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The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  1,869 Ratings  ·  175 Reviews
'Why Can't I Just Be a Christian?'
Parakeets make delightful pets. We cage them or clip their wings to keep them where we want them. Scot McKnight contends that many, conservatives and liberals alike, attempt the same thing with the Bible. We all try to tame it.
McKnight's The Blue Parakeet has emerged at the perfect time to cool the flames of a world on fire with contention
Kindle Edition, 241 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2009)
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Feb 07, 2009 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scot McKnight is my homeboy. I am really thankful that the emerging/missional/whatever-name-we'll-have-next-week movement has him as a friendly yet challenging theological voice. True to form, this book is full of both encouragements for the church to move forward, as well as cautions to the places where we might go off the rails. It’s provocative and very helpful, and I recommend it.

Here is a quick summary of the book:

“Blue parakeets” are oddities we come across in the Scriptures that we don’t
Jan 22, 2009 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book because it pushes readers of the bible to examine why we read the good book in the way that we do. Specifically, why do we treat different passages of the bible in different way, or more pragmatically, why do we obey different parts of the bible in different ways? Scot McKnight, acknowledges that this reality is actually a good thing but then commends a reading strategy that can help us deal with the passages that are often ignored and especially with the ones that are ...more
Oct 17, 2014 Violinknitter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, excellent book. Cannot recommend highly enough.
Adam Ross
Feb 26, 2010 Adam Ross rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It would have gotten two stars, except for the last five chapters, which were a defense of women's ordination.

Generally the book was okay (hence two stars). It has all of the same flaws that I find in other run-of-the-mill evangelical books; poor-to-terrible analogies and metaphors, pedestrian prose, shallow thought, etc. It did have some good things to say, mostly in part two (chapters 6-8). Chapter 8 was especially good, in which he points out that St. Augustine said that any interpretation w
Feb 24, 2017 Fred rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an accessible, readable examination of how we read the Bible and what that means for the church. In typical McKnight fashion there are plenty of personal anecdotes, a few phrases that he uses (and overuses) to anchor his argument concluding with an appeal for more conversation.
Bryan Cook
Jul 05, 2016 Bryan Cook rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 10-for-2016
A five-star rating system calls for a rubric to determine how many stars to give a book. In my personal rubric, a book has to pass a certain threshold of readability to gain more than one star.

This book failed to meet that threshold.

While reading this book, I felt like I was grading an essay that should receive an F grade. No editor worth his price should have allowed McKnight's book to be published. The writing is clunky. The metaphors are strained. The chapters meander. McKnight himself liter
Jan 12, 2009 Brett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“How, then, are we to live the Bible today?” With this question McKnight asks his readers to re-think how they understand and apply the Bible. In the ever-turning waters of theology, philosophy, and popular trends, the Bible as story (a single unified narrative expressed through the “wiki-stories” of each individual author) has often been forgotten or ignored. While McKnight intentionally does not provide a systematic hermeneutic, he does offer three steps towards living the Bible today: identif ...more
Mar 17, 2009 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to finish this book because it is pretty densely written, reflecting McKnight's academic background. But it was definitely worth the effort to read all the way through. McKnight explains a way to read the Bible faithfully, but intelligently. He rejects both inflexible fundamentalist literalism and dismissive liberal antinomianism and relativism with equal fervor. In teaching the reader how to approach the Bible as a grand story, he helps us avoid several common traps he explai ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by my similarly-named friend Mark Jackson, I gave this book a bonus star for how it reinforced my own thinking, without actually giving me argument-winning reasons for doing so. I teetered back & forth between thinking this material was obvious, and being bothered that his theological/linguistic/anthropological reasoning for it wasn't airtight.

Maybe it's not a bonus star, but one the author actually earned, since it definitely made me think about my own beliefs. I didn't really k
Nick Jordan
I'm a pastor on the lookout for books to recommend to parishioners on reading the Bible. This one, while far better than Reading the Bible for All It's Worth, is not the book I'm looking for. At best, Blue Parakeet might have eaten the book I'm looking for, and added to it acronyms (WDWD? = What Did Women Do?); clunky slang (the book's title; Biblical stories as "wiki-stories of the Story) that already feels dated (at only 8 years old); and a long case-study section on women in ministry which is ...more
Ali M.
Nov 01, 2009 Ali M. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
McKnight has some great points and a clear grasp of the Bible as Story, which I definitely think is the most central and valuable way to approach it. I applaud him for this: more people need to be consciously thinking about the role the Bible plays (or should play) in our faith – a role that is often misconstrued.

However, he does not express himself in a very economic manner. I try not to get hung up on writing unless the style handicaps clarity, but I thought that was the case a few too many t
Adam Shields
Mar 19, 2009 Adam Shields rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am about half way though this book. I have been reading in little chunks because I need to think about it as I am going. Scot is putting into word many things that I have thought about scripture and reading scripture. He is just explaining it much better and more thoroughly than I could.


After having read it I think that this is a book that almost all Christians should read this book. No matter what you think of his examples of how he works out reading scripture, the idea that you should th
Kate Atkinson
Jul 07, 2012 Kate Atkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
I read this for a uni assignment, but it's not a textbook. Every Christian who is serious about reading the Bible faithfully should read a few books like this one. It's quite pointed in parts, even slightly controversial. McKnight isn't afraid to tackle the big issues like mis-interpretation, and some of the more difficult passages in the Bible. A challenging book - I don't think you can read it without re-thinking the way you read the Bible.
The Blue Parakeet was fantastic.

When reading the bible, *everyone* picks and chooses. It's called *discernment*. Unfortunately, too many of us look at what someone else discerns, compares it to what we discern, and condemns based on the different conclusions we've reached.

While the book starts out a little difficult, but as you get into it, the reading is a lot clearer. Highly recommended.
Sep 12, 2008 Pat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for more authenticity in the Church.
Excellent, excellent book. The author articulates what I have longed believed -- Christians need to be more honest about their beliefs and admit those things that are traditions versus those things that are biblical. Or as the author says, we "adopt and adapt" (a nice way of saying we pick and choose what part of Scripture we will obey).
Oct 26, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal-library
A tremendously well-written book on Biblical interpretation - probably the best I've read. Even better - it's accessible to non-theologians.

Note: McKnight's honesty & willingness to follow the truth where it leads will make liberals & conservatives uncomfortable - that's a good thing!
Apr 22, 2016 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't finish this...covers too much of the ground I've read in other books. Probably useful for many people, but not so much for me! Sorry, Mr McKnight.
Feb 13, 2009 Aeisele rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I do like how McKnight tries to find a middle-path between conservative and liberal positions on the bible, but I hate his writing. Because its so "conversational" it looses both exactness and art.
Kelsey Bryant
Review coming up.
Jun 25, 2010 Natalie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
annoying blue parakeet metaphor, some lousy examples to support some of his points, but...a fascinating and convicting main premise
Apr 15, 2015 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(I actually don't know when I read this book: earlier this year, now this review suffers for my procrastination).
I really enjoyed it.
An honest reflection from someone who loves and studies the Bible, (and, actually, more important, loves God).
The Blue Parakeet is a thoughtful analogy to how we should approach the Bible. Basically: things that pop us out of our status-quo experience or that need us to stop and reflect on. There are passages in the bible like this, and they require us to unders
James Korsmo
Aug 03, 2011 James Korsmo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
McKnight, well known blogger and author, challenges readers to think about how they read the Bible in this great little book. The challenge McKnight lays down to readers is to think about what it means to be "biblical" in our thinking, speaking, and acting. Though we may think we mean simply "doing what the Bible says," he shows us that for almost all of us, that is clearly not the case. Through some simple examples he shows that we all pick and choose what we apply and how. The question explore ...more
Dec 01, 2016 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
This good book is about how to read the Bible as a Story and not as a series of isolated verses. The book also addresses women's place in the church, as an example of how to view the Bible as story. He does a superb job of writing this book. I finished it quickly and was sad it was done.
Karen Simpson
May 11, 2017 Karen Simpson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this book! It challenges Christians to a mature and honest engagement with scripture and keeps the focus on the centrality of Jesus Christ and our ultimate call to love God and others more deeply.
Mar 13, 2017 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much to consider for how then we are to read the Bible today. Interesting insights.
Feb 06, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion, nonfiction
This is a short and excellent book about how to read the Bible. The Bible is enormously complicated, horrifically abused, and--sadly--ignored by many people who have been hurt or marginalized by those who believe the Bible condones their own prejudices and hatreds. The author--an evangelical Christian professor--has clearly given Biblical interpretation a great deal of thought, and arrived at some remarkable, interesting, and insightful conclusions.

For Professor McKnight, the whole goal of read
Jan 31, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How each of us chooses (consciously or not, but we all do choose) to read the Bible has a direct impact on how we end up applying its text.

One of the first things Dr. Scot McKnight brings up is that "we all pick and choose" when it comes to the Bible and its application to our lives. The important thing is to become aware of it and learn how we pick and choose. By becoming cognizant of our way of reading and our biases, we can become better interpreters of the text and have a rationale for why w
Nov 14, 2013 Kaysi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians, evangelicals
"Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
-John F. Kennedy

In 2012 I was introduced to the idea of viewing the Bible as the story of God's relationship with humanity in terms of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. It radically altered the way I read the Bible, but I've wrestled ever since with the fear that, having grown up in American evangeli
May 18, 2016 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
The Bible itself points us away from traditionalism. The biblical authors and the early fathers didn’t fossilize traditions. Instead—and here we come to a major moment in this book—they went back to the Bible so they could come forward into the present.
Location: 448

Fourth, puzzling calls into question the Bible as we have it. After all, had he wanted to, God could have revealed a systematic theology chapter by chapter. But God didn’t choose this way of revealing his truth. Maybe—this “maybe” is
Barb Terpstra
Apr 14, 2013 Barb Terpstra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been recommending this book to many of my friends--I found it to be thought provoking and think it would make worthwhile discussions with both Christians and non-Christians.

This is how the author starts:

"One: We believe everything the Bible says, therefore. . .
Two: We practice whatever the Bible says.
Three: Hogwash!"

The author posits that no-one can believe the Bible literally - it's just not possible. We all take verses or passages and put our own spin on them. He reminds us that the Bib
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Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author or editor of forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL. Dr. McKnight has given interviews on radios across the nation, has appeared on television, and is regularly speaks at local churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries in the ...more
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“God did not give the Bible so we could master him or it; God gave the Bible so we could live it, so we could be mastered by it. The moment we think we’ve mastered it, we have failed to be readers of the Bible.” 12 likes
“God was on the move; God is on the move; and God will always be on the move. Those who walk with God and listen to God are also on the move. Reading the Bible so we can live it out today means being on the move—always. Anyone who stops and wants to turn a particular moment into a monument, as the disciples did when Jesus was transfigured before them, will soon be wondering where God has gone.” 1 likes
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