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How to Read the Bible: History, Prophecy, Literature--Why Modern Readers Need to Know the Difference, and What It Means for Faith Today
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How to Read the Bible: History, Prophecy, Literature--Why Modern Readers Need to Know the Difference, and What It Means for Faith Today

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  40 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
McKenzie argues that to comprehend the Bible we must grasp the intentions of the biblical authors themselves--what sort of texts they thought they were writing and how they would have been understood by their intended audience. In short, we must recognize the genres to which these texts belong. McKenzie examines several genres that are typically misunderstood, offering car ...more
Hardcover, 207 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published August 11th 2005)
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Mar 05, 2014 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, religion
I love Scripture, those from my own faith and those of other faiths. One of the reasons I love Scripture is because I believe there are an almost infinite number of ways to read, view, and interpret Scripture, so there's always something new to discover and always something personally applicable within them. Or, as the author of this book puts it, "The Bible is bigger than all of us."

So it's always fun to get new perspectives on how to read Scripture and see it from a different angle. In How to
Oct 31, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book explores the Bible's literary genres and looks at the effects that has on what the author's original intent was and how that book or set of verses should be interpreted.

It starts by looking at Jonah and how it is often misunderstood as history when it is actually closer to fictional satire. The genre of history was not the same in the days the Bible was written as it for us today; it's primary intent was not to present what happened in the past. These points and others mentioned in the
Andrew Watson
Aug 26, 2013 Andrew Watson rated it did not like it
Then why does Jesus refer to Jonah in Matthew 16:4 directly? There doesn't seem to be any hidden message or meaning apart from being separated from God and the world. Too many Christians writing 'get out' doctrine so we can understand the word of God. The fact is, Jesus affirmed the scriptures at true and from God when he walked the earth, including this piece. How are we supposed to understand everything God did? We are so easy to dismiss things the world can't believe and we try to apply our o ...more
Oct 30, 2009 Joey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Christians have inherited an unfortunate tradition of literal Biblical interpretation. Such interpretations cause believers to doubt and struggle with many stories and issues that were never meant to be a stumbling block for faith. This book demonstrates how a person can read scripture responsibly and avoid gross misreadings by understanding the purposes of specific genres in Hebrew literature. For example, readers were not meant to interpret Jonah literally, lest we miss the satirical point aga ...more
Jan 12, 2010 Miranda rated it it was amazing
I'm almost done with this one. It has to be one of the most intelligent pieces of literature I've ever read about the Bible. Truly eye-opening. It was so interesting to learn about the different ways to categorize the type of writing in the Bible and how to sort out the literary elements from historical information. This book describes the author and conditions of the author at the time the book of the bible was written. That is so important to understanding the text, is to understand the contex ...more
Michael Porco
Jan 08, 2015 Michael Porco rated it liked it
Interesting points but I didn't like his writing style and I thought things got a little bogged down in extraneous details.
Aug 04, 2012 Johanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I found this book very interesting and gave me a new insight into understanding old/ancient texts, not the least, the bible itself. I have yet to read the entire bible, even though I've tried many times. However, I have in the last few months planned to, and recently bought the NRSV Study Bible for this reason. Reading this book has put me in a position to, hopefully, grasp the real contexts of the books of the Bible - and I will definetely get back to this book as reference.
Apr 29, 2014 Jared rated it it was ok
The title is misleading. It actually is telling us how to doubt the Bible. It begins with the claim that most of the Old Testament stories are inventions, and not actual events. He carefully chose literature which support his views only, and there is nothing for modern readers that he recommended as to how best they can approach the different books in the Bible. It rather encourages them to quit reading it. I was looking for simple guidelines. Disappointed :(
Andrea Hickman Walker
This wasn't absolutely amazing, but it was very interesting. Knowing the context and the intention of the literature found in the Bible is something that's very relevant in a time where there is an increasing return to fundamentalism. If only those people would bother to read books like this one and examine why they believe what they believe.
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Steven L. McKenzie is Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at Rhodes College. He holds a B.A. (summa cum laude) and an M.Div. from Abilene Christian University and the Th.D. from Harvard University. His research and teaching interests include: the history of ancient Israel, the literature of the Hebrew Bible, the Hebrew language, the Dead Sea Scrolls, methods of biblical interpretation, and arc ...more
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