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About Peter Enns
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The controversial Bible scholar and author of The Evolution of Adam recounts his transformative spiritual journey in which he discovered a new, more honest way to love and appreciate God’s Word.
Trained as an evangelical Bible scholar, Peter Enns loved the Scriptures and shared his devotion, teaching at Westminster Theological Seminary. But the further he studied the Bible, the more he found himself confronted by questions that could neither be answered within the rigid framework of his religious instruction or accepted among the conservative evangelical community.
Rejecting the increasingly complicated intellectual games used by conservative Christians to “protect” the Bible, Enns was conflicted. Is this what God really requires? How could God’s plan for divine inspiration mean ignoring what is really written in the Bible? These questions eventually cost Enns his job—but they also opened a new spiritual path for him to follow.
The Bible Tells Me So chronicles Enns’s spiritual odyssey, how he came to see beyond restrictive doctrine and learned to embrace God’s Word as it is actually written. As he explores questions progressive evangelical readers of Scripture commonly face yet fear voicing, Enns reveals that they are the very questions that God wants us to consider—the essence of our spiritual study.
The controversial evangelical Bible scholar and author of The Bible Tells Me So explains how Christians mistake “certainty” and “correct belief” for faith when what God really desires is trust and intimacy.
With compelling and often humorous stories from his own life, Bible scholar Peter Enns offers a fresh look at how Christian life truly works, answering questions that cannot be addressed by the idealized traditional doctrine of “once for all delivered to the saints.”
Enns offers a model of vibrant faith that views skepticism not as a loss of belief, but as an opportunity to deepen religious conviction with courage and confidence. This is not just an intellectual conviction, he contends, but a more profound kind of knowing that only true faith can provide.
Combining Enns’ reflections of his own spiritual journey with an examination of Scripture, The Sin of Certainty models an acceptance of mystery and paradox that all believers can follow and why God prefers this path because it is only this way by which we can become mature disciples who truly trust God. It gives Christians who have known only the demand for certainty permission to view faith on their own flawed, uncertain, yet heartfelt, terms.
The NIV Application Commentary helps you communicate and apply biblical text effectively in today's context.
To bring the ancient messages of the Bible into today's world, each passage is treated in three sections:
- Original Meaning. Concise exegesis to help readers understand the original meaning of the biblical text in its historical, literary, and cultural context.
- Bridging Contexts. A bridge between the world of the Bible and the world of today, built by discerning what is timeless in the timely pages of the Bible.
- Contemporary Significance. This section identifies comparable situations to those faced in the Bible and explores relevant application of the biblical messages. The author alerts the readers of problems they may encounter when seeking to apply the passage and helps them think through the issues involved.
This unique, award-winning commentary is the ideal resource for today's preachers, teachers, and serious students of the Bible, giving them the tools, ideas, and insights they need to communicate God's Word with the same powerful impact it had when it was first written.
Behind the scenes of movies like The Ten Commandments, The Prince of Egypt, or Exodus: Gods and Kings is a complicated, and at times, messy biblical story. In this short guide to the book of Exodus, Biblical scholar Peter Enns doesn't just break down the story for the average person to understand but takes us behind the story—to the history and traditions that led us to the story as we have it today. By asking the important questions like, “What kind of book are we reading?” and taking us along Moses's and the Israelite journey, Enns brings the best in biblical scholarship to us everyday people. And, as we have come to expect from Pete Enns, he does it with his usual humor and wit.
"Pete Enns does it again! In Exodus for Normal People, he provides us with a roadmap for understanding the book of Exodus through the lens of what concerned ancient people. He makes accessible the best of biblical scholarship with humor and insight, reminding us to respect Scripture in all its complexities. A hard task that Pete makes look simple."
Richard Rohr, author of The Universal Christ, Falling Upward, and Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality
"Enns helps readers to understand Exodus as responding to ancient Israel's questions of identity, theology, and history, to raise their own questions, and frequently to laugh out loud."
Amy-Jill Levine, Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, Vanderbilt Divinity School; coauthor of The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us
"The title says it all—this is a wonderful introduction to the text, themes, and meaning of the Bible's second book for normal people—those who are curious about the Bible, but never dove deeply into the text. In a clever, chatty, and casual style, Pete Enns interprets Exodus as 'mythicized history,' written in 'the religious language of a tribalistic, Iron Age society,' making contemporary biblical scholarship, based on archeology and study of the ancient Near East, interesting and accessible."
Marc Brettler, PhD, Professor in Judaic Studies, Duke University; author of How to Read the Bible
"Pete Enns is a real scholar who doesn't write like one—thank heavens. He writes with knowledge of the scholarship but in the language of a thoughtful layperson. Reading Enns one feels like the author is having a personal chat with his reader. He is smart, learned, and witty. In a word: normal."
Richard Elliott Friedman, PhD, Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Georgia; author of The Exodus and Who Wrote the Bible?
Controversial evangelical Bible scholar, popular blogger and podcast host of The Bible for Normal People, and author of The Bible Tells Me So and The Sin of Certainty explains that the Bible is not an instruction manual or rule book but a powerful learning tool that nurtures our spiritual growth by refusing to provide us with easy answers but instead forces us to acquire wisdom.
For many Christians, the Bible is a how-to manual filled with literal truths about belief that must be strictly followed. But the Bible is not static, Peter Enns argues. It does not hold easy answers to the perplexing questions and issues that confront us in our daily lives. Rather, the Bible is a dynamic instrument for study that not only offers an abundance of insights but provokes us to find our own answers to spiritual questions, cultivating God’s wisdom within us.
“The Bible becomes a confusing mess when we expect it to function as a rulebook for faith. But when we allow the Bible to determine our expectations, we see that Wisdom, not answers, is the Bible’s true subject matter,” writes Enns. This distinction, he points out, is important because when we come to the Bible expecting it to be a textbook intended by God to give us unwavering certainty about our faith, we are actually creating problems for ourselves. The Bible, in other words, really isn’t the problem; having the wrong expectation is what interferes with our reading.
Rather than considering the Bible as an ancient book weighed down with problems, flaws, and contradictions that must be defended by modern readers, Enns offers a vision of the holy scriptures as an inspired and empowering resource to help us better understand how to live as a person of faith today.
How the Bible Actually Works makes clear that there is no one right way to read the Bible. Moving us beyond the damaging idea that “being right” is the most important measure of faith, Enns’s freeing approach to Bible study helps us to instead focus on pursuing enlightenment and building our relationship with God—which is exactly what the Bible was designed to do.
WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT GENESIS FOR NORMAL PEOPLE:
“This book is a welcome antidote to the mystification about the book of Genesis that goes around. It is accessible for readers who want to take the plunge into this old text. It is gentle in leading readers to a critical sense of the text in response to a “late” trauma in Israel. It is imaginative in its articulation of a book that might otherwise be off-putting. The convergence of accessibility, gentleness, and imagination make this a very fine read.”
– Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary
“Genesis for Normal People is the perfect starting point for Christians who want to read the book of Genesis more faithfully and honestly. Enns and Byas break down the history, genre, culture, and context of this fascinating book of the Bible, so that “normal people”—you know, those who can’t read ancient Hebrew—can get a better sense of its purpose, meaning and relevance. The authors manage to simplify without dumbing down, challenge without confusing, and dig for deep truth without compromising their intellectual integrity. A must–read for anyone who care enough about the Bible to want to read and understand it on its own terms.”
– Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood
“The stories in the book of Genesis are among the most well known in the Bible—so much so that it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Genesis is an ancient document from a cultural setting very different from our own. Enns and Byas have provided a highly readable volume that reminds readers of its reality while explaining the meaning and significance of Genesis in light of its ancient context. An ideal book for individual and study groups interested in understanding Genesis on its own terms.”
– John R. Franke, General Coordinator for The Gospel and Our Culture Network
“Evangelical Old Testament scholarship has come of age and is now coming out from behind the shadows of suppression and secrecy. No one represents this fresh coming of age more than Peter Enns, who, with co-author Jared Byas, makes available to any Bible reader a fresh engagement with Genesis—readable, responsible, and recognizably fresh.”
– Scot McKnight, Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary
Peter Enns, an expert in biblical interpretation, offers a way forward by explaining how this tension is caused not by the discoveries of science but by false expectations about the biblical texts. Focusing on key biblical passages in the discussion, Enns demonstrates that the author of Genesis and the apostle Paul wrote to ask and answer ancient questions for ancient people; the fact that they both speak of Adam does not determine whether Christians can accept evolution. This thought-provoking book helps readers reconcile the teachings of the Bible with the widely held evolutionary view of beginnings and will appeal to anyone interested in the Christianity-evolution debate.
The Bible and the Believer brings together three distinguished biblical scholars--one Jewish, one Catholic, and one Protestant--to illustrate how to read the Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament critically and religiously. Marc Zvi Brettler, Peter Enns, and Daniel J. Harrington tackle a dilemma that not only haunts biblical scholarship today, but also disturbs students and others exposed to biblical criticism for the first time, either in university courses or through their own reading. Failure to resolve these conflicting interpretive strategies often results in rejection of either the critical approach or the religious approach--or both. But the authors demonstrate how biblical criticism--the process of establishing the original contextual meaning of biblical texts with the tools of literary and historical analysis--need not undermine religious interpretations of the Bible, but can in fact enhance them. They show how awareness of new archeological evidence, cultural context, literary form, and other tools of historical criticism can provide the necessary preparation for a sound religious reading. And they argue that the challenges such study raises for religious belief should be brought into conversation with religious tradition rather than deemed grounds for dismissing either that tradition or biblical criticism.
Guiding readers through the history of biblical exegesis within the Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant faith traditions, The Bible and the Believer bridges an age-old gap between critical and religious approaches to the Old Testament.
To read the New Testament is to meet the Old Testament at every turn. But exactly how do Old Testament texts relate to their New Testament references and allusions? Moreover, what fruitful interpretive methods do New Testament texts demonstrate? Leading biblical scholars Walter Kaiser, Darrel Bock and Peter Enns each present their answers to questions surrounding the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament. Contributors address elements such as Divine and human authorial intent, the context of Old Testament references, and theological grounds for an interpretive method. Each author applies his framework to specific texts so that readers can see how their methods work out in practice. Each contributor also receives a thorough critique from the other two authors. A one-stop reference for setting the scene and presenting approaches to the topic that respect the biblical text, Three Views on the New Testament Use of Old Testament gives readers the tools they need to develop their own views on this important subject. The Counterpoints series provides a forum for comparison and critique of different views on issues important to Christians. Counterpoints books address two categories: Church Life and Bible & Theology. Complete your library with other books in the Counterpoints series.
A new religion curriculum from the team that brought you The Story of the World.
In this accessible and engaging book, Peter Enns (author of the controversial and best-selling Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament) provides parents and teachers with a straightforward and intelligent twelve-year plan for teaching the Bible. Written for lay readers but incorporating the best scholarly insights, Telling God’s Story avoids sectarian agendas. Instead, Enns suggests beginning with the parables of the Gospels for the youngest students; continuing on with the more complex stories of the Old and New Testaments for middle grade students; and guiding high school students into an understanding of the history and culture of biblical times.