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How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth

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Your Guide to Understanding the Bible Understanding the Bible isn’t for the few, the gifted, the scholarly. The Bible is accessible. It’s meant to be read and comprehended by everyone from armchair readers to seminary students. A few essential insights into the Bible can clear up a lot of misconceptions and help you grasp the meaning of Scripture and its application to your Your Guide to Understanding the Bible Understanding the Bible isn’t for the few, the gifted, the scholarly. The Bible is accessible. It’s meant to be read and comprehended by everyone from armchair readers to seminary students. A few essential insights into the Bible can clear up a lot of misconceptions and help you grasp the meaning of Scripture and its application to your 21st-century life. More than half a million people have turned to How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth to inform their reading of the Bible. This third edition features substantial revisions that keep pace with current scholarship, resources, and culture. Changes include: •Updated language •A new authors’ preface •Several chapters rewritten for better readability •Updated list of recommended commentaries and resources Covering everything from translational concerns to different genres of biblical writing, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth is used all around the world. In clear, simple language, it helps you accurately understand the different parts of the Bible—their meaning for ancient audiences and their implications for you today—so you can uncover the inexhaustible worth that is in God’s Word.


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Your Guide to Understanding the Bible Understanding the Bible isn’t for the few, the gifted, the scholarly. The Bible is accessible. It’s meant to be read and comprehended by everyone from armchair readers to seminary students. A few essential insights into the Bible can clear up a lot of misconceptions and help you grasp the meaning of Scripture and its application to your Your Guide to Understanding the Bible Understanding the Bible isn’t for the few, the gifted, the scholarly. The Bible is accessible. It’s meant to be read and comprehended by everyone from armchair readers to seminary students. A few essential insights into the Bible can clear up a lot of misconceptions and help you grasp the meaning of Scripture and its application to your 21st-century life. More than half a million people have turned to How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth to inform their reading of the Bible. This third edition features substantial revisions that keep pace with current scholarship, resources, and culture. Changes include: •Updated language •A new authors’ preface •Several chapters rewritten for better readability •Updated list of recommended commentaries and resources Covering everything from translational concerns to different genres of biblical writing, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth is used all around the world. In clear, simple language, it helps you accurately understand the different parts of the Bible—their meaning for ancient audiences and their implications for you today—so you can uncover the inexhaustible worth that is in God’s Word.

30 review for How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amy Lynn

    In all honesty, the only reason that I read this book is because it was required for a class. I'm glad that I read it and am thankful to have kept it as a reference. My only regret is that I wasn't made aware of it sooner. Having read it much sooner would have saved me decades of headache and heartache in sorting through all the twisted theologies currently parading through the modern church today. This book is about the bible and its original intention, and how to read it in that context. Fee a In all honesty, the only reason that I read this book is because it was required for a class. I'm glad that I read it and am thankful to have kept it as a reference. My only regret is that I wasn't made aware of it sooner. Having read it much sooner would have saved me decades of headache and heartache in sorting through all the twisted theologies currently parading through the modern church today. This book is about the bible and its original intention, and how to read it in that context. Fee and Stuart emphasize repeatedly the common mistake that many individual Christians(and most churches) make in twisting the scriptures - particularly the Old Testament - into somehow being about the present age, which it isn't! They further explain how the Old Testament is misinterpreted in the present day by many legalistic doctrines to be a moral standard and judgment on present day living. It isn't and was never intended to be. Furthermore, Fee & Stuart clearly point out the flaws of the KJV/NKJV by exposing translation errors that essentially change the meaning of the original text by encouraging what is known as "proof-texting" which simply means taking verses out of context to suit ones own meaning, i.e. "name it and claim it" theology, so-called end-times "the sky is falling" rescue-ism of Dispensational theology, taking Revelation literally rather than as the figurative narrative from Genesis to the ascension of Christ, the egoism of Calvinism, etc., etc. This book is for anyone who is a critical thinker, whether Christian or not, who wishes to understand more fully the bible as it was meant to be read and understood: in the original context and as addressed to the original reader, and why. If you are a dogmatic and rigid Christian unaccustomed to and uncomfortable with examining your belief system, or if you are a dogmatic and rigid atheist who refuses to believe in spite of evidence, then this book will likely irritate you. Even so, I highly recommend it! It challenged me, answered many questions that I've had for more than two decades in a logical and meaningful way, and has helped to reshape my view of God the Father from a moralistic micromanager of mankind to that of a living Creator intent on redeeming the world and not just a narrowly limited few.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jason Evans

    On Sunday nights, our little group has started taking a book of the Bible each week and discussing it. Going through the the books in written order, we talk about the book’s history, intent and what its implications are for us today. We decided to do this because several in our group have a precarious relationship with Scripture. Some of of us have very little exposure to it previously. For others it’s intimidating. And some are simply deciding what their relationship to the Bible is. With this i On Sunday nights, our little group has started taking a book of the Bible each week and discussing it. Going through the the books in written order, we talk about the book’s history, intent and what its implications are for us today. We decided to do this because several in our group have a precarious relationship with Scripture. Some of of us have very little exposure to it previously. For others it’s intimidating. And some are simply deciding what their relationship to the Bible is. With this in mind, I was anxious to read Fee and Stuart’s How to Read the Bible for All its Worth. The book provides an overview of how to understand the the tools, terminology and effective approaches to reading and understanding the Bible. Approachable? Gordon Fee taught at Regent College, which is known for providing a theological education for lay persons. With this in mind, I was curious as to whether or not this book was really useful to the lay person. The book does requires familiarity with Scripture. I wouldn’t recommend this to someone who does not have previous exposure to Scripture and Christian thought without a dialog partner. Bias? While potentially an unfair expectation, I was interested in whether the authors are able to direct the reader in how to study while allowing the reader to develop their own conclusions This is not necessarily a bad thing, but there are several doctrinal issues that the authors clearly couldn’t avoid speaking to. And not always convincingly in my opinion. It may very well be that directing the study of Scripture can’t be done without directing some of the outcomes. Still, should the reader be told what his or her conclusion ought to be if honest study is the goal? Brevity? Considering how much has been written on any given book of the Bible, can such a short book cover the subject of biblical study fairly? The authors actually do a superb job of covering the “basics” of reading the Bible. Their explanations are concise, provide examples and is, usually, easy to follow. The fact that the book is so comprehensive while so pithy is certainly a testament to the writers’ expertise. The authors’ confess in the preface that they are admittedly scholars and write as such. Still, it is a comprehensive book for most looking for an introduction to the Bible, how it is assembled and how it ought to be read. I wonder if it is fair not to provide more significant information on differing opinions. But the authors write with conviction and reading the Bible in a manner that does effect our living is often a challenge. I appreciated that Fee and Stuart actually encouraged the reader to respond to Scripture not just in thought but in living as well.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Berg

    This is hands-down the best treatment of hermeneutics (or bible-study or exegesis) that I've ever come across. It is written at the popular level (no Greek, Hebrew, or degree with multiple letters required) yet treats the issue far better than a great many more technical works. The authors have a singular commitment to "authorial intent" as the goal of historical exegesis. This commitment and the clear and relevant way in which they demonstrate the principles of exegesis as applied to the differ This is hands-down the best treatment of hermeneutics (or bible-study or exegesis) that I've ever come across. It is written at the popular level (no Greek, Hebrew, or degree with multiple letters required) yet treats the issue far better than a great many more technical works. The authors have a singular commitment to "authorial intent" as the goal of historical exegesis. This commitment and the clear and relevant way in which they demonstrate the principles of exegesis as applied to the different genres of scripture (they identify eight; epistles, Old Testament narratives, acts, gospels [including a separate chapter on parables], law, prophets, wisdom, and revelation) sets the book apart, and makes it the first I would recommend to anyone seeking to understand the bible. Note that while Stuart is a Southern Baptist, Fee is a Pentecostal, and both are egalitarians. It seems like less than a coincidence that a great many of the "examples" of exegetical difficulties presented thus touch on women in ministry and tongues. A reader coming to the book with a conservative fundamentalist theological grid may find the authors' conclusions on these and similar issues difficult to stomach. However, they treat the issues fairly, and from the standpoint of solid exegesis of the texts at hand, if not always in light of extended reflection on other pertinent texts in the New Testament. For a more technical presentation of the exegetical method taught here, see "old testament exegesis" and "new testament exegesis" by these two authors respectively. The book is exceptional, and I highly recommend it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lananorris

    I think this is the best and most important of all the books ABOUT the Bible. We are supposed to read and understand and love the word of God, but it is hard sometimes to do all of those things with a work of literature that was written thousands of years ago and half a world away. I think that most Christians tend to think that since the Bible is a book apart from all other books that it should not be read in the same way that we read other works of literature. While we should revere God's word I think this is the best and most important of all the books ABOUT the Bible. We are supposed to read and understand and love the word of God, but it is hard sometimes to do all of those things with a work of literature that was written thousands of years ago and half a world away. I think that most Christians tend to think that since the Bible is a book apart from all other books that it should not be read in the same way that we read other works of literature. While we should revere God's word we are instructed within its pages to handle it properly. There is more to reading the Bible than simply reading and memorizing our favorite stories and passages. Dr. Fee reminds us that we are to read God's word and then shape our lives to it; instead, many times we read God's word to support our opinions, our politics and our lifestyles. There are many pet doctrines out there which were first formed in the mind and then the Bible has been forced into the mold of the that doctrine. The Bible can stand up to the closest scrutiny. It will surpass any other religous works when judged by the same standard with which we judge any other ancient work. The Bible is worth the time and study to learn how to read it and interpret it properly. Most of the criticisms of the Church can be traced back to human interpretations (or misinterpretations) of the Word of God.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angela Blount

    4 1/2 Stars All in all, this has been a deeply valuable reference for learning to read the Bible--and to explain to others how they can better understand it themselves and find relevant life application. On a deep study level, I'm impressed with how much its expanded my ability to discern the full historical and literary context of commonly misused/misunderstood passages and verses. I'd long understood that most abuses of biblical quotation and interpretation centered around either proof-texting, 4 1/2 Stars All in all, this has been a deeply valuable reference for learning to read the Bible--and to explain to others how they can better understand it themselves and find relevant life application. On a deep study level, I'm impressed with how much its expanded my ability to discern the full historical and literary context of commonly misused/misunderstood passages and verses. I'd long understood that most abuses of biblical quotation and interpretation centered around either proof-texting, or a simple lack of thorough reading (not reading the verse before and after the verse in question, never mind taking the time to read the full paragraph or chapter it's actually found in.) But this book's orderly approach to gaining better perspective was enlightening to degrees that reminded me just how much I don't know I don't know. I came away awed by how many different genres make up the entirety of the Bible—I'd only been taught a few, and the scope of it had previously eluded me. Hence one of my favorite takeaways: *“One of the most important aspects of the human side of the Bible is that, in order to communicate his Word to all human conditions, God chose to use almost every available kind of communication: narrative history, genealogies, chronicles, laws of all kinds, poetry of all kinds, proverbs, prophetic oracles, riddles, drama, biographical sketches, parables, letters, sermons, and apocalypses.” How To Read Your Bible For All Its Worth is strongly academic, yet structured well enough to walk laymen through some progressive comprehension on the basis and basics of biblical interpretation. I don't recommend reading this book out of order, as the chapters generally build on each other. The first chapter is especially crucial to understanding where to begin with your reading/interpreting and why. There is a reasoning and a method to their suggestions, and it is blessedly orderly: Exegesis: the careful, systematic study of the Scripture to discover the original, intended meaning. This is basically a historical task. Hermeneutics: the study of the methodological principles of interpretation. It is used in the narrower sense of seeking the contemporary relevance of ancient texts. *"The reason one needs to learn -how- to interpret is that, whether one likes it or not, every reader is at the same time an interpreter. That is, most of us assume as we read that we also understand what we read. … We also tend to think that -our understanding- is the same thing as the Holy Spirit's or human author's -intent-. However, we invariably bring to the text all that we are, with all of our experiences, culture, and prior understandings of words and ideas. Sometimes what we bring to the text, unintentionally to be sure, leads us astray, or else causes us to read all kinds of foreign ideas into the text." It's difficult to rate a book like this, given its instructional/textbook-like feel and function. It is a bit dry at times, though the authors certainly make a go at humorous insertions to hold their reader's attention. At a few points I worried their wording choice was on the needlessly convoluted side—yet, it's hard to argue with the voice and perspective of theological professors who certainly know this material better than I could hope to. The main detractors that bothered this reader were their structural layout in the chapter explaining the four gospels, in which they didn't—for whatever reason—opt to tell us about the gospel authors. (I didn't mind looking that up myself, but it seemed exegetically relevant.) And their approach to chapter 13 (the Revelation) which seemed to shy away from the fantastical part of the imagery. Ultimately I was hoping for more depth into the numerous pools of interpretation for that book, but I can somewhat understand why they kept things brief with a book so full of unknowns.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Craig Toth

    I recommend this book for any who need to learn how to read the Bible more precisely.* It was a great help for me, as it will be for you—particularly if you are accustomed to the all-too-common habit of "proof-texting"—i.e., lifting verses out of context and applying them according to one's own predetermined ideas. *Note: The fact is, many Christians--even Christians who can quote verses all day long--do not know how to read the Bible well. Too many engage in "proof-texting" (see above). Reading I recommend this book for any who need to learn how to read the Bible more precisely.* It was a great help for me, as it will be for you—particularly if you are accustomed to the all-too-common habit of "proof-texting"—i.e., lifting verses out of context and applying them according to one's own predetermined ideas. *Note: The fact is, many Christians--even Christians who can quote verses all day long--do not know how to read the Bible well. Too many engage in "proof-texting" (see above). Reading the Bible a lot, and being able to quote a lot of verses, does not eliminate the need for paying close attention to the text--and the context (literary, social/historical, etc.)--when one reads scripture. Get this book and learn how to read the Bible with the respect it deserves!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Dusty Kirkland

    This book is a high recommendation for anyone who wants to read the Bible in the way it was meant to be read and interpreted on your own. It really breaks things down, and it explains things in a way that makes sense to someone even if you aren’t a bible scholar who knows a lot. I got a lot out of reading it, and I definitely will be taking what I learned into my personal Jesus time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Mullen

    Really interesting for a textbook read! Gave me more perspective about taking physical and historical context of the Bible when reading in a more literal sense. Still a textbook tho so pretty dry

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gary B

    I'd seen this book for years on the shelves of our local Christian bookseller. I've picked the book up a few times, and put it down. Finally I succumbed! Overall it's a helpful introduction to effective ways to study all types or genres of Bible books. Technically this can be classified as exegesis and hermeneutics. Exegesis is the study or explanation of biblical texts as they would have been understood by the original readers whereas hermeneutics is the interpretation or application of those te I'd seen this book for years on the shelves of our local Christian bookseller. I've picked the book up a few times, and put it down. Finally I succumbed! Overall it's a helpful introduction to effective ways to study all types or genres of Bible books. Technically this can be classified as exegesis and hermeneutics. Exegesis is the study or explanation of biblical texts as they would have been understood by the original readers whereas hermeneutics is the interpretation or application of those texts into the modern readers context. Even though I've read the book in one hit, it's one to come back to as I'm reading that particular genre.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lynda Dietz

    I bought this book because it was the required reading for a twelve-week course I was enrolled in, and even though my reading felt like a race to the finish toward the end of the course, I’m so glad to have it in my possession. This book seems to cover it all, and then some. The class and this book were eye-opening confirmation that justified much of my uneasiness with people who say, “it’s in there; you’re just not spiritual enough to find it,” or “trust me, everyone thinks XYZ passage means thi I bought this book because it was the required reading for a twelve-week course I was enrolled in, and even though my reading felt like a race to the finish toward the end of the course, I’m so glad to have it in my possession. This book seems to cover it all, and then some. The class and this book were eye-opening confirmation that justified much of my uneasiness with people who say, “it’s in there; you’re just not spiritual enough to find it,” or “trust me, everyone thinks XYZ passage means this, but God showed me [and only me] what it really means.” In one of the first sections, right there on page 23, it says, “Interpretation that aims at, or thrives on, uniqueness can usually be attributed to pride . . . a false understanding of spirituality . . . or vested interests.” Instead, interpretation should be done with careful examination of what's actually authoritative (rather than simply an example mentioned), taking into consideration the word meanings at the time of the authors, the historical context, and the literary context. I knew to read in context, and that many people take a single verse for their purposes without considering what’s around it for interpretation, but yet I was guilty of shallow examination of verses I thought I knew—the “easy” ones that seemed pretty clear-cut. I think one of the things that’s shifted so much of my thinking is that everything— everything—deserves closer examination. Just because a particular passage doesn’t seem troublesome doesn’t mean it is as straightforward as I might think it is. I think we all probably have our “pet” verses, and we desperately want them to mean what helps us to feel better. Something I enjoyed in the reading was that there was not one single Bible translation that was held up as the ONLY valid one to read. Each version is broken down into categories from literal translation (word for word) to dynamic equivalent (phrase for phrase) all the way to free translation (concept for concept). The idea that more than a handful of translations are useful to attack a passage from various angles allowed me to see how each one could be a study aid in its own way. I appreciated that How to broke down the various genres, and outlined the necessary factors in how to interpret what they’re saying. Even though I knew Song of Solomon and the Psalms were poetry, I never thought about the fact that their imagery was similar to how we’d write song lyrics. Duh. Of course they would be. But somehow, when we see the word “Bible,” the normal rules fly out the window and we seem to feel that different rules should apply, because it’s not the common man’s poetry. I felt that gave a good guideline for being able to pull a meaning for me, today, out of something that was spoken to someone else long ago, and to apply it properly. The book focused heavily on exegesis and doing it well. Even the appendix is so thorough that its commentary recommendations take into consideration what may be better for the general reader in comparison to the advanced student, which is so helpful when trying to figure out which books may be over my head, or just right for me. Overall, this book was so chock-full of information that I plan on rereading it as soon as I can manage it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This was required reading for my Old Testament survey course in college in 2000. Hard to believe that so much time has passed since then (writing this in Jan. 2018), but I still turn to this book frequently and find it helpful. Not surprisingly, nearly every book that I have read since then about rightly handling Scripture quotes and/or cites Fee and Stuart at some point. In my mind, this is a classic primer on the subject.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Davis

    This aptly-named title is an excellent resource for those who struggle with understanding how to read the Bible. While many of the suggestions are applicable to reading different genres in general, the material breaks down when to apply them and where it’s not appropriate to apply them.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amanda G. Stevens

    I don't have a detailed memory of this book; I read it during my freshman year of college for Old Testament Survey. I do know this book gave me a clearer understanding of Bible genres and the importance of context. I don't have a detailed memory of this book; I read it during my freshman year of college for Old Testament Survey. I do know this book gave me a clearer understanding of Bible genres and the importance of context.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    A lot of bang for your buck!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Minor

    Excellent common sense book on helping a person to read and understand the scriptures. I especially appreciated the chapter on Bible translations and how they compare in their accuracy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bart Breen

    It's not enough to just read the Bible ... you need to learn how .... Some people will get very upset with the title, because after all, for the true believer, all you need is the Bible itself, right? Well, no. For one thing the Bible itself tells you that you need the Holy Spirit to help understand, so there is that. But you also need to study to show yourself approved, meditate and approach it in a humble matter. The Bible was written over 2,000 years ago and in some portions even far longer. It It's not enough to just read the Bible ... you need to learn how .... Some people will get very upset with the title, because after all, for the true believer, all you need is the Bible itself, right? Well, no. For one thing the Bible itself tells you that you need the Holy Spirit to help understand, so there is that. But you also need to study to show yourself approved, meditate and approach it in a humble matter. The Bible was written over 2,000 years ago and in some portions even far longer. It is possible, just possible mind you, that there have been changes in language and culture that require some work on the reader's part to understand what is being said the same way a hearer of that message would have understood it in their day. That is where this book comes into play. This is both a good introductory text for the student who wants to enter into the realms of textual, historical, redactive, literary etc criticism. It is also written to be at the level of the average layman who wants to understand more for their own study and growth. Evangelical Christians often get very nervous about this type of book. They see much that has served to diminish the Bible over the years as coming from the "liberal" religious, academic camps as seeking to diminish what the Bible plainly says. As delicately as I can state it ...... Evangelicals need to get over it and enter the field themselves. If the Bible is true, it must be true enough to stand tough scrutiny. The opinion of this reviewer is that it does stand that scrutiny, but as a student of the Bible you must expect over time that your understanding will change and grow. That is called discipleship and growth. It's a good thing! This book, better than most, comes to the Bible and maintains an attitude of respect toward the text itself consistent with what Evangelicals believe with regard to inspiration while introducing the student or curious Christian as to how to study the Bible and get more out of it that you ever did before. Where great commentaries give you fish, this book teaches you how to fish and feed yourself intellectually and spiritually from the Bible. Don't be threatened by it. It is a good thing! This is very worthwhile book for those who see the Bible as spiritually unique and also helpful for the student who simply wants to know how to understand it better.

  17. 5 out of 5

    John Kaess

    I have read a lot of books about how to study the Bible. I used this book the past 6 months to teach the Adult CE class at my church on How to Study the Bible. This is by far the best book i've read on this topic. Practical. Accessible. Insightful. I recommend this as a must read for all believers. I have read a lot of books about how to study the Bible. I used this book the past 6 months to teach the Adult CE class at my church on How to Study the Bible. This is by far the best book i've read on this topic. Practical. Accessible. Insightful. I recommend this as a must read for all believers.

  18. 4 out of 5

    James

    Don't get me wrong, this book has some helpful stuff to say. BUT, in my opinion it is fundamentally flawed, especially in relation to OT interpretation. Don't get me wrong, this book has some helpful stuff to say. BUT, in my opinion it is fundamentally flawed, especially in relation to OT interpretation.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael Boling

    Authors Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart have provided the evangelical community with a salient and veridical overview of hermeneutical principles that, when applied, are of great import to the study of Scripture. How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth is replete with concepts applicable to every believer, regardless of their level of theological acumen. Layman and seasoned theologians alike will find this book to be one that has lasting value as they exegete God's Word. In the current theologica Authors Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart have provided the evangelical community with a salient and veridical overview of hermeneutical principles that, when applied, are of great import to the study of Scripture. How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth is replete with concepts applicable to every believer, regardless of their level of theological acumen. Layman and seasoned theologians alike will find this book to be one that has lasting value as they exegete God's Word. In the current theological milieu, a conspectus of the proper application of hermeneutics is sorely needed and in this regard, Fee and Stuart have answered the call. The main purpose of this book is providing the interpreter with a compendium of concepts on how to properly interpret Scripture through the dual concepts of exegesis and hermeneutics. Of particular relevance is the authors' assertion that "one does not have to be an expert to learn to do the basic tasks of exegesis." This statement ameliorates the perception that hermeneutics is a task solely for the clergy thus providing an impetus for all believers to engage this discipline. Prior to delving into the intricacies of hermeneutics proper, Fee and Stuart provide copious reasons for the pursuit of the interpretation of Scripture. This foundational understanding is essential as it provides a synopsis of the role of the interpreter and the numerous challenges they will face when attempting to mine the depths of Scripture. Fee and Stuart make no illusions that establishing generally accepted guidelines for interpretation is difficult and unlikely. The reality that various interpretations will dominate the theological landscape is clearly addressed. The historical and eternal aspects of Scripture are duly noted in the opening chapter of the text, with particular attention given to the methodology utilized by God to communicate to mankind. The need for the interpreter to have a lucid understanding of the characters in Scripture and the geographical and cultural milieu in which they lived is brilliantly outlined. Additionally, the necessity to utilize Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias to understand historical context is given some consideration by the authors with additional discourse on biblical commentaries provided in the appendix. Discussion of the various translations was perhaps one of the more turbid and opinion laced elements of this work. The seeming dismissal of the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the comment that if one "regularly reads only the NASB/NASU, then you are committed to an interpretation of the text that may not be what Paul intended" was parochial and dubious. Such comments give the impression as an effort to promote one particular translation of Scripture over another as evidenced by the statement the "TNIV reflects the best exegetical option." Such conjecture, while hardly deleterious to the work en bloc, could have been omitted in favor of a discussion of the purpose and reasoning behind the various major translations and the inherent benefits and pitfalls subsumed therein. If brevity was a concern, the reader could have been directed to scholarly works such as F.F. Bruce's The Canon of Scripture or Norman Geisler's From God to Us for additional insight on the history and purpose of translations. Fee and Stuart conclude their prolegomena with a substantive overview of language and the issue of historical distance. The importance of addressing these issues cannot be overstated and the authors' treatment of difficulties such as euphemisms, word plays and elements of grammar/syntax abound with relevant examples. The continued effort at promoting the NIV in lieu of providing the reader with meaningful commentary on hermeneutical methodology was overreaching and biased contributing little to the topic. The discussion of genre dominates the book. Fee and Stuart expend considerable effort, and rightfully so, discussing the epistles, the Old Testament narrative, the book of Acts, the Gospels, the Parables, the Law, the Prophets, the Psalms, Wisdom literature and the book of Revelation. Particular attention is given to hermeneutical issues surrounding the epistles. The inherent pitfalls involved in interpreting the genre of the epistles are clearly addressed in the statement "the ease of interpreting the epistles can be quite deceptive." Fee and Stuart coherently emphasize the need for contextualization when studying the epistles. The tendency to misconstrue metaphors and first century cultural issues necessitates the need for an understanding of historical context before engaging in the interpretation of specific elements of a pericope. In this regard, Fee and Stuart appropriately aver that difficult passages should be approached holistically as it is the "big view that counts." Indicative of this approach is the integration and application of issues relevant to the first century church to current theological conundrums. The extent the authors elucidate techniques of interpreting misinterpreted passages in the epistles is commendable and one of the highlights of their work. Hebrew narrative as revealed in the Old Testament is the next topic broached by Fee and Stuart. This rather lengthy discussion is necessitated by the prevailing "failure to understand both the reason for and the character of Hebrew narrative." Indicative of this failure is the propensity to treat large sections of Old Testament narrative as allegory resulting in forced interpretations and rejection of the historically accurate nature of the Scripture. While Fee and Stuart's treatment of Old Testament narrative is not as thorough as that provided in works such as "Introduction to Biblical Interpretation" by Klein, Blomberg and Hubbard, it is nevertheless a commonsensical and worthwhile approach. Of particular note is the authors' contention that "narratives are precious to us because they so vividly demonstrate God's involvement in the world and illustrate his principles and calling." This statement articulates, perhaps even more than the discussion of the intricacies of narrative, the need for interpreters to properly evaluate historical genre. While the same pattern used for the exegesis of Old Testament is applicable to the study of Acts, the authors provide a separate treatment of this book since the majority of believers acknowledge that Acts serves as the "pattern for Christian behavior or church life." The hermeneutical analysis of Acts shares similarities with the analysis of the epistles, especially in the area of modern application of first century issues and concerns. The relevancy of actions taken by the early church fathers to the modern church has often overstepped the bounds of scriptural exposition leading to misinterpretation of Luke's intended purpose. While Fee and Stuart provide copious principles for interpreting Acts, their exposition of Acts can be encapsulated in their following assertion: "Unless Scripture explicitly tells us we must do something, what is only narrated or described does not function in a normative (i.e. obligatory) way - unless it can be demonstrated on other grounds that the author intended it to function in this way." This evinces the overall pattern and approach for interpreting Scripture that should be utilized by all interpreters. Even though this statement was included in a discussion of Acts, it is nevertheless representative of the approach necessary for interpreting all Scriptural genres. The importance of a lucid perspicacity of the gospels, particularly in relation to the parables of Jesus, is addressed next by Fee and Stuart. The discussion of vertical and horizontal thinking was interesting, yet was mired in comparative word counting and percentages of agreement. A redeeming aspect was the treatment of the conceptualization of the understanding of the "kingdom of God" as both a present and future event; an oft overlooked foundational element of the gospel accounts. While Fee and Stuart's treatment of this topic pales in comparison to that of George Eldon Ladd's A Theology of the New Testament, their cursory overview is nevertheless constructive and informative. The importance of understanding the "kingdom of God" cannot be overemphasized and its inclusion in this book is commendedable. The parables are some of the most beloved portions of Scripture and also perhaps among the most misunderstood and misinterpreted. This is explicated in the statement "parables are not allegories - even if at times they have what appear to us to be allegorical features." This statement is at the crux of how to exegete parables. Fee and Stuart accurately identify that the hermeneutical task in reference to parables lies in recapturing the "punch of the parables in our own times and our own settings." All elements of the exegesis of parables are subsumed within this concept. The ability of Fee and Stuart to provide a terse yet substantive overview of the benefits and methods of interpreting parables is commendable. Contemporary application of the books of the Law has, for many, been absent from their spiritual repertoire. Formulating an understanding of the complexity and sheer number of religious laws outlined in the Torah is difficult and elusive to most believers. This is unfortunate, as the books of the Law possess considerable relevance to the holistic study and understanding of Scripture. As noted by the Fee and Stuart, "even though the Old Testament laws are not our law, it would be a mistake to conclude that the Law is no longer a valuable part of the Bible." It is from this standpoint that Fee and Stuart engage the understanding and application of interpreting Old Testament law. A systematic understanding of the intent of the Law will illuminate the necessity of the discussions between Jesus and the Pharisees revealed in the gospel accounts. Fee and Stuart substantively examine the historical context of the law, in particular, the comparison of the Law of Moses to that of the Code of Hammurabi and other ancient codes of conduct. An awareness of the intention and influence the law had on ancient Israel will only enhance the understanding of the Biblical narrative; a position which Fee and Stuart repeatedly asseverate. One of the more intriguing sections is that addressed to the study of prophetic genre. Emphasis on the necessity of engaging historical context is again provided by Fee and Stuart as the initial means by which to approach the message of the prophetic books. While the discussion of the types of prophetic oracles is noteworthy, the statement that secondary meaning or sensus plenior "is a function of inspiration, not illumination" is the fulcrum upon which exegesis of prophecy rests. The tendency to search for double meanings in prophecy has resulted in far reaching interpretations unintended by either the author or God. The Psalms are not commonly thought of as containing exegetical difficulties. However, they are a "special kind of literature" and "require special care in reading and interpreting." They are best understood as a collective outpouring of communication with God much akin to that found in a diary. Combined with a view of the historical context of ancient Israel, exegesis of the Psalms can provide the reader with an invaluable perspective in dealing with the vacillation of life. The literary and functional aspects of the Psalms are covered in great detail by Fee and Stuart resulting in a comprehensive evaluation and dissection of this genre. Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes, better known as wisdom literature, contain teaching that when "taken out of context can sound profound and seem practical, which often results in misapplication." Interpretation of these texts must be accomplished in the same comprehensive manner as any other pericope; a point duly noted by Fee and Stuart. While the books of wisdom are replete with inveterate insight, the overall context of wisdom literature should never be overlooked. Fee and Stuart provide a reasoned argument for a holistic understanding of wisdom texts. The multifarious aspects of Proverbs are adequately discussed including practical guidelines for understanding "proverbial wisdom" ; however, only a cursory overview is provided for Job and Ecclesiastes; two books whose messages are exponentially more difficult to assess. A one page assessment of Job and Ecclesiastes is wholly insufficient. Conversely, the commentary provided for the Song of Solomon, though terse, sufficiently addressed the significance of the necessity of fidelity and faithfulness in marriage. Apocalyptic literature is satiated with symbolism and approaching such texts should not commence without a "proper degree of humility." Revelation, perhaps more than any other book in Scripture, presents a bevy of challenges for the interpreter. Fee and Stuart do a venerable job of outlining apocalyptic genre without pursuing any particular interpretive agenda. Additionally, they avoid theological interludes in favor of focusing on the methodology of interpreting apocalyptic works. Their statement that "John's larger concern is that, despite present appearances, God is in control of history and the church" is the capstone of this section. While interpretation of Revelation may continue to be elusive for the reader, Fee and Stuart remind the interpreter of the overarching approach to difficult pericope in Scripture: "If there are some ambiguities for us as to how all the details are to work out, there is no ambiguity as to the certainty that God will work it all out." How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth is a concise enchiridion of the dynamic nature of hermeneutics. Ultimately, the intent of this work is to present the interpreter with the hermeneutical tools by which to discern "between good and not-so-good interpretations - and to know what makes them one or the other." Though other works of this genre are more comprehensive in scope, Fee and Stuart have written a lucid and intellectually remunerative guide to interpretation. Their extensive treatment of the genres of Scripture is beneficial to all believers, regardless of their level of theological acumen. This book avoids turbid theological meanderings in favor of providing the reader with basic hermeneutical tools necessary to understanding Scripture. In the sphere of hermeneutical discourse, its brevity is admirable, however, in terms of comprehensiveness, there are better works available. For the lay theologian, this book is more than adequate, but for the more seasoned theologian, it is merely a supplement to more voluminous expositions.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dan Rutledge

    My wife is in seminary and of all her books this was the one she kept telling me to read. It is a heavier read than most popular Christian books, of course, but it does not take a theologian or a lot of Bible background to understand. I highly recommend it to any Bible student - even to use as a reference when you are going through a certain section of the Bible. I really appreciated the humility and incredible knowledge of the authors as they lay out a systematic and scholarly way to interpret e My wife is in seminary and of all her books this was the one she kept telling me to read. It is a heavier read than most popular Christian books, of course, but it does not take a theologian or a lot of Bible background to understand. I highly recommend it to any Bible student - even to use as a reference when you are going through a certain section of the Bible. I really appreciated the humility and incredible knowledge of the authors as they lay out a systematic and scholarly way to interpret each section of the Bible based on genre and historical context. They are honest about what the Bible CANNOT tell us and give a lot of excellent examples of how exegesis (determining what the author meant) and interpretation (determining what it should mean to me) should work. They list out guidelines and principles for each section of the Bible and do analysis on a number of challenging passages. Today’s churches are desperately in need of Christians and teachers/preachers who can properly understand and interpret the Bible. This book is an excellent resource to get us there and I will be looking at the author’s other publications in the future.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin

    I'll be using this book as the basic text for a course on biblical hermeneutics this all. Overall, I think it is clear, straightforward and eminently useful for college freshmen who are really beginning their serious reading of the Bible. Three of Gordon Fee's doctrinal commitments color his treatment of a number issues in such a way that some aspects of his discussions are less helpful than they could be. First is the fact that he is an Assemblies of God minister. This clearly colors his statem I'll be using this book as the basic text for a course on biblical hermeneutics this all. Overall, I think it is clear, straightforward and eminently useful for college freshmen who are really beginning their serious reading of the Bible. Three of Gordon Fee's doctrinal commitments color his treatment of a number issues in such a way that some aspects of his discussions are less helpful than they could be. First is the fact that he is an Assemblies of God minister. This clearly colors his statements at several points in his discussion of the Epistles and Acts. Second is his particular approach to NT text criticism. Though his view is probably the majority view today, he does not give a well-balanced discussion of the issues. Third, since he was on the translation committee for the NIV, he evinces a preference for that translation which, while it should be expected, does not comport with a fair treatment of some other modern translations.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maya

    This was an excellent book about what the different genres of the Bible are, and how we should approach them. The authors always started with exegesis, uncovering the original intended meaning, how the original audience would have heard it. Only after this moving on to hermeneutics - interpretation, how we relate to the text today. I have learned a lot from this book, and it made realize how inadequate my training has been in learning to read the Bible. Our churches should do a better job educat This was an excellent book about what the different genres of the Bible are, and how we should approach them. The authors always started with exegesis, uncovering the original intended meaning, how the original audience would have heard it. Only after this moving on to hermeneutics - interpretation, how we relate to the text today. I have learned a lot from this book, and it made realize how inadequate my training has been in learning to read the Bible. Our churches should do a better job educating us about this, because without such knowledge we are not only prone to not understanding what we read, but also misunderstanding it!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Collins

    Fee and Stuart's book "How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth" is a MUST READ for all Christians. Their guidance on how to read the Bible with understanding is a safeguard against many of the common misinterpretations of passages of scripture which pervade Christian culture. In addition, they give their readers the tools to glean a much richer meaning of the text and to apply it to their lives well. Fee and Stuart's book "How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth" is a MUST READ for all Christians. Their guidance on how to read the Bible with understanding is a safeguard against many of the common misinterpretations of passages of scripture which pervade Christian culture. In addition, they give their readers the tools to glean a much richer meaning of the text and to apply it to their lives well.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bradley Somers

    Taught this book as part of our core classes at our church. It is helpful for those who are already familiar with their Bibles and basic Bible study. It is not really designed for young or new believers. I would suggest after reading the first three chapters that you pick a shorter epistle and study it using the focus given in this book. This helped to solidify these important approaches to studying scripture for our class.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Winkelman

    I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to better understand and read the bible. The authors dig into context, the different literary styles found in the bible, and the importance of understanding the application to the original audience before we can accurately apply it to our own lives.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Hands down best basic guide to reading the Bible. A must-have for anyone hoping for a better understanding or the literary styles and genres.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kolt Marquardt

    Extremely helpful! Definitely a book I will refer to often .

  28. 4 out of 5

    Reinier Terblanche

    A little bit dry at times but an incredibly helpful book when it comes to reading the Bible contextually.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    First of all, it talks about just about every book of the Bible possible. It gives you a little historical context and background on the books. It talks about the different pitfalls that can happen in reading these books and interpreting them. The good news is that the book is very user friendly, it's very easy to read, and would be great for anyone who wants further perspective on how to read various passages and books in the Bible. It gives a lot of strong argument on reading passages in the c First of all, it talks about just about every book of the Bible possible. It gives you a little historical context and background on the books. It talks about the different pitfalls that can happen in reading these books and interpreting them. The good news is that the book is very user friendly, it's very easy to read, and would be great for anyone who wants further perspective on how to read various passages and books in the Bible. It gives a lot of strong argument on reading passages in the context in which they were written, and not reading into the text or adding to it. This was actually one of two books for my interpretation class, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and would recommend it to anyone. I'll give this one five stars.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    Solid, in-depth book that doesn't simply take into account the historical and literary contexts of Scripture but thoroughly breaks down different genres and individual books of Scripture. While this read might be hard, even "technical", for some it truly provides meaningful ways in which an individual can read the Bible with clarity and for all its worth. Solid, in-depth book that doesn't simply take into account the historical and literary contexts of Scripture but thoroughly breaks down different genres and individual books of Scripture. While this read might be hard, even "technical", for some it truly provides meaningful ways in which an individual can read the Bible with clarity and for all its worth.

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