Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Digging deeper in the Bible

Understanding and interpreting the Bible seems to be a lost 'art' to all too many Christians today - lay and clergy. What is needed are more books on the subject that are easy to read and accessible for those who want to take their faith seriously. After John Stott's "Understanding the Bible" and Gordon Fee's "How to read the Bible for all it's worth" I had all but given up looking for something that could meet the criteria of being erudite and accessible at the same time. Then along came "Dig Deeper" by Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach subtitled "Tools to unearth the Bible's treasure". It is superbly written in a down to earth and witty style managing to convey vital lessons in biblical interpretation in an entertaining and memorable way.

The book includes 17 short chapters presenting a wide range of interpretive tools that help the reader get to the heart of the text before them. Tools include "The Author's Purpose Tool" - which asks the question "why did the author write what he did?" Or "The Linking Words Tool" which highlights the importance of words such as "for" or "therefore" with instructive diagrams to help us understand how to apply their significance in the passage in question. 

Each chapter has a worked example plus questions and suggestions for passages which provide further opportunities to apply the tool discussed. I was so taken with the book that I finished it over two days ready to start again.

I strongly recommend the book not only for individual study but as a teaching tool for use in the parish - something I hope to look at next month.

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