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Seven Things I Wish Christians Knew about the Bible Kindle Edition
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Answers to the most common questions and misconceptions about the Bible
Seven Things I Wish Christians Knew about the Bible is a short and readable introduction to the Bible—its origins, interpretation, truthfulness, and authority.
Bible scholar, prolific author, and Anglican minister Michael Bird helps Christians understand seven important "things" about this unique book:
- how the Bible was put together;
- what "inspiration" means;
- how the Bible is true;
- why the Bible needs to be rooted in history;
- why literal interpretation is not always the best interpretation;
- how the Bible gives us knowledge, faith, love, and hope; and
- how Jesus Christ is the center of the Bible.
Seven Things presents a clear and understandable evangelical account of the Bible's inspiration, canonization, significance, and relevance in a way that is irenic and compelling. It is a must read for any serious Bible reader who desires an informed and mature view of the Bible that will enrich their faith.
From the Publisher
From the Publisher
Praise for 7 Things I Wish Christians Knew about the Bible
—AIMEE BYRD, author of Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and Why Can’t We Be Friends?
“One thing that I’ve noticed growing up in the church is that we are often taught certain properties of the Bible, but not taught how to actually read it. Mike Bird is a gift to the church in that he is an experienced biblical scholar who can distill complex matters into something understandable, even enjoyable. If you want to grow in your competence reading Scripture and have a crackalackin good time doing it, read this book!”
—DAN KIMBALL, author of How (Not) To Read The Bible, on staff at Vintage Faith Church
“Holy Smokes! This sounds like a cliché, but this is absolutely true – this is a book every Christian or person exploring Christianity should read. I don’t say this lightly, but reading what Mike has written in this book helps us have a rebirthing of how we view and understand the Bible. I urge anyone – from non-Christian to mature Christian to read this book as you will never view or think of the Bible in the same way again.”
—DRU JOHNSON, associate professor of biblical studies at The King's College, director of the Center for Hebraic Thought.
“Finally, a book I can simply hand to fellow Christians and say, 'Read this!' Bird humorously tackles the most common gaps and misunderstandings amongst Christians in a way the average person can understand: the nature of texts, good interpretation, the role of history, and how Scripture works within the Christian community. This would make a great book for a small group or families at home. Hear Bird now and thank him later.”
—NIJAY K. GUPTA, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary
"Before you can talk about what Bible says on 'this' and 'that,' it is important to process what the Bible is. Bird offers clarity and insight on big issues of inspiration, canon, and how to read the Bible wisely—all in a short seven chapters. I wish I had this book when I was first learning how to study the Bible."
From the Author
More from Michael Bird...
|What Christians Ought to Believe||What Christians Ought to Believe Video Lectures||The New Testament in Its World||The New Testament in Its World video Lectures||Evangelical Theology||Romans SGBC|
|Length||240 pages||5 Hours||992 Pages||13 Hours||1,008 Pages||608 Pages|
About the Author
Michael F. Bird is Academic Dean and lecturer in theology at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission, The Saving Righteousness of God, Evangelical Theology, Romans (Story of God Bible Commentary Series), The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus, and editor of The Apostle Paul: Four Views. He also runs a popular theological studies blog called “Euangelion” and can be followed on twitter @mbird12.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B08NHYHHTS
- Publisher : Zondervan (June 8, 2021)
- Publication date : June 8, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 1586 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 229 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #135,231 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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About the author
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By the way I listened to the AUDIBLE recording, which is expertly read - highly recommended - allowing for a few unusual pronunciations of technical terms and certain books of the Bible.
QUESTION regarding ch. 2, "The Bible is Divinely Given and Humanly Composed"
Dr. Bird's explanation of the inspiration of Scripture (something of significant concern for his target audience of evangelical readers) is well done and he ends up recommending "thought-for-thought" inspiration - which works fine, though I myself would have defended a little more vigorously "verbal, plenary." Dr. Bird cautions against infighting on this issue, and holds up Dr. Michael Licona as an example of person with whom certain American evangelicals were too quick to find fault. I agree with Dr. Bird here. Let's hope Dr. Licona continues to be an exemplary evangelical. Otherwise this chapter will have to be re-written.
QUESTION regarding ch. 7, "Christ is the Centre of the Christian Bible"
This chapter is full of the scholarly insights and practical wisdom that characterize the work in general. I was surprised, however, to hear Dr. Bird advocate that we interpret the Bible (especially the OT) with the kind of Christo-centric freedom that the apostles did. Of course, it is true that the coming of Jesus changes everything - we look back on the earlier part of the story and see things with fresh eyes! Absolutely! But what about the interpretive controls provided by "exegesis" (determining what the Bible meant) and "hermeneutics" (tracing how that meaning impacts us today)? It is true that the apostles didn't always follow these controls, but they were divinely inspired, we are not! So I am still wrestling with Dr. Bird's recommendation here.
CAUTION regarding ch. 3, "Scripture is Normative, Not Negotiable"
There is a serious blunder within this chapter, a blunder that warrants extending a caution to every prospective reader. In the course of this chapter Dr. Bird argues, in a nutshell, that eating a rare hamburger would be a violation of the Mosaic law against the consumption of blood. It's a good thing, therefore, (he argues) that the laws of Ancient Israel are no longer in force and neither is the Apostolic Council of Acts 15 which reiterates this law against the consumption of blood to Gentile Christians. Now, this is not only technically erroneous but potentially dangerous.
It is ERRONEOUS for two reasons: First, the prohibition against the consumption of blood is technically not part of the Mosaic legislation. It is presented in Genesis 9 and as such is clearly intended for all people and all times, not just ancient Israel. That is one reason why that prohibition is reiterated as "still relevant and in force" to Gentile Christians in Acts 15. Second, it is my understanding the standard way that we butcher meat in the west (and also in Arab countries) has already taken into account this directive. The blood is poured out. The animals are not strangled. So, yes, we can eat a rare hamburger without violating this command!
It is DANGEROUS for this reason: Dr. Bird has inadvertently (and erroneously as we have shown) relativized the entire Apostolic Council of Acts 15. Inquiring minds will want to know, what else is no longer in force? If the command against eating blood was just a temporary hold-over from the laws of Moses, what about, say, the directive against sexual immorality? Here is the statement from Acts 15, in full:
//It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you [Gentile Christians] with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.//
So... great book. Informative, challenging, and inspiring. With that one major caution, I hope it is widely used in the church.
Michael Bird has provided a welcome primer into these topics, among others. He does an impressive job in covering a broad amount of material without being too brief. He’s thorough, but not uncomfortably so. Readers are introduced to discussions surrounding the formation of the canon of Scripture, P52, and the metanarrative of the Bible which is the gospel itself. We read of the history of the Bible’s English translation and of some of the difficulties that come with a contemporary adherence to the KJV. We think through what it means to say that Scripture is inspired by God, and to say that Scripture is inerrant. Regarding this, Bird rightly notes that the main dividing line between traditional and liberal Christianity isn’t about inerrancy, strictly speaking, but about the role that the Bible plays in our lives and whether it has a fixed meaning (70).
Bird also spends time discussing the importance of remembering that the Bible wasn’t written in 21st century America. We need to keep in mind the historical gap that exists between the author of the text and the modern reader (Chapter 4).
All throughout the book, Bird engages with notable theologians that are clearly at odds with him on the topic at hand (no echo chamber here). But though the material could be seen as “scholarly” at times, Bird communicates in a way that’s incredibly easy to understand. At times, he inserts helpful anecdotes to drive home his point (see his preaching story on 145-146 – yikes). He also finds ways to incorporate numerous pop culture references. But then he also elucidates the concept of hope in 169-170 that’s quite poetic in tone. Read over that section a few times – and then rejoice.
I think this book would pair well with Anders’ “30 Days to Understanding the Bible.” Those who are looking to understand more about the Bible and the God who wrote it are highly encouraged to pick up a copy. I know I’ll be recommending this to my students.
*Note: I received an advance copy of the text in exchange for my honest review and feedback.
Michael is an amusing writer in many ways, so the book is as entertaining as it is insightful. With Scripture, he plainly shows how some of our perceptions about the Bible need to be challenged.
Michael loves the Bible and takes it seriously. He wants his readers to also do so. He believes the Bible is the most important book in the world.
Michael is an Anglican priest, academic dean, and prolific writer. I was first introduced to his writing through the wonderful sourcebook -- The New Testament in Its World -- which he co-authored with N. T. Wright.
I had a lot of understandings confirmed through his seven things. Like any critical thinking person, I did not agree with everything, but I respected his perspective throughout.