and misunderstood.
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