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Knowing Scripture Paperback – March 25, 2009
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"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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Toward the beginning of college I was seeking guidance on how to approach studying Scripture. How should I approach some of those weird, highly imaginative passages in Ezekiel,... Read morePublished 12 days ago by Dakota W.
Excellent primer for new scholars and refresher for older Bible vets.Published 1 month ago by Angel L. Roman
Excellent to accompany the online course on biblical interpretation from Ligonier connect! I would recommend this resource to anyone wanting to grow in his or her understanding of... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Phillip Sessa
This book is quite unique and needs to be in Kindle format.Published 5 months ago by DAVID SEIVRIGHT
Great, challenging book to help one push past just reading scripture as simply words on a page to understanding God's desire to commune with us through His Word. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Brookscrib
A challenging read on how to approach Scripture. His rules for Biblical interpretation were particularly helpful.Published 6 months ago by Jenn Faulk
Great introduction and some advance instructions in understanding scripture.Published 6 months ago by Daryl Kampwerth