This coming weekend my new book, “Making Sense of the Bible”, will be officially launched. The book has been a project that has involved several years of research and writing, as well as ongoing refinement as I have presented some of the topics in various seminars around Australia.
“Making Sense of the Bible” is now available as either a print book or an ebook from my website, SmartFaith.net, and will soon be available from all major book retailers in Australia and overseas.
The book will be launched this coming Sunday, 10th March 2019, at Wyong Baptist Church. I will be preaching in the morning service (10 am) and the book will be on sale at a discount price afterwards.
After more than four decades as a Christian, and having pastored several churches, I have reached the conclusion that many Christians have a very limited understanding of the nature of the Bible. Despite the fact that evangelicals base their faith, indeed, their very lives, upon the Bible, very few ever move beyond the most superficial understanding of its nature and origin. For the vast majority of Christians, the inspiration and inerrancy (lack of errors) of the Bible are beliefs that are held almost unthinkingly, without coming to terms with the many textual challenges and anomalies of this ancient literary work.
“Making Sense of the Bible” will change the way you read the Bible! It will take you on a fascinating journey of discovery, but be warned; the journey will not always be an easy or a comfortable one. It will not allow you to cling to a simplistic view of the Bible’s inspiration. It will force you to grapple with issues that you may never have considered.
This book is in three parts:
Part I, “The Journey from Texts to Translations”, examines the remarkable journey undertaken by ancient parchments and papyri to eventually become the book that we call “the Bible” today. It describes the many complex challenges facing textual critics and translators in producing a finished work that is as close as possible to the autographic (original) text.
Part II, “Getting the Big Picture”, examines some fundamental concepts that are essential for correctly understanding the Bible:
- The significant difference between the old and new covenants, including an understanding of the obsolescence of the old covenant.
- The concept of progressive revelation: That God’s truth was revealed progressively throughout the Bible, so that the doctrines and morals in the Old Testament are the starting point, rather than God’s definitive and final declaration.
- The pre-Christian nature of the Old Testament: That God had to deal with the Israelites as unregenerate, spiritual infants, by instituting a system of tangible, immediate rewards and punishments that are no longer relevant for those who have been born again under the new covenant of Christ.
- The Christological metanarrative of the Bible: That the whole of the Bible points to Christ and is, ultimately, his story. Learning to read the Bible through the lens of this metanarrative will significantly impact our interpretation of its message at certain points.
These are vital concepts for correctly interpreting the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, yet they are poorly understood by most Christians. Coming to a clearer understanding of these concepts will enable you to read the Bible with discernment and accurately apply its message to your life.
Part III, “Hermeneutics: Principles of Interpretation”, examines some foundational principles that can help ordinary Bible readers avoid the common interpretive errors that often result in misguided application. It explores the importance of interpreting Bible passages in the light of their genre, their historical context, their cultural context, their literary context and their lexical context (the precise meaning of the original words). Each of these principles will be illustrated by very practical examples as the book examines commonly misinterpreted passages and show how the implementation of proper interpretive principles results in a more accurate understanding of the Bible’s message.
As well as the standard Table of Contents, there is a Topical Index at the back of the book. This index provides a handy reference for the location of key biblical doctrines throughout the book, which are discussed as practical examples of the various principles of interpretation. These include:
- The Gift of Tongues
- Conditions for Answered Prayer
- Giving and Prosperity
- The Trinity
- Marriage and Polygamy in the Old Testament
- Capital Punishment in the Old Testament
- The Distinctive Roles of Men and Women
“Making Sense of the Bible” is for Christians who want to move beyond a simplistic understanding of the Scriptures. It is for those who desire to grow in their knowledge of God’s Word and develop a mature ability to accurately interpret and apply its message. It can also be used as a study book for home Bible study groups, with helpful reflection questions and Bible passages at the end of each chapter. It is my hope and prayer that this book will help you to “correctly handle the Word of God” (2 Timothy 2:15).
“Making Sense of the Bible” is currently available as either a print book or an ebook from my website, SmartFaith.net, and will soon be available from all major book retailers in Australia and overseas.