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Sharpen Your Bible-Reading Skills: eBook Sale + 4 Practical Interpretation Insights from Readers

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Summer is the perfect time to get caught up on the latest scholarly trends or hone your biblical studies or theological craft by reading recent or trustworthy books. We thought we'd help you along in your summer reading plan by launching a summer ebook sale.

We've carefully curated a handful of books that will help you read the Bible to its fullest, each for only $3.99—up to 80% of their original retail price. Sale ends July 20, 2014, so don't delay.

Once you've checked out the offerings, be sure to come back from the sale to digest these practical interpretation insights that have been selected by real readers.

Insight #1 — The Wrong Way to Interpret Scripture: Proof-texting

When searching for biblical support, why is cherry-picking (or "proof-texting") verses such a dubious method? Here's an answer from An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics by Walter C. Kaiser and Moisés Silva.

The proof-text model often relies on a naive reading of the text. It may disregard the purpose for which the text was written, the historical conditioning in which it is set, and the genre conventions that shaped it. Consequently, this method is vulnerable to allegorization, psychologization, spiritualization, and other forms of quick-and-easy adjustments of the scriptural words to say what one wishes them to say in the contemporary scene, ignoring their intended purpose and usage as determined by context, grammar, and historical background. What is forfeited in this method is any divine authority for what is taught.

Insight # 2 — The Bible Gives Us Timely, Not Timeless, Expressions of the Gospel

From The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible by Scot McKnight.

What we’ve got in the pages of the New Testament are first-century expressions of the gospel and church life, not permanent, timeless expressions. They are timely expressions; they are Spirit-inspired expressions; but they were and remain first-century expressions. We aren’t called to live first-century lives in the twenty-first century, but twenty-first-century lives as we walk in the light of the revelation God gave to us in the first century.

Insight # 3 — The Two Basic Questions You Should Ask of Biblical Passages

From How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth, Fourth Edition by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart.

There are two basic kinds of questions one should ask of every biblical passage: those that relate to context and those that relate to content. The questions of context are also of two kinds: historical and literary...

The historical context [includes] the time and culture of the author and his readers, that is, the geographical, topographical, and political factors that are relevant to the author’s setting; and the occasion of the book, letter, psalm, prophetic oracle, or other genre...

Literary context means first that words only have meaning in sentences, and second that biblical sentences for the most part only have clear meaning in relation to preceding and succeeding sentences. The most important contextual question you will ever ask—and it must be asked over and over of every sentence and every paragraph—is, “What’s the point?”

Insight # 4 — How Two Different Hermeneutics Read the Text: Realists and Nonrealists

From Is There a Meaning in This Text?: The Bible, the Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge by Kevin J. Vanhoozer.

Is there something in the text that reflects a reality independent of the reader’s interpretive activity, or does the text only reflect the reality of the reader?

The “hermeneutic realist” holds that there is something prior to interpretation, something “there” in the text, which can be known and to which the interpreter is accountable. By contrast, the hermeneutic nonrealist (e.g., Derrida, Fish) denies that meaning precedes interpretive activity; the truth of an interpretation depends on the response of the reader.

The sale ends July 20, 2014, so stock up on some great summer reads on biblical interpretation for only $3.99!

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