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Understanding the Bible

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  232 ratings  ·  26 reviews
This book answers foundational questions: Who wrote the Bible? What is its message? Why is it thought to be a "holy" book? How does one read and interpret it? Best of all, though, you'll broaden your vision of Jesus Christ, the focal point of Scripture. How? By better understanding the geographical, religious, and historical concerns that shaped the world in which he lived ...more
Published February 12th 1982 by Zondervan Academic (first published September 28th 1972)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Patrick McWilliams
Hard to give this a single rating. There are portions that are 5-star worthy as an introduction to the Bible to newcomers, but some of Stott's unorthodox views are sprinkled throughout, such as a non-literal reading of Gen 1-3 for example, which makes me hesitant to recommend this to new believers. It's a shame, because his overviews of the Old and New Testament are really pretty good. ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading Stott for the first time. I must add that the beginning of his discussion there were things I struggled with. When speaking about Genesis he took a strong scientific stand regarding creation and disclaiming the 6 days of creation. Holding the scientific view over scripture popped up a few more times causing me to research Stott a bit more before continuing to read. I read an interview Albert Mohler had with him and a memorial by John Piper the day Stott died. Both held him in h ...more
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A well organised little book full of helpful and clear information.
Many have recommended this book to new believers or people merely interested in Christianity, however, I'd say only the more studious people would enjoy this reading. Although I do think a deep research is the right way to go regarding any faith or belief.
To those starting to get interested in Christianity, I would first point to Christ and suggest reading a gospel before this book.
Sam Nichols
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
He has a firm grasp over the Bible but not sure if I’d recommend this to a brand new Christian. Some of the language used is outdated and hard to follow.
Dermot O'Sullivan
John Stott's Understanding the Bible is a really useful guide for Bible readers. In it, he provides a theological overview as well setting the historical and geographical context for its stories. For instance, he summarises very well the long, tortuous and complex history of the Jewish people from the Exodus from Egypt until the Coming of Christ. It seems strange now to be how anyone could tackle the Old Testament without this understanding.

My edition is very much like a high school textbook: l
JJ Vancil
Mar 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: spiritual-growth
Understanding the Bible, by John Stott, is a thorough exposition on the overview and core truths of God’s Word. Beginning with the purpose of the Bible, Stott walks through the historical and geographical context, the story of both Testaments and the key messages the Bible is communicating while never straying from the sole unifying purpose, which is Jesus Christ. Moreover, Stott affirms the authority of the Bible and gives the reader tools for interpretation. However, the style of Stott's writi ...more
Elise Brake
A fantastic general exegetical and hermeneutical overview of the Bible. Great foundation for further study. Particularly valuable for understanding the overarching themes and narrative structure. Highly recommend.

Steven Gordon-Wilson
Remember at school, we used to get York Notes for great works of literature? Well, this book is that for the bible, and so much more besides. In two brilliantly written chapters, John Stott outlines the story of both the Old and New Testaments which really give an excellent overview of the book as a whole (which, as Stott later explains, is crucial to ones understanding.) As well as these, Stott gives a detailed background as to the purpose and historical context of the Bible, and goes on to exp ...more
Anne Hooper
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read for anyone wanting to make sense of the Bible as a whole

Even though I believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God, I sometimes wonder at the apparent contradictions. I love this book shows the continuity and consistency of gods word . I just finished reading it for the first time, and will read it again. I also am going to be including many principles of this book in my personal studies as well as my group studies. Thank you so much for writing this.
A.J. Mendoza
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Geared towards more academically minded, though not too much as to make high school reading level congregants overly uncomfortable. Stott utilizes his education well with a clear walk through of a mostly conservative grammatico-historical approach to the Bible.
Kevyn Monier
The book did not meet the title!

I expected more from the book. I could not wait to finish the book. The book had some informative moments, but on the whole it was a struggle to read.
Jon Cooper
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
An ok and quick read that would work as a good introduction for someone who is already a Christian but wants a better and broader understanding of the Bible. Still, many of his conclusions don't hold up to logic or biblical scholarship ultimately contrary to his personal faith. ...more
Brandon Wilkins
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a really good introduction to the Bible. Good for beginners. It covers: the purpose of the Bible, the geography of the Bible, Old Testament overview, New Testament overview, the message of salvation, the authority and inspiration of the Bible, the interpretation of the Bible, and the use of the Bible.
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a very good book to give young Christians or recommend to them, as they try to get to grips with the many different styles of writing contained in the Scriptures. I read it as a student and found it gave me a good basic grounding in Old and New Testament writings, the nature of God's overall dealings with the Jews and Gentiles and got me reading the actual Bible itself more avidly, for which I am eternally thankful. John Stott was a great reader and scholar of the Bible himself and obvio ...more
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished-in-2016
Summary: I enjoyed this book for his Overview of the Bible and his "big picture"viewpoint.
Favorite Quote: "...another way of summing up the Old Testament witness to Christ is to say that it depicts him as a greater prophet than Moses, a greater priest than Aaron and a greater king than David. That is to say, he will perfectly reveal God to man, reconcile man to God and rule over man for God. In him, the Old Testament ideals of prophecy, priesthood and kingship will find their final fulfillment."
Ashish Jaituni
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A very good book! I loved reading every page of it! John Stott is my favorite theologian writer who puts across facts, interpretations and meanings so very well and in words that everyone can follow. I hugely recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what the Bible is all about!
Oct 21, 2013 rated it liked it
The chapter on hermeneutics was simple and clear— a great explanation! The first 3/4ths of the book plodded a bit, and his view on interpreting Genesis 1-3 was a little disappointing. This is a book where the good is really good, and the rest is just average.
Bonnie Fraser
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Waqas Kashi
Oct 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
how I open this
Sep 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Although perhaps not the best choice for younger readers, this book provides a very good overview of and introduction to the Bible and its context.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Had to read it for school. Has some good points. Not necessarily a breath taker. I do recommend that you read it though. Gives some perspective on the bible.
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Tough to read but well worth the time it takes. Beautiful and deep.
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-read
Great book on how we should read the Bible. When is the Bible acting as an historical book the documents events that actually occurred and when is the purpose different.
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've enjoyed reading (and listening to) John Stott recently. This is an excellent commentary on the Bible and I found it very useful and helpful. ...more
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Useful and simple book by John Stott
Grant Sutphin
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Jun 15, 2018
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John R. W. Stott is known worldwide as a preacher, evangelist, and communicator of Scripture. For many years he served as rector of All Souls Church in London, where he carried out an effective urban pastoral ministry. A leader among evangelicals in Britain, the United States and around the world, Stott was a principal framer of the landmark Lausanne Covenant (1974). His many books, including Why ...more

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108 likes · 35 comments
“Salvation is far more than merely the forgiveness of sins. It includes the whole sweep of God’s purpose to redeem and restore humankind, and indeed all creation. What we claim for the Bible is that it unfolds God’s total plan.” 0 likes
“The salvation for which the Bible instructs us is available “through faith in Christ Jesus.” Therefore, since Scripture concerns salvation and salvation is through Christ, Scripture is full of Christ.” 0 likes
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