How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How An Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers—and Why That’s Great News

How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How An Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers—and Why That’s Great News[PDF / Epub] ☃ How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How An Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers—and Why That’s Great News By Peter Enns – Heartforum.co.uk Controversial evangelical Bible scholar, popular blogger and podcast host of The Bible for Normal People, and author of The Bible Tells Me So and The Sin of Certainty explains that the Bible is not an Controversial evangelical Bible Bible Actually PDF ☆ scholar, popular blogger and podcast host of The Bible for How the ePUB × Normal People, and author of The Bible Tells Me So and The Sin of the Bible Actually eBook ✓ Certainty explains that the Bible is not an instruction manual or rule book but a powerful learning tool that nurtures our spiritual growth by refusing to provide us with easy answers but instead forces us to acquire wisdom For many Christians, the Bible is a how to manual filled with literal truths about belief about God that must be strictly followed But the Bible is not static, Peter Enns argues It does not hold easy answers to the perplexing questions and issues that confront us in our daily lives Rather, the Bible is a dynamic instrument for study that not only offers an abundance of insights but provokes us to find our own answers to spiritual questions, cultivating God s wisdom within us The Bible becomes a confusing mess when we expect it to function as a rulebook for faith But when we allow the Bible to determine our expectations, we see that Wisdom, not answers, is the Bible s true subject matter, writes Enns This distinction, he points out, is important because when we come to the Bible expecting it to be a textbook intended by God to give us unwavering certainty about our faith, we are actually creating problems for ourselves The Bible, in other words, really isn t the problem having the wrong expectation is what interferes with our readingRather than considering the Bible as an ancient book weighed down with problems, flaws, and contradictions that must be defended by modern readers, Enns offers a vision of the holy scriptures as an inspired and empowering resource to help us better understand how to live as a person of faith todayHow the Bible Actually Works makes clear that there is no one right way to read the Bible Moving us beyond the damaging idea that being right is the most important measure of faith, Enns s freeing approach to Bible study helps us to instead focus on pursuing enlightenment and building our relationship with God which is exactly what the Bible was designed to do.

Peter Enns is Bible Actually PDF ☆ Abram S Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University, How the ePUB × St Davids, Pennsylvania He has taught courses at several other institutions including Harvard University, the Bible Actually eBook ✓ Fuller Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary Enns is a frequent contributor to journals and encyclopedias and is the author of several books, including Inspiration and Incarnation, The Evolution of Adam, and The Bible Tells Me So.

How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How An
    How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How An a powerful learning tool that nurtures our spiritual growth by refusing to provide us with easy answers but instead forces us to acquire wisdom For many Christians, the Bible is a how to manual filled with literal truths about belief about God that must be strictly followed But the Bible is not static, Peter Enns argues It does not hold easy answers to the perplexing questions and issues that confront us in our daily lives Rather, the Bible is a dynamic instrument for study that not only offers an abundance of insights but provokes us to find our own answers to spiritual questions, cultivating God s wisdom within us The Bible becomes a confusing mess when we expect it to function as a rulebook for faith But when we allow the Bible to determine our expectations, we see that Wisdom, not answers, is the Bible s true subject matter, writes Enns This distinction, he points out, is important because when we come to the Bible expecting it to be a textbook intended by God to give us unwavering certainty about our faith, we are actually creating problems for ourselves The Bible, in other words, really isn t the problem having the wrong expectation is what interferes with our readingRather than considering the Bible as an ancient book weighed down with problems, flaws, and contradictions that must be defended by modern readers, Enns offers a vision of the holy scriptures as an inspired and empowering resource to help us better understand how to live as a person of faith todayHow the Bible Actually Works makes clear that there is no one right way to read the Bible Moving us beyond the damaging idea that being right is the most important measure of faith, Enns s freeing approach to Bible study helps us to instead focus on pursuing enlightenment and building our relationship with God which is exactly what the Bible was designed to do."/>
  • Audiobook
  • 8 pages
  • How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How An Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers—and Why That’s Great News
  • Peter Enns
  • English
  • 09 March 2018
  • 0062894811

10 thoughts on “How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How An Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers—and Why That’s Great News

  1. Randal Martin says:

    harperonepartner wisebible howthebibleactuallyworks For the purpose of full disclosure I received an advance free copy of this book from HarperOne as part of the launch team I have to admit I fully expected it to be The Bible Tells Me So Part 2 I was wrong I am only a couple of chapters in, but How the Bible Actually Works isabout how to find the wisdom in this ancient, ambiguous, and diverse book that many of us grew up thinking we knew I look forward to digging further into harperonepartner wisebible howthebibleactuallyworks For the purpose of full disclosure I received an advance free copy of this book from HarperOne as part of the launch team I have to admit I fully expected it to be The Bible Tells Me So Part 2 I was wrong I am only a couple of chapters in, but How the Bible Actually Works isabout how to find the wisdom in this ancient, ambiguous, and diverse book that many of us grew up thinking we knew I look forward to digging further into this book As with some of Peter s earlier books, I find myself actually going back to the Bible to reread certain passages and thinking, how did I not see that There will be some that will be put off by the title There will be some that will leave negative reviews without reading a single page just because they feel like they re doing God s work by protecting the Bible as they interpret it Take the time to study and find out for yourself

  2. Brock Beesley says:

    Over the last couple of years, there has been a profound shift that has occurred with how we understand the Bible, it s applicability for our day and age, and the lasting value that it continues to have Books like Rob Bell s What is the Bible and Rachel Held Evans Inspired have sparked a renewed interested among not just those who have possibly walked away from the Bible or those who struggle with the balance of ancient documents in a modern day world, but also among those who are not fami Over the last couple of years, there has been a profound shift that has occurred with how we understand the Bible, it s applicability for our day and age, and the lasting value that it continues to have Books like Rob Bell s What is the Bible and Rachel Held Evans Inspired have sparked a renewed interested among not just those who have possibly walked away from the Bible or those who struggle with the balance of ancient documents in a modern day world, but also among those who are not familiar with the wisdom found within it s pages Pete Enns brand new book How the Bible Actually Works brings continued life to the discussion of allowing the Bible to help us understand the ways of God.Like no one else, Enns uses his unique ability to dig into the weeds of Biblical information in a way that everyday normal people like myself can understand exactly what he is attempting to communicate, without feeling as if the depth of information has overtaken them like quicksand His snark and humor is able to diffuse the tension of harsh critics and cause raving fans to reach for a box of Kleenex to dry tears of laughter.More than anything else, one will seldom find such a learned scholar that displays the humility and passion for sacred text that Pete showcases If you re looking for a book that demonizes groups of people, attacks believing Christians, or belittles those who see things differently, How the Bible Actually Works is NOT the book for you This book is filled with compassion and a goal to help readers with the ever present task of understanding a collection of documents, books, and letters, thousands of years old, in a 21st century world.The book does not shy away from the task of grappling with differences, perceived mistakes, and varying discrepancies but helps to bring clarification that propels the reader forward on their journey with God and the Bible.In a world that sees reading of the Bible in steep decline, this book has the ability to turn the tide and help all of us recognize that we are on a continual journey to discover who God is, and the pages of the Bible demonstrate this path of wisdom.Note I did receive a free advanced copy of this book, as a part of my participation with HarperOne and the launch team of How the Bible Works

  3. Jordan says:

    I m not an expert theologian, a professional writer, or someone who has a significant impact on determining the course of others faith as in being ordained or a teacher , so it was a privilege to be included in the launch team, for which I received a complimentary advanced copy of How the Bible Actually Works There are so many detailed reviews with excerpts and analysis, I won t compete I m a regular, ordinary Christian Catholic, to be exact , and that s ok this book is for people like me I m not an expert theologian, a professional writer, or someone who has a significant impact on determining the course of others faith as in being ordained or a teacher , so it was a privilege to be included in the launch team, for which I received a complimentary advanced copy of How the Bible Actually Works There are so many detailed reviews with excerpts and analysis, I won t compete I m a regular, ordinary Christian Catholic, to be exact , and that s ok this book is for people like me I have an insatiable curiosity to learnand understand different perspectives, even if in the end I don t agree with everything I don t even agree with myself some of the time.For some people, what they ve heard about Peter Enns work might have given them a secondhand first impression that his ideas are wrong, scary, or should be avoided Pete makes you think, he makes you laugh, and I bet you ll learn something new even if you don t want to This book may not be for those who prefer to stay in their own lane, and read like minded material in their chosen comfort zone and that s ok There s already plenty out there for those folks and there s nothing wrong with that But growth doesn t come without growing pains For those of us hungry to learn , to see things in a different way and maybe try a new key for the locked door we ve been struggling to open this book just might be what you re looking for Even if it doesn t end up being the key you needed, it might be enough to re charge you for your continued journey And isn t this what s it s all about The journey

  4. Becki says:

    Disclosure I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion, which I always enjoy giving and frankly would have shared for free HarperOnePartnerI came to this book already a fan of author Peter Enns I had already read his book The Bible Tells Me So and I subscribe to and love his podcast The Bible for Normal People, with Jared Byas My prior experience with this author led me to expect very scholarly Biblical study, shared with dry, sarcastic wit, and that Disclosure I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion, which I always enjoy giving and frankly would have shared for free HarperOnePartnerI came to this book already a fan of author Peter Enns I had already read his book The Bible Tells Me So and I subscribe to and love his podcast The Bible for Normal People, with Jared Byas My prior experience with this author led me to expect very scholarly Biblical study, shared with dry, sarcastic wit, and that s exactly what this book was To be fair, this book will not be for everyone in fact, some will hate this book I recommend it specifically for two groups of people Those who are becoming frustrated in their spiritual journey Why would God say this and then allow that Why doesn t this work the way it s supposed to and secondly, to those who have already deconstructed To those who are frustrated I would say, It s not just you I grew up as a pastor s kid in a very conservative evangelical denomination, and I have spent nearly my entire adult life trying to reconcile what my church says I should believe faith and what actually makes sense logic Enns earlier book The Bible Tells Me So was very instrumental in helping me to find peace in holding the two in tension It IS possible to love Jesus and still use your brain, and if that s what you are trying to do, this book will help you with that Enns entire premise is that the Bible is not meant to be read as a black and white rule book Instead, God has given us the sacred responsibility of seeing the overarching purpose of God From the book, Jesus is not about teaching correct thinking , but realigning minds, hearts and motivations to act well, to live in harmony with the kingdom of heaven That may mean re interpreting the scriptures for our lives today Enns very thoroughly demonstrates that this re imagining of the scripture is not sacrilegious On the contrary, this is how faith has always been done, beginning thousands of years ago Here, Enns biblical scholarship really shines through especially through his enjoyable and rampant footnotes Now some info for those who have already deconstructed This book could be housed with similar books such as What is the Bible Rob Bell , Inspired Rachel Held Evans , and Enns own The Bible Tells Me So , all of which I have read and appreciated In comparison to What is the Bible and Inspired , this book isscholarly and laid outas legal argument, ie, establishing incremental blocks which build his case slowly but surely I don t mean to say that How the Bible Actually Works is boring, because it absolutely isn t In both his books and his podcast, Enns does a remarkable job of making scholarship both accessible and enjoyable But it s definitely not as whimsical as What is the Bible nor as lovely as Inspired is.In comparison to Enns prior book The Bible Tells Me So , I felt like How the Bible Actually works washopeful and forward moving Perhaps it s because I was still at the beginning of my deconstruction when I read The Bible Tells Me So , but I ended that book feeling as though something had been torn down in me, while after reading How the Bible Actually Works , I felt like the purpose of the Bible was revived I thoroughly enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it to all who fit into the two above categories While sharing my honest opinion I will say that there are two small things that may have detracted slightly.First, just know Enns is an over explainer I recognize this easily because I am also an over explainer I m a classroom teacher, as is Enns It didn t bother me, per se, but I definitely noticed it, and it may bother others In my mind, it s just Enns being very thorough and deliberate Second Enns gives the Old Testament a LOT of acreage in this book, and not nearly as much for the New Testament I would have enjoyedexpansion on this area of the book Additionally, I would have loved it if Enns had included info about the formation canonization of the Bible and how this idea of re imagination was evident through church history ie, 100CE through the 20th century Those topics were outside the realm of this book, though Maybe Pete could consider them for his next book TL DR Get this book

  5. Heather says:

    The author s approach of using examples from the Old Testament to demonstrate how Judaism evolved over time makes a lot of sense Well done

  6. Faithe says:

    How we approach the Bible is perhaps the most critical issue facing Christianity today After decades of falling in line behind the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, people are leaving the church in droves because the tension between the world in which we live, and this hard line approach to the Bible, is too great Churchgoers are finding that1 The usual explanations for Biblical contradictions are intellectually inadequate when you dig beyond the surface and challenge the pat answer How we approach the Bible is perhaps the most critical issue facing Christianity today After decades of falling in line behind the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, people are leaving the church in droves because the tension between the world in which we live, and this hard line approach to the Bible, is too great Churchgoers are finding that1 The usual explanations for Biblical contradictions are intellectually inadequate when you dig beyond the surface and challenge the pat answers given by popular authority figures.2 The topics of evolution, same sex relationships, and women s roles are being treated like elephants in the room to be gingerly skirted around at best.3 They feel as if they can t call themselves Christian any if they don t line up behind the right answers being given from within the church How the Bible Actually Works helps to cut this tension.It aims to demonstrate that the Bible actually works to lead people into wisdom the ability to act right for our time, place and situation instead of being a static, never changing rule book Enns accomplishes this using his insightful knowledge as a Biblical scholar in a way that s clear and easy to understand As a bonus, his dry sarcasm and aptly placed footnotes will make you involuntarily chuckle.This wisdom approach to the Bible invites readers to accept a sacred responsibility Enn s terminology to discern the right and it s not as easy as simply following the rules.If you re struggling to reconcile your Christian faith with the world you live in, How the Bible Actually Works will be a helpful and encouraging tool for your journey Bring your sense of humor

  7. Leah Randall says:

    Having been raised Methodist in the Bible Belt, I carried always an awareness that I read the Bible differently from many of my neighbors of the sola scriptura tradition whose various Statements of Faith insist upon the Book s inerrancy and infallibility I have also watched some Evangelical fundamentalists raised in that tradition awakened by cognitive dissonance as they confront social issues in a postmodern world, or when they encounter ambiguity and contradictions in the Bible abandon it Having been raised Methodist in the Bible Belt, I carried always an awareness that I read the Bible differently from many of my neighbors of the sola scriptura tradition whose various Statements of Faith insist upon the Book s inerrancy and infallibility I have also watched some Evangelical fundamentalists raised in that tradition awakened by cognitive dissonance as they confront social issues in a postmodern world, or when they encounter ambiguity and contradictions in the Bible abandon it as a no longer reliable record of God s truth, purpose and actions Reading How the Bible Actually Works, may indeed cause apologists for the Bible as inerrant and infallible rule book to squirm uncomfortably even become enraged as Enns masterfully illustrates the many absurdities one must accept in order to take the Bible literally With equal mastery, he supports and fleshes out his proposition that the Bible s purpose is to steer us away from absurdity toward wisdom The again, Methodist writers of the Junaluska Affirmation, wisely and, after all, Enns writes here about Wisdom as the Bible s endgame , rejected the words inerrant and infallible in favor of the statement, The authority of Scripture derives from the fact that God, through His Spirit, inspired the authors, causing them to perceive God s truth and record it with accuracy Since my youth, I have mainly approached the Bible accordingly It seems to me that Pete Enns has gone and done likewise The Bible Tells Me So, Enns earlier book in this trilogy with The Sin of Certainty was an affirmation for me and others who love the Bible yet hold loosely to certainty over its every nuance In How the Bible Actually Works, Enns offers insight into how perceiving God s truth required the writers to update or upgrade the record over time as their perception of God s truth developed and shifted Feeling as if I was already very much on the same page as Peter Enns, this book doesn t change how the Bible actually works for me I found, rather, that it offers wisdom for approaching discussions about the Bible with those who have been conditioned to expect it to work infallibly and inerrantly I cannot help wishing others of my acquaintance would read this book and take at least some small something away from it that would make it easier to have a conversation I would definitely recommend this book for those who find themselves in a period of deconstructing traditions as they try to reconcile their beliefs about scriptural inspiration with what they perceive to be God s truth for a rapidly changing world something, Enns says, is already happening within the Bible itself In a nutshell By understanding the Bible is not a set in stone rule book, we let it shepherd us toward wisdom as we accept its ambiguity By embracing the Bible as a book of wisdom, perhaps all of us who love it might come into a greater understanding of how it brings the faith story of the past into the present and helps us discern what God is doing here and now PeterEnns style footnotes, which may or may not be an effort at humor or contain sarcasm you decide P.S Pete scored the last half star needed to raise my rating to five stars by mentioning the Wesleyan Quadrilateral Harper One provided a free Advance Reader copy, and I offer this review as a voluntary member of the Launch Team for How the Bible Actually Works I appreciate it so much I have pre ordered a copy of the final print version

  8. Boyd Barrett says:

    First of all, I am part of the launch team for How the Bible Actually Works by Pete Enns, so I received an advance reader copy from HarperOne I have engaged with Pete s work for the past few years and am a regular listener to his podcast.This book definitely achieves its goal of taking the listener through a fast paced and humor laced overview of how the Bible reveals itself to be an ongoing conversation about God, a conversation that is contained within and constrained by the varying culture First of all, I am part of the launch team for How the Bible Actually Works by Pete Enns, so I received an advance reader copy from HarperOne I have engaged with Pete s work for the past few years and am a regular listener to his podcast.This book definitely achieves its goal of taking the listener through a fast paced and humor laced overview of how the Bible reveals itself to be an ongoing conversation about God, a conversation that is contained within and constrained by the varying cultures and worldviews in which the books were written Enns does a masterful job of walking his readers through the key points of that conversation and shows how the Biblical writers found the wisdom to repackage the truths about God to speak to their own time Learning how to obtain the wisdom to repackage those truths is, according to Enns, the purpose of the Bible If there is one tweak I would make to the argument of the book, it would be in regards to the spiritual world Enns shows that the presentation of the spiritual world made a dramatic shift after the Babylonian exile and between the Old and New Testaments The choice to be made is whether that shift is due totally to a reimagining by the Biblical writers that included new spiritual entities good and evil created to help explain their current situation or a possible increased revelation regarding the details of the spiritual world Enns is not clear at least in this book which choice he would make.My favorite quote from the book I ve learned by reading the Bible again and again to accept and be grateful for this messy Bible we have, which drives us, as I ve been saying, away from thinking of it as a stagnant pond of rules and regulations and toward thinking of it as a flowing stream that invites us to step in and be refreshed anew every day in following Jesus here and now It s clear that Enns sees the life, ministry, and proclamation of Jesus as the high mark of the Bible s interplay with wisdom However, he encourages us as modern readers to continue to employ the wisdom of repackaging found in the Bible to speak its message to our time and place

  9. MindyK says:

    The first time I bought Pete s book The Sin of Certainty, I was so frightened by it, I threw it away Not kidding I had to go buy it again after my heart stopped skipping beats, so ka ching, Pete, you sold that one twice I have now read all of Pete s books, and this is another gem Pete s very funny and easily accessible commentary on how the Bible leads us to wisdom and not a list of facts we must believe is a refreshing view of Scripture My main takeaways from this journey 1 we are to l The first time I bought Pete s book The Sin of Certainty, I was so frightened by it, I threw it away Not kidding I had to go buy it again after my heart stopped skipping beats, so ka ching, Pete, you sold that one twice I have now read all of Pete s books, and this is another gem Pete s very funny and easily accessible commentary on how the Bible leads us to wisdom and not a list of facts we must believe is a refreshing view of Scripture My main takeaways from this journey 1 we are to love the Lord with our minds don t put your intelligence on hold to conform to some doctrine, 2 questions are nothing to be afraid of and are actually encouraged by God, and 3 Jesus is so muchamazing than I had been lead to believe Buy this book if you have a sense of humor are open to having your views challenged Full disclosure I received an advance copy of this book from HarperOne

  10. Jon Gill says:

    Why We Need This NowI attend what most would call an evangelical church While there are lots of ways to define that, for the purpose of this book s topic, my church s statement of belief on the Bible a relatively standard evangelical one goes like thisThe Bible, containing 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is the infallible Word of God, written under inspiration of the Holy Spirit and having supreme and final authority on all matters to which it speaks It is without error in the or Why We Need This NowI attend what most would call an evangelical church While there are lots of ways to define that, for the purpose of this book s topic, my church s statement of belief on the Bible a relatively standard evangelical one goes like thisThe Bible, containing 66 books of the Old and New Testaments, is the infallible Word of God, written under inspiration of the Holy Spirit and having supreme and final authority on all matters to which it speaks It is without error in the original manuscripts and contains all the words God intended for His people to have in order to trust and obey Him If I had written this, I would have had to cut some parts entirely, and add asterisks to almost everything that remainedFor example, Why 66 Not even Christians agree on that and Original manuscripts We don t have those and I thought it was JESUS who was supposed to be the Word of God Shouldn t the Bible just be pointing us to Him and What does inspiration mean in this case and What did Christians do before they had the Bible Not to mention the questions I have about the Bible s historicity, its literal interpretations, its ancient pseudo science, and its mythology yes, mythology In summary, my relationship with the Bible lately has been complicated at best I suppose this is why no one is knocking down my door asking me to be an elder Not that I m asking.The latest book from Old Testament Scholar and Serious Snark Expert Pete Enns is full of asterisks There s even an asterisk in the titleOf course, some authors use evenfootnotes than he does, but you ll enjoy the diverse flavor of his footnoting style I read Enns sThe Bible Tells Me So Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read Itrecently, and it was incredibly refreshing It presented a well needed criticism on the modern evangelical Biblicist reading of the scriptures, favoring ainformed and realistic approach toward understanding what we should or should not try to make the Bible do for us While that book largely worked on breaking apart the box we ve decided to shove the Bible into, this book shatters the mold entirely and shows us what it looks like to really use the Bible for its actual purpose, which he argues from the title on is to lead us to Wisdom After all, he says, God is not a helicopter parent He wants us to walk with Him, not just cite him in footnotesI am aware of the irony of this analogy, having just discussed the value of footnotesEnns analyzes the three features he says are most important to keep in mind as we read the Bible that it is Ancient Like, really really old So old that our world is very little like the context of the writers and audiences Ambiguous Even the LAWS aren t all that clear, and most of our real work with the Bible is interpreting the meaning behind its ambiguity and Diverse different writers writing at different times to different people for different reasons a theme of both books We know subconsciously that we need to somehow translate the words literally and spiritually into our lives in a relevant way the problem is, we don t necessarily know or agree on how to do thatI shouldn t say problem here, since Enns would say that s part of our job to disagree and debate Wisdom Rather Than AnswersSo what are we doing wrong, and how should we change it Well first off, we probably are doing a lot of things right, even if we don t know that we are Enns points out many places where we find ourselves already translating the wisdom of the ancient texts into new contexts for reasons not necessarily imagined or intended by the original authors, such as when we worked for the abolition of slavery he goes into detail on this one, since it s a good example of contrasting the wisdom argument with the straight text argument I could think of many other examples even within my own evangelical context where people do take the Bible s context, ambiguity, and diversity into account when applying it wisely to their lives So it s not that we get it all wrong But he takes particular issue with the sort of rule book application of scripture that we see at times, which stems from the Biblicist system I ve quote in my church s doctrinal statement above Exalting the Bible as a perfect, inerrant, infallible, and essentially timeless document by which we magically know exactly how to live our lives is, to Enns, basically like dividing by zero It s far beyond useless it s downright impossible If we really want the Bible to be useful to us, here in 21st century America or wherever we are , we need to add some real understanding to the who, what, when, where, and why of the Bible s ancient, ambiguous, and diverse authorship The Bible is not supposed to be viewed like the Quran or Joseph Smith s golden tablets, as a magical and perfect text written by the hand of God without the hint of fallible or limited human contribution The Bible is very human and that s OK For the TL DR folksIf I had to summarize the premises and theology of this book, it would be 1 The Bible was written by men in different places, times, and contexts, for the purpose of describing what God was like, in their particular experience, context, and world and remember, this context is an ancient and limited one 2 As times changed, new things about God had to be explored you could go with Enns s term reimagined or if that s too uncomfortable, perhaps just re learned or revealed , and this very process is modeled in the Bible as we look at the changing times and situations of its authors 3 Christianity itself is such a reimagining of the old texts that it takes us well beyond the limits of the old faith Not Your Father s Judaism into something new that God is doing 4 Reading, interpreting, debating, and learning from the old texts i.e the Bible itself, to us is our sacred responsibility, and we can only do it if we seek wisdom rather than easy, quotable, certain answers The Bible doesn t provide us with answers, it just helps us seek Wisdom, which is how we walk with God in our time, place, and situation.5 We shouldn t attempt to make the Bible fit together by explaining away or torturing conflicting passages or contradictions instead, we should recognize its diverse portraits of God over time and context, and recognize the wisdom that leads us to find God s portrait for our own time, place, and life Heretics and Ripping Off the Band AidEnns does not set out to destroy the Bible in any way That is sometimes a feature of non Christian biblical scholars whose scholarship we should NOT dismiss, nonetheless , and I think the most conservative reader may feel threatened as Enns riffs on the revelations of modern scholarship and what logical ends they lead to I remember being a bit jarred when I found out in The Bible Tells Me So that scholarship points toward the Canaanite conquest as being mostly a legend rather than straight history Biblical archaeology aside, when an inerrantist view comes across new scholarship or factual challenges, the first reaction is usually defensiveness But if modern scholarship has given fundamentalist evangelicalism a wound, Enns rips the band aid off and tells us how to heal Enns is rather disarming precisely because he accepts and conducts modern scholarship, and merely incorporates those new revelations into awell informed faith While an inerrantist would either double down or lose their faith entirely, Enns shows us how to bewell, wise about how we read, understand, interpret, and apply the Bible to our lives today He puts it this wayWe should be very careful to avoid two extremes The first is looking down on this ancient view of God violent, tribal, one of many as simply wrong The other is elevating this view off the pages of history, of taking it as timeless and correct because it s in the Bible We respect these sacred texts not by taking them as the final word on what God is like, but by accepting them as recording for us genuine experiences of God for the Israelites and trying to understand why they would describe God as they doBy not expecting the Bible to do something it s not designed to do even if we d really, really like it to , we can freely embrace our own responsibility to seek out what Wisdom looks like and thus, what God look like in our particular context here and now.Criticisms and StrengthsIs this book infallible haha No My main criticism is probably amplified because I m already a fan of his other work there are many parts in the book where his roundabout and wandering style causes him to repeat himself a lot He reasserts his thesis dozens of times, and numerous phrases risk beating a dead goat for how many times they appear Many points are twice as long as they probably needed to beFun Fact There are exactly twice as many words in the title as there are chapters in the book This happensin the first half of the book, and is less noticeable as the examples arefleshed out It s probablyobvious after reading The Bible Tells Me So, since in these books together he argues this point against rule book hermeneutics at length The book itself is quite easy to read, unlike most books by actual bible scholars, so in spite of the roundabout style and dry German humor, you ll have plenty of fun while learning a lot The cartoon y graphics and maps at the beginning are worth a good long look and really set the tone for a fun but still legitimate journey in Bible scholarship The chapter titles and subheadings alone are worthy of a book recommendation.Ultimately, though, the strongest and most valuable parts of the book are the specific examples that not only show where we might have misapplied or misunderstood a text, but where we were probably completely in the dark about the origins and original intent of a text I learned, for example, just how important an event the exile was for Israel s identity and faith I also learned how much of the OT is written from the perspective of Judah, who were exiled later than Israel and some of whom returned The Judaism that finishes writing the OT, writes the Apocrypha, and gives birth to the New Testament s Christ movement is all descended from that small remnant of Judahites that return from exile I knew this, to a point, but never realized just how deeply affecting this is when it comes to understanding the texts, their origins, and their purposeN.T Wright does a good job of showing this also, but I ve only just started reading his books It s in the specific examples that I can have conversations with myconservative evangelical friends We can both approach the conflicting portraits of God and Ninevah found in Nahum and Jonah, for example, and while my friend might try to harmonize them, I can discuss how a diverse reading actually helps us makesense of God, not only in that context, but in how I can know Him today When someone says the Bible has all the answers I need, I can perhaps point to the arguments preached by my anti abolitionist ancestor in the 19th century, who derived from the text that God supported slavery and opposed abolition When my friend asks where our final authority comes from on who God is and how we should live, we can usually agree that the answer is Jesus, not some ambiguous reading of the Bible We won t always agree on what the Bible teaches, and Enns doesn t think we have to Rather, we have the duty to seek Wisdom, using the Bible as an ancient, ambiguous, and diverse example but not as a timeless and inerrant rule book Recognizing the Bible for what it is frees us to learn Wisdom rather than grasp at rote or unmoving answers After all, Pharisees may write and enforce rules, but Disciples walk humbly with the source of WisdomNote that this is a person, not a bookDisclosure I received an advance reader copy of the book from HarperOne as a member of the Launch Team, in exchange for an honest review You can pre order the book before its Feb 19, 2019 release at peteenns.com how the bible actually w

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