How to Read the Bible for All its Worth is written by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart. Gordon is a professor of New Testament at Regent College and Stuart a professor of Old Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
The purpose of this book is to help the reader become a better Bible interpreter. The authors focus on good interpretation of the text, what the text originally meant (exegesis) and to hear that same meaning in the variety of our own day (hermeneutics). Exegesis is a historical task laying distinction of books according to time and culture of the author and his readers, geographical background, political arenas while hermeneutics seeks to display the relevance of the text in the current century.
Professor Fee Gordon discusses matters on choosing translation. Which translation should one go for and study from? Should we opt for a version because we like it, it’s readable or it was recommended by a woman or man of God? The challenge is the transfer of words and ideas from one language to another; looking at the original language, receptor language and the historical distance existing between the original language in matters of words and their meanings, grammar and culture. The writers have written a whole chapter to guide their readers on different translations.
Furthermore, the book all through has described how to read all the books of the Bible with a clear understanding on the given guidelines, illustrated with examples and pitfalls to avoid what isn’t in the Bible. A good example is with the narratives; individual Old Testament narratives are not intended to teach moral lessons. The purpose is to tell what God did in the history of Israel, not to offer moral examples of right or wrong behavior. The story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis doesn’t portray negative results of parenthood favoritism; rather it serves to tell us how Abraham’s family line was carried on through Jacob and not Esau. And the book of Ruth isn’t a love story; it’s the story of God’s kindness played out in the lives of 3 people who are the central characters!
What’s not in the Bible shouldn’t then be forced. As we read and meditate on Scriptures, faithfulness to the scriptures is vital to give room for the Spirit to illuminate the text and speak to you. It’s time we evaluate the sermons we preach and the songs we sing whether they are scriptural or not.
This book has helped me in understanding how to read the Bible and interpret it correctly. I, therefore, recommend this book to all people who would want their hearts and minds drawn to God through his inspired word with no expectation that everything in the Bible applies as instructions for their own individual lives.
This book review has been written by Delvin Rutto. Delvin is a first-year apprentice placed at Mwangaza Children’s Home in Kilifi County.