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Book Review: Invitation to Biblical Interpretation

Today's Book comes from Kregel Publishers. They graciously provided me a free book both to review and drop on my foot. Believe me, read it and don't drop it on your foot.

Today's Book is Invitation to Biblical Interpretation by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson. It's part of Kregel Publishers' Invitation to Theological Studies Series.

Here it is:

Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology (Invitation to Theological Studies Series)

The Bible is a fascinating and wonderful book to read. As a Christian, I would argue that the single most important book to read and understand is the Bible. If the Bible is accurate, then eternity itself rests within the pages of that one book.

The Bible, though, is not a book written in 21st century America. It's not even originally written in English. Most scholars agree that the bulk of biblical material was written down no less than 1800 years ago, and some scholars will push that back to nearly 2000 years, with the oldest parts being nearly 3500 years old.

The resulting book is not as clear and simple as we'd like it to be, and there is a need to learn to grapple with drawing the meaning from the text. To do so requires understanding the background behind the text, the purpose for which it was written, the reason it was written, and how it fits into the overall scope of the whole Bible.

That is Köstenberger and Patterson's effort in this book. First off, understand that this is primarily a textbook, not a read-in-a-night book. It is primarily geared toward those in the academic world. For a textbook, it is an excellent entry into the field of Biblical Interpretation. I would consider as one of the top two that I have read, and I've had to read three for various classes and have read a few others. The other text I rate highly has an unfair advantage, as it was written by former professors and I can fill in the gaps of the book with remembered lectures.

However, this book is not limited to the classroom for its usefulness. Rather, I would suggest that it has value for any person interested in a serious study of the Bible. There are references in the book to various aspects of Greek and Hebrew language that prior study helps to clarify, but overall these references are explained clearly.

Also, the authors take time to establish the basic reasons for studying the Bible well and make no effort to hide their conservative viewpoint. Köstenberger and Patterson both hold that there is an intended, divine meaning in the text and present this book to help Christians know how to find that meaning.

I would recommend this work to anyone seeking to understand the Bible better as a complete book

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