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Compact Guide to the Whole Bible: Learning To Read Scripture's Story Paperback – February 17, 2015
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From the Back Cover
--C. Clifton Black, Princeton Theological Seminary
"A Compact Guide is unique in its sweeping, fast-paced, accessible invitation to read the Bible--the whole Bible--in all of its wonderful, challenging presentation of the God who meets us in this ancient, tough, revealing, and relevant book. Perhaps the greatest gift of A Compact Guide is that it dares to present the Bible as Scripture. Generations of people have lived and died by this book, have met a living, revealing God through its stories and pronouncements, and have been taken places they could never have gone without Scripture taking them there."
--Will Willimon, Duke Divinity School; former bishop, the United Methodist Church
"It's easy to find introductory textbooks that overwhelm students with information and theories about the Bible--textbooks that complicate rather than open up the Bible to its readers. The promise of this slender volume is its commitment genuinely to invite students into the Bible by giving readers a keen sense of how each section of Scripture contributes to the whole and by identifying key landmarks for making sense of the biblical materials. This Compact Guide is the obvious choice for undergraduate courses concerned with the Bible as the church's book and for congregational use."
--Joel B. Green, Fuller Theological Seminary
"Those of us who teach Scripture as part of a larger theological enterprise often long for a concise and accessible way to present the whole scope of Scripture to students. This book is an answer to those longings. It is clear, theologically acute, and written with beginning students in mind. These colleagues have brought their scholarly expertise and their commitment to reading theologically to bear on the whole Bible. The result is a collaborative work that is unified in its approach, uniformly accessible, and of immense value to the rest of us."
--Stephen Fowl, Loyola University Maryland
"This book is written by authors deeply committed to and engaged in both the life of faith (church) and the life of the mind (academy). They deftly weave the two together as they guide readers through the Bible. The inclusion of the intertestamental history and literature is a real gift and distinguishes this compact guide from even lengthy introductions to the Bible. If you are concerned with biblical illiteracy among Christians, this would be an excellent choice to give a solid grounding in God's dynamic drama."
Nancy R. Bowen, professor of Old Testament, Earlham School of Religion
"It is notoriously challenging to write a brief, thoughtful, one-volume introduction to the Bible, especially when one recalls that there are commentaries on smaller books in the biblical canon like the Song of Songs or the Petrine Epistles that run into hundreds of pages. I commend the editors and chapter writers for succeeding admirably in facing such a challenge. They have written an exceptional text whose primary (but not exclusive) target audience will be undergraduate students enrolled in an introduction to the Bible class. Were I to teach such a course, this would easily be the volume I would use in such a class."
Victor P. Hamilton, professor emeritus of Old Testament, Asbury University
"Wall and Nienhuis have assembled a concise and readable guide to the Bible as Christian Scripture. This is not your typical historical and literary introduction but a guide to the Bible as the church's sacred canon. It is an outstanding resource for learning to read the biblical texts theologically and a gift both to the church and to the academy."
David F. Watson, academic dean and vice president for academic affairs, United Theological Seminary
"Many Christians, from college students to laypersons in Bible study groups, need a quick overview of the whole Bible to better understand this sacred text. These scholars have provided an easily understandable, comprehensive, and yet well-grounded introduction to the Bible. For those who read Scripture as God's Word for God's people, this is a very helpful book."
Scott J. Jones, bishop, Great Plains Area, the United Methodist Church
"In a world where people go to war in the name of God and Scripture and where matters of law, morality, and ethics often lack foundation and context, a biblical people must master--and be mastered by--Scripture's story. This volume presents that story in a way that helps us grasp its major themes and movements and thus provides light for interpreting, assessing, and applying the Bible today. I commend it highly to those charged with communicating the story, to those whose lives should reflect the story, and to all seekers for whom the story begs to be told."
David W. Kendall, bishop, Free Methodist Church-USA
About the Author
- Item Weight : 9 ounces
- Paperback : 176 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0801049830
- ISBN-13 : 978-0801049835
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.44 x 8.5 inches
- Publisher : Baker Academic (February 17, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #788,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Beginning (Genesis - Deuteronomy)
Israel (Joshua - Esther)
Poetry (Job - Song of Songs)
Prophetic Witnesses (Isaiah - Malachi)
Between the Testaments
The Four Gospels (Matthew - John)
The Church (Acts and Letters)
The authors believe that in order to teach the Bible well, one needs to have a big picture idea of how the Bible books are connected to one another. The way to approach it is to use to "narrative-theological approach" so that one understands not only the individual narratives of each book but the overarching theological umbrella that connects them. Applications will flow naturally once we have an encounter with Scripture. In "Reading the Bible as Scripture," Castelo and Wall warn us against subjective interpretations and premature use of modern tools. The Scriptures need to be studied from the position of "deep respect" rather than from a position of personal wants. While many people are concerned about the applications section, faithful interpretation is needed first. This means doing the hard work of understanding what the ancient texts mean then. Any interpretation needs to be "Christ-centered, Spirit-led, and church-related in theological orientation and practical results." Then, in order to avoid any reductionistic, subjective, contestable, or non-contextual interpretations, we need a way to link the various meta-narratives together.
The whole book flows from Genesis to Revelation in a somewhat chronological fashion. It is the key ideas that drive the summary. What is very unique in this book is the way each section is sewn into the overall meta-narrative. Broad themes are introduced and theological aspects are stressed. Each chapter covers a standard structure.
How the story contributes to the Metanarrative
Where the story is placed
What we learn about God?
What we learn about being God's people?
What we learn about God's world?
This is indeed a compact guide, helpful for telling us the big story of the Bible. It is not easy to summarize the Bible into such a format, so it is helpful not to look at the book as a summary but as a Metanarrative guide. With a big picture perspective, we will avoid missing the forest for the trees. It helps us in our study, our interpretation, and our applications. Many Bible study groups in churches and Christian organizations often like to study the Bible but do not know what to choose. Two of the popular ones are the Bible books and the topical studies. With this guide, we can do both in the sense that we can choose a Bible book according to the Metanarrative themes. This will help various groups to cover as much of the big picture as possible and not overly depend on a raw scheme such as alternating between Bible books. This compact guide equips one to choose any book from each of the eight metanarrative chunks in chronological fashion making our Bible studies a lot more broad-based and intentional.
Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.
This book is provided to me courtesy of Baker Academic and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.