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

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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

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