As ubiquitous as the Bible is, it is also perhaps the most avoided book ever printed—even by Christians. Familiarity among believers has bred not necessarily contempt, but perhaps apathy among many Bible owners. Sure, Christians readily confess the Bible’s intrinsic value, nature and divine origins. But a distinct chasm exists between this stated belief and actual practice, between confessions of faith and expressed affections.
The excuses in avoiding the Bible are myriad. But if you boil down the excuses, there are two fundamental issues. Christians often don’t see the value of the Bible and Bible study. And this lack of esteem is often because of the second issue: Christians often don’t know how to study the Bible.
The Bible Toolbox provides prospective Bible readers with the proper tools to understand and interpret the Scriptures for themselves.
The Bible Toolbox, co-authored by Anderson University professors Dr. Bryan Cribb and Dr. Channing Crisler and published by B&H Academic, seeks to address this second issue head on.
In the book, the authors argue that if God has spoken and if he has revealed himself specifically, he has done so in a way that was meant to be understood. That doesn’t mean that Bible interpretation is easy, they point out. It takes work, but understanding can be achieved if you have the correct tools.
But Bible interpreters need to access the tools. Imagine attempting to put together a bookshelf or model airplane without a manual and the correct instruments. The Bible Toolbox provides prospective Bible readers with the proper tools to understand and interpret the Scriptures for themselves.
Each chapter describes to readers the tools to engage the Bible actively. The authors even demonstrate how these tools are used with select texts. In this way, they hope not only to offer readers proverbial interpretive fishes, but to give them the exegetical tools of the poles, lines and hooks. Ten years from now, the authors want readers to be able to read the biblical text intuitively and naturally through this process.
The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 serves as a manual for the process of interpretation. Parts 2 and 3 then detail and explain the tools for interpreting rightly both the Old and New Testaments. Each chapter in parts 2 and 3 has three main sections: Understanding the Tools, Putting the Tools to Use, and Applying the Results.
The goal of this text is not to be exhaustive, but to serve as a resource. An instruction manual for a computer might tell you how to turn the computer on or how to understand some of the programs, but it won’t comprehensively describe all that you might do with your computer. Similarly, the authors do not provide all there is to know about the Bible. But their hope is that this text will open the door for future Bible study by incorporating the discipline of Bible study into the reader’s own walk of faith.
The Bible Toolbox (B&H Academic; $49.99) is available now on Amazon.com and other outlets.