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Knowing Scripture

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,521 ratings  ·  115 reviews
R. C. Sproul helps us dig out the meaning of Scripture for ourselves. He lays the groundwork by discussing why we should study the Bible and how our own personal study relates to interpretation. Then he presents in simple, basic terms the science of interpretation and gives practical guidelines for applying this science. Here is a basic book for both beginning Bible reader ...more
Paperback, 125 pages
Published January 28th 1978 by InterVarsity Press (first published 1960)
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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,521 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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Jocelyn Green
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This is a short book but full of good guidance. We read this book with our ABF class and it prompted much helpful discussion. I recommend it.
Chad Warner
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians
A useful guide to studying the Bible, providing rules of interpretation and study tools. I've learned much from Sproul over the years, so I enjoyed hearing how he studied the Bible.

Sproul says,
My prime motivation is to offer basic, “common sense” guidelines to help serious readers study sacred Scripture profitably. … the book seeks to emphasize the divine origin and authority of Scripture. Because of this, I have attempted to provide rules of interpretation that will serve as a check and balance
From the foreword: IF I were the devil (please, no comment), one of my first aims would be to stop folk from digging into the Bible.

From chapter one: Why study the Bible? It may seem odd and foolish to raise this question since you probably would not be reading this book unless you were already convinced that Bible study is necessary.

Knowing Scripture is a practical how-to-STUDY-the Bible book by R.C. Sproul first published in 1977. (It has been republished, but I haven't bought an updated editi
Kells Next Read
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
R.C. Sproul has easily become one of my fave author this month. This book was truly a gem and will definitely be one that I draw from repeatedly.
Apr 18, 2011 rated it liked it
RC Sproul has a passion for the word of God and I will always enjoy reading his book with the expectation of having a hunger for the word of God. The importance of the word in my daily life and the application to the word. I like that we are always learning truth and we may stray from what God is revealing to us, however, God is faithful to lead to the truth. Being our sinful nature, we can intrepret the word to fit the culture. Marriage is the hot topic of such intrepretation however, even Jesu ...more
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Despite only giving it four stars, I think this book is important and should be read by anyone seeking to understand the Bible. Sproul gives priceless guidelines to reading which could preclude a great deal of doctrinal confusion for many readers. My reservation is due to the brevity of the treatment of some things such as his take on various bible translations. He mentions that some are "liberal" for instance, without a clue as to what the term means to him. Does he mean liberal in the way they ...more
From the back cover of the book, "The theme of this book is not how to read the Bible but how to study the Bible."
The later part of the quote is probably the most ignored.
Christians who do read the Bible are not aware of how to really study the Bible.
R. C. Sproul takes both points and teaches the how and why of reading and studying the Bible.

My Thoughts:
Knowing Scripture is written for a new Christian or for a person who is not a solid reader and student of Scripture.
Consider this a prim
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
wow! wait did i say...WOW! the cover should read super concentrated sheer awesomeness. this thin book isn't shallow. this is going on my small stack of books to read over and over. the stack includes the bible(duh), the pursuit of godliness/practice of holiness, daws, the lost art of disciple making, spiritual disciplines of christian living, desiring god, and the legacy of sovereign joy, and the gospel primer oh and slave. ok, so the stack isn't that small and its getting bigger all the time bu ...more
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, excellent book. Sproul's defense for why you should study the Bible and seek to uphold correct doctrine was excellent, his hermeneutical guidelines were really well laid-out, and his section on to what extent cultural context should play into our interpretation of the Bible was also really well-done. I was familiar with most of the hermeneutical principles before reading this book, but had never thought of them in a systematized, orderly fashion. Combine that with a really robust defe ...more
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is like a cross between How To Read the Bible for All Its Worth and Exegetical Fallacies by Carson. Very sound teaching on what the Bible is and how to understand it, along with mistakes to avoid.

He bungled the translations portion by calling the NRSV a Functional Equivalent type and the NLT a paraphrase. At least he was honest about the NASB and NKJV being a little awkward because of how much they try to stick to the grammar of the original languages. That's very minor though and just a v
Feb 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great basic book for both beginning Bible readers and those who have been at it a long time. Insightful!
Kip Johnston
Good book on hermaneutics and interpreting scripture. Also has some nice bible study tips at the end.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian-life
This was a wonderful review of the techniques and responsibility to properly interpret and apply Scripture to my life!
C.H. Cobb
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Car advertisements on TV have progressed (??) from being informative in years past, to idiotic, to truly moronic in modern times. So please pardon me when I borrow an overused phrase from contemporary silly car commercials, but Sproul’s little volume, Knowing Scripture, is truly “best-in-class” for concise books that help the reader interpret the Bible.

Sproul’s writing is warm and friendly, almost whimsical at times, which belies the immensely intelligent, well-schooled, sharp mind behind the vo
Laramie Gildon
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to try and keep this brief. Sproul has a tendency to be very engaging but also very philosophical and this can be intimidating to some. I can see this book being read maybe a year or two after someone comes to faith or as a guideline for someone encouraging someone who’s newer to the faith with these encouragements. The Bible reading plan and all the suggestions seem very, very beneficial to the new believer and even the seasons vet who’s now seeing the benefits of studying the scriptures ...more
Melissa Keller
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So much for me to glean from this book. It is one that I will go back to time and time again as I work my way through God’s word.
Vincent Stewart
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great! Just great!

I wish I would have read this book a couple decades ago. Every Christian should read this book to better understand how to read the book.
Bart Breen
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent Introduction to Biblical Literature and Hermeneutics

I actually listened to the audio version of this book on CD. RC Sproul is a very easy to listen to speaker and he has a gift of making difficult concepts seem easy.

Contrary to a few reviews here, Sproul is not advocating an elitist approach to Scripture where only the "pro" dare to wrestle with Scriptural interpretation and understanding. Quite the opposite. Sproul is seeking to put the tools into the hands of his listeners.

Over and o
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a solid reference for learning how to think through the presuppositions and philosophical reasoning behind why Christians should learn to study their bibles. These first few sections is where R.C. shines. The last section about practical tools for bible study is also very well written and updated.

In the sections getting at hermeneutics and practical rules for interpretation, Sproul provides many examples and illustrations of fallacies from historical interpretations of certain texts
Bob Priest
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book on how to read/study your Bible. This is a valuable resource to address an skill that seems widely missing in todays church. Too many of us are content to let someone else read and study and then tell us what the Scripture means.

Sproul does point out the church needs Pastors and teachers to expound Gods word for the church. They have been gifted and trained for this. Still this does not negate our responsibility to search the Scriptures ourselves as we seek to build a first hand r
Jun 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Directed toward laypeople, Sproul's introduction to biblical interpretation is very readable and practical and suggests strategies and resources to further one's study of the Bible. He gives a few examples of doctrinal disputes that arise when biblical interpretation is done not so carefully and cautions the careful student of the Bible to note what it actually says. He recognizes the value of commentaries, Bible dictionaries, foreign and original biblical languages, and atlases of Bible lands; ...more
Luis Dizon
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-religious
I read this book during my time in bible college for the introductory class on biblical interpretation. This is a great introductory text on Biblical Hermeneutics (the science of interpreting the Bible). There are many other texts on this topic, but the conciseness of this book makes it highly approachable for laypeople. R.C. Sproul (who is a master at taking difficult concepts and breaking them down for the average churchgoer) shows that studying the Bible need not be a difficult task, but that ...more
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book overall with useful information on how to study the bible. I found the introduction to hermeneutics to be particularly helpful - it doesn't go into detail into the intricacies of hermeneutics, but, as a layman (and a person who doesn't aspire to be a scholar), the introduction was more than enough for me. I did find myself disagreeing with Sproul at some of his points, especially concerning his views on Textual Criticism, the KJV and the manuscript debate, but, these were very brief ...more
Jennifer Barkley
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great companion to light a fire to get back into the word and pray for the ability to do what Sproul calls my duty- and I agree, it is. He highlights several real issues of the heart and the intellect when approaching the Bible. The best, in my opinion being that our own cultural secularism colors our interpretations more perhaps than the cultural norms of the time certain passages were written. He flips on its head one of the biggest objections to much of the Bible. Chapter 5 (the long one) is ...more
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-life, own, 2011
Sproul gives a great introduction to understanding God's Word. He deals with common reasons or excuses that keep people from reading and studying as they should. Understanding the Bible as written literature, in its cultural context, in its timeless interpretation to believers today, and through translations or original language word studies are all issues he addresses. I really wish he'd gone a bit further and will probably be looking into some of the suggested resources that he lists.
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another excellent book about how to study the Bible. R. C. Sproul does a good job of providing a volume that discusses the doctrine of Scripture and practical steps to interpret Scripture. Because of its brevity, it does not evaluate either topic as much as I'd like, but what's here is good. His style is conversational but educated and he has a nice turn of phrase that makes for interesting reading.
Eric Riddle
Apr 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was a great primer for understanding better how to study the Bible. It was required reading for my introduction to hermeneutics class. It really helped me understand how to study the scriptures way more in depth than I knew I could. You have this incredible marriage of literature and the working of the Holy Spirit while reading the Bible. I went most of my life not realizing the importance of understanding better the former.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nothing new or earthbreaking, but it was articulated very well. I appreciated the author's humble but scholarly attitude toward controversial issues (Bible translations, study methods, denominations, etc.). While this book would probably be most helpful to new Christians, I think that even Christians who have been studying the Bible for years can enjoy and learn from the book's thoughtful but gracious approach to doctrinal disagreements.
Mason Carpenter
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
R.C. Sproul provides an excellent introduction into the science of studying the Bible. "Knowing Scripture" easily understandable, clear, and treats with honesty both strict and loose interpretation techniques. Unashamedly Christian and conservative, Sproul offers a foundation for studying the Bible that takes the text at face value, seeking to aid the reader in properly handling the Scriptures, so as to glean its proper meaning and then move from there to application.
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, nonfiction
I was cranky about the rather ungracious first half of this book and then sincerely enjoyed his even-handedness in the second half. Even though parts of it can sound dated, it's a good reminder of the value that can be derived from personal study of the Bible and a brief overview of the commonly cited objections, concerns, or pitfalls of individual scriptural interpretation.
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Why study the bible? 5 42 Oct 22, 2012 09:40PM  

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Dr. R.C. Sproul (1939–2017) was founder of Ligonier Ministries, an international Christian discipleship organization located near Orlando, Fla. He was founding pastor of Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Fla., first president of Reformation Bible College, and executive editor of Tabletalk magazine.

Ligonier Ministries began in 1971 as the Ligonier Valley Study Center in Ligonier, Pa. In an effort t

“The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in. (p.35)” 45 likes
“If there is a secret, a carefully guarded secret, to human happiness, it is that one expressed in a seventeenth-century catechism that says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” The secret to happiness is found in obedience to God. How can we be happy if we are not obedient? How can we be obedient if we do not know what it is we are to obey? Thus the top and the tail of it is that happiness cannot be fully discovered as long as we remain ignorant of God’s Word.” 4 likes
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