Review by iServe Africa apprentice Rahab Nyambura:
How to Read the Bible for All its Worth is written by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart both of whom are seminary professors. They also regularly teach the Word in a variety of church settings.
The book has been kept up-to-date and is now in its fourth edition. It tries to guide Bible readers on “how to read it for all it’s worth and hopefully they will also find its worth,” to quote the writers.
A basic concern of the book is to focus on different genres that make up the Bible and endeavour to instruct any Bible reader to carefully consider them and therefore interpret them as such. For instance the writers will tell you that an epistle should be read as a letter and a Psalm as a poem. I came to understand that an epistle if possible should be read as the letter it is, that is in one sitting.The content of these chapters mostly focusing on a genre at a time is very rich with information to say the least.
This book explains clearly the task of interpretation which involves exegesis and hermeneutics and throughout the writers are careful to consistently employ both of these tactics.The writers also are kind enough to give three tools of interpretation namely: a) a good translation, b) a good Bible dictionary and c) good commentaries. These essentially are helpful when one reads the Bible book by book as compared to thematic or topical kinds of study.
Because the Bible is God’s Word it has eternal relevance; it speaks to all humankind, in every age and in every culture and because of its historical particularity it needs to be approached wisely and carefully to avoid any misinterpretations.
This book has greatly taught me how to read the Bible objectively. One thing is to read it as the Word of God for us (Rom. 15:4) and not directly to us. The second thing that has particularly impacted me, is to read the Bible knowing that it meant something to the people there and then (exegesis) and therefore has a meaning here and now (hermeneutics). Thirdly, is to read the Bible according to the different genres as written by different writers, the Psalms as poetic in nature and therefore different literary forms have been used in writing them and so should be carefully interpreted.
I therefore highly recommend this book to every Christian who wants to understand the Word and interpret it accordingly and obey it as it is despite the many false teachings surrounding us in this day.