A friend of mine from High School recently ran across my blog. It’s always crazy when that happens! But my friend, James Chambers is follow Jesus and working on his M.A. these days. He’s got some good things to say, you should check out his blog. He recently read a book by Scot McKnight, a fellow pretzel (our home town mascot). The book looks pretty good, i’m excited to read it. He asked me if he could post the review on my blog and i thought, “Why not.” Let’s make it book review week here at Revolutionary Thoughts. Enjoy!
This past week I was awarded the opportunity to read Scot McKnight’s new book The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How you Read the Bible before it actually is released (Projected Release Date is November 2008). If you are not familiar with Scot McKnight you can check out his blog, Jesus Creed, here. Scot is a fellow Freeport native and I have been reading his blog for over a year. However, this is my first opportunity to read one of his books and I am very happy to have been given the opportunity to read his book.
Being a graduate student I am constantly reading. Desiring to become a college teacher I continue to read even when I don’t have too. Each book I read helps to further refine my faith and help me to live my Christianity out in a real and practical way. Scot McKnight’s book is another one of those books that has helped me to see how to live my faith in today’s world.
McKnight’s purpose in his book is to help the reader learn how to read the Bible in order to live out what the Bible says in today’s context. He starts out by asking the question of why we follow some of what the Bible says and not other aspects of what the Bible says? Scot believes that we all pick and choose and he is concerned with how we pick and choose. Scot is not afraid of the fact that Christians pick and choose, he defends that the church has been picking and choosing throughout her history. What Scot desires to do is to show that by reading the Bible as it should be read allows Christians know how to live the Bible out in today’s context.
Scot McKnight begins by outlining the different ways that people pick and choose when reading the Bible, giving two ways that he argues are deficient and then providing a third way that he sees as the best way to read the Bible. After these introductory issues are discussed, Scot elaborates on how his method of reading is done, all for the purpose of living out the Bible today.
Scot introduces his readers to the concept of the Bible as Story (which he does not claim to be his idea). When the reader of the Bible stops viewing the Bible as story and instead views it in ways it was not meant to be distorts the purpose of the Bible. Once we understand the story of the Bible we are able to listen (which is the second point of his method). Once a person learns how to truly listen, they are able to discern how to live the story out today’s context. Obviously this is a brief synopsis of the book as I truly think each of my blog readers should read this book, so I don’t want to give too much away.
The reasons I have found this book very helpful is that no matter where a person is at in their Christian life (mature, new believer, unsaved) this book offers wonderful tips and ways to grow in reading one’s Bible. It also helps the reader of the Bible begin to wrestle with the grey areas of Scripture, to expand their thinking about what it means to live like Jesus in the 21st century. But the greatest reason that I endorse this book is that it is the first book that I have read on “How to read the Bible” that treats the Bible as it was intended to be. When we see the Bible as story we are able to take part, become an active player in the story. When the Bible is seen as a book of proof texts or laws or a theological text book, it minimizes the reader’s response to live out what it is asking for. Scot says it best, “Until we learn to read the Bible as Story, we will know how to get anything out of the Bible for daily living.” (pg. 57)
Another positive of this book is that examples are plenty (and for me this is a plus). I want to see how a method or theory actually plays out, to see that it actually works the way that author thinks it should. Scot McKnight gives an example of reading the Bible with his method that helps the readers see flesh to his method. Scot also speaks at a level in which he can be clearly understood.
All in all, Scot McKnight’s book is a must read for those who wish to get more out of their Bible reading than they are currently getting. Scot follows in a long line of evangelicals who have come to see that the way the Bible has been used for Christian spiritual formation was lacking something; that the Bible was not being used according to its intended purpose. Scot’s method of reading, understanding, and applying the Bible to today’s context is a shot in the evangelical arm to get the most out of our reading the Bible and living the Christian life (two things I am very passionate about). I can see this book becoming a useful resource in discipling new Christians on reading the Bible as well as becoming a book used in Christian colleges to help students understand the role of the Bible in academics and life. One last word of caution is that this book will stretch Christians, but it is a stretch that needs to be made.
So, I encourage you to head back to the top of this blog and pre-order this book. You will be challenged!