Category Archives: Biblical Interpretation

Building a Theological & Ministry Library Part 2 – How to Read the Bible

There are a lot of great books out there on how to be a better student of scripture and many of them can be purchased at a very low cost these days. Here are some of my favorites.

How to read the Bible for All It’s Worth By Gordon Fee
This was one of the very first books I ever read on learning to read the Bible better. It is a classic and a must read book. It is a little technical if you are brand new to Bible study. This is more of a mid-level book in its difficult and it will open your eyes to understanding some very important things about how the Bible communicates truths to us. The most important take away from the book, that Fee spends a lot of time on, is helping you understand the different genres and how to read them. Poetry communicates differently than a letter and a letter from a story. He gives you the tools to know how to read each one “for what it’s worth.” These lessons are foundational for anyone who wants to be a serious student of scripture. I would start with this book unless you are a brand new Christian. If you want something similar but less technical try out Leland Ryken’s How to Read the Bible as Literature.

Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading by Eugene Peterson
This book is designed to open your ears to what God is communicating to us through the Bible. This is more of an entry level book on how to read the Bible that is also helpful to those who are more advanced in their study. In other words this is a book that is truly “for everyone.” If you are just getting started, try this before reading Fee’s book above.

How to Read the Bible in Changing Times By Mark Strauss
Strauss co-authored books a book with Gordon Fee on choosing a Bible translation. He is a very capable author and in this book shows his skill at reading and understanding scripture. This book would be the perfect “add on” with Fee’s book above as he spends less time on genre and more time on overcoming our own blinders and presuppositions that influence how we read and understand the text. Like Fee’s book above, this one is slightly more advanced than Peterson’s.

Out of Context: How to Avoid Misinterpreting the Bible By Richard Schultz
Schultz has also co-authored several books on reading the Bible with Gordon Fee. This book is for people of all skill levels. Schultz discusses how to do it wrong and gives dozens of examples in popular Christian literature of that and how to do it right. If you want something similar but more advanced check out D.A. Carson’s Exegetical Fallacies

Interpretation Even Impacts the Formatting of Scripture

You may not pay much attention to it but there are interpretations that affect the way Bibles are formatted. Here are a few places this shows up: Red letters: There are passages of scripture that are hard to tell where Jesus starts and stops talking. John 3 is probably the best known instance of this.Continue Reading

The Bible in Translation: 450 BC to 1500 AD

I was fortunate enough to visit the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in Los Angeles last week. It was amazing seeing all of the items that were in the exhibit that touched on so many things from the Old Testament well into the first century. The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1946 and continued toContinue Reading

Why Did They Cast Lots to Replace Judas?

“So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he wasContinue Reading

Exploring the First Century Church: Bible & Canon

There could be a whole dictionary written on interesting terms in the Bible vs how they are used or understood today. I want to take a few posts to examine a few of these so that we can move our understanding of these things closer to theirs.   Bible Do a word search of theContinue Reading

My Take on Interpreting the Bible

I was recently asked how I interpret the Bible. That is an easy question on the surface but there is a lot that goes into actually doing it. Here is my response, I am going to start off in this post talking about how I read/interpret/apply scripture and then answer your second question about salvationContinue Reading

Mind Blown – the Interconnected Narratives of the Gospel of John

As I am studying through and teaching the Gospel of John I am in awe of just how interconnected this book is. I don’t even know where to start but I will take a stab at it. Jesus comes on the scene as the lamb of God who comes to take away the sins ofContinue Reading

Reading the Bible Contextually: Be Familiar With the Metanarratives

Metanarrative is the concept that in life we have larger stories that we see our lives fitting into. On a personal level it may be that things that were said to you as a child still impact you today…the words your father said or didn’t say still impact the value you see in yourself. OnContinue Reading

Reading the Bible Contextually: Eugene Peterson on the Antidote to Prooftexting

The Bible was read without chapter and verse numbers for well over 1000 years. When the New Testament was first written not only did it lack verse numbers (remember these were letters and biographies) but they also lacked punctuation, capitalization and any meaningful formatting at all! What compounded things further was that early English translationsContinue Reading

Logos Review: The Book of Revelation (NIGTC) By G.K. Beale

Beale’s Revelation Commentary in the New International Greek Testament Commentary series is excellent. It is listed as one of the top commentaries on Revelation by Scot McKnight and, although as McKnight notes slightly dated (1999), it is extremely thorough. Beale goes to great lengths to give you the major interpretations of the most important aspectsContinue Reading

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