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How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth Paperback – Special Edition, November 9, 2003
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From the Back Cover
Understanding the Bible isn't for the few, the gifted, the scholarly. The Bible is accessible. It's meant to be read and comprehended by everyone from armchair readers to seminary students. A few essential insights into the Bible can clear up a lot of misconceptions and help you grasp the meaning of Scripture and its application to your 21st-century life.
More than half a million people have turned to How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth to inform their reading of the Bible. This third edition features substantial revisions that keep pace with current scholarship, resources, and culture. Changes include:
â¢A new authors' preface
â¢Several chapters rewritten for better readability
â¢Updated list of recommended commentaries and resources
Covering everything from translational concerns to different genres of biblical writing, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth is used all around the world. In clear, simple language, it helps you accurately understand the different parts of the Bible--their meaning for ancient audiences and their implications for you today--so you can uncover the inexhaustible worth that is in God's Word.
About the Author
Douglas Stuart is Professor of Old Testament and Chair of the Division of Biblical Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He holds the B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Among his earlier writings are Studies in Early Hebrew Meter, Old Testament Exegesis: A Primer for Students and Pastors, and Favorite Old Testament Passages.
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Fee and Stuart share how to read AND understand the bible better with a two-step approach. First, start with exegesis. In other words, "reconstruct" the writing by figuring out "who" the inspired author was writing to (audience), the historical context (setting), and the REASON (purpose or condition)for the writing. Second, perform hermeneutics (the study of the theory and practice of Scriptural interpretation). This will help you understand how the text that was written to an earlier audience can be applied to YOUR life. But you have to follow the steps in that order. Otherwise you might extract the wrong thing.
This book helped me because I've been guilty of cherry-picking "verses" from the bible to fit a particular situation. The danger in that, according to Fee and Stuart, lies in taking things out of "context" and totally misconstruing what the inspired author meant when he initially wrote it. This book underscores and reiterates the need for us to make sure we read the passages, not in "verse" or "sentence", but rather in "paragraph" to ensure the biblical author's initial meaning isn't lost. I "get it" now Mr. Fee and Mr. Stuart. Thanks.
BUY THIS BOOK! You will be enriched once you start looking at the Holy text in a new way. You will ask more meaningful questions as you read the bible. You will enjoy "reconstructing" the biblical setting(s)of the text. Plus Fee and Stuart provide great suggested reading in the appendix.
Bless you for reading my comment :)
Fee and Stuart have properly provided guidelines to interpretation for the multiple genres of literature found in the Bible. Further they differentiate between exegesis and hermeneutics, again seemingly in an attempt to foster broader thinking from the reader. Their book is not rule-based in its methodology but is sincerely guidelines oriented, a significant difference.
Arguably Stuart's writings on the Old Testament are better managed than are Fee's on the New. Stuart's analysis of the OT genres seems largely spot on and consistent with historic conservative evangelical viewpoints. For example he properly asserts that the OT contract has expired and as such its laws are no longer in force today, except as they are coincidently reflected by NT commandments.
Fee, while very good overall, does take a stand or two that might leave some feeling uncomfortable. For example he posits that the parables are the message that Jesus was presenting rather than more often being illustrations that derive their meaning from the context of the encapsulating message that Jesus was teaching. Fee also emphasizes the need to understand the culture of the 1st Century as a foundation for correct interpretation. But he overstates this importance just a bit implying that the relative nature of culture makes some of the NT teachings and commands also relative.
There are two books that I have routinely suggested are obligatory reading for all Sunday School teachers: Virkler's book on Hermeneutics and this one by Fee and Stuart. Both books function as introductory texts for first year Bible college students who are just beginning to learn how to interpret the Scriptures for themselves. As such they are excellent primers for all who serve in the church as teachers of the Word.
This book takes the bible and divides it into sections based on the way it was written (narratives, epistles, psalms, prophets, etc.) and shows you how to put the scripture into context based on culture and era. It then shows you how to take that context and relate it to our own culture and era.
Though some opinions are expressed, the authors encourage readers to find their own views. This book is full of helpful hints, cautions and warnings about the way you interpret without commanding you to do things a certain way.
I feel like the negative reviews for this book were from people looking for an exhaustive reference for everything in the bible. That's not what this book is. It's for people starting out in biblical interpretation beyond what you learn in Sunday School at church. It introduces terms like Exegesis and Hermeneutics without going over the reader's head. If you're a seminary student or bible scholar, go get yourself a 1000 page text book instead of picking up a $10 beginners book.
So in conclusion, if you're looking for a way to start reading the bible in a more in-depth manner with regards to context and translation, definitely pick up this book. It's made me more excited to pick up my bible and start reading from a different perspective.