I love reading books about how to read the Bible. I guess I love that because I love meta-cognition, thinking about how we think about things. There are so many treasures in the scriptures and, as Bobby Valentine has written in the last two articles, the closer we come to understand things about their world the better we will understand the Bible!
Here are my favorite books on how to read the Big Book!
Searching for the Pattern By John Mark Hicks. This book came out this year and fills a niche I had hoped someone would fill. It is an in depth look at how we read the Bible in Churches of Christ and some of the ways that has traditionally been inadequate. This is done with a great deal of care, kindness and humility. Then the book goes into another approach that can help us come to a better understanding of the text and the God behind the text. Excellent book and a must read if you are in Churches of Christ.
The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible by Paul D. Wegner – If you are going to understand the biblical text it is important to understand how the Bible came to be. This book gives you the breakdown in a readable, accessible way that doesn’t require a PhD to understand.
The Art of Biblical Narrative By Robert Alter – This book changed my thinking on the Bible in a significant way. It showed me how to better pick up on themes and how the biblical narrative strings in various themes as the stories go along that I had never noticed before.
Exegetical Fallacies by D.A. Carson – Carson covers five fallacies people typically make when reading and interpreting the Bible: Word-study fallacies, grammatical fallacies, logical fallacies, and presuppositional and historical fallacies. Excellent book! For supporting material as to why this book is needed, check any discussion of the Bible on social media that has over 100 comments!
Scripture and Discernment By Luke Timothy Johnson – My favorite Benedictine monk writes prolifically about the New Testament and other topics like this book that tackles how to understand the Bible for application and decision making in the life of the Christian.
Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes by Richards and O’Brien – I really enjoyed this book. It is eye opening about the presuppositions and biases we come to the text with. Again, I love metanarrative (thinking about how we think) and this book unpacks that extremely well.
God’s Holy Fire by Cukrowski, Hamilton, and Thompson (all from ACU) – skip Kenneth Bailey’s work and go right to this one. This book is a one-stop-shop for so many relevant topic on how to read ancient literature.
Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (Third Edition) by Klein, Blomberg and Hubbard – Excellent book! This book unpacks everything from you as interpreter to how to interpret various genres in the Bible. This is a must read for anyone who wants to get into hermeneutics (study of how to interpret the Bible).
Can We Still Believe the Bible by Craig Blomberg – I read this on the plan to Costa Rica a few years ago and got so much out of it. I love Blomberg’s scholarship. This book is basically a FAQ for how to read the bible, answering common questions from a theologically conservative perspective. Very helpful!
No list would be complete without Gordon Fee. Here are his three main books, the first is the most important:
How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth (Fourth Edition) – This book should top your list
How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth
How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour