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Brandon O'Brien and Randy Richards shed light on the ways that Western readers often misunderstand the cultural dynamics of the Bible. Identifying nine areas where commonplaces of modern Western thought diverge with the text, the authors ask us to reconsider long-held opinions about our most beloved book.
What was clear to the original readers of Scripture is not always clear to us. Because of the cultural distance between the biblical world and our contemporary setting, we often bring modern Western biases to the text. For example: When Western readers hear Paul exhorting women to "dress modestly," we automatically think in terms of sexual modesty. But most women in that culture would never wear racy clothing. The context suggests that Paul is likely more concerned about economic modesty--that Christian women not flaunt their wealth through expensive clothes, braided hair and gold jewelry. Some readers might assume that Moses married "below himself" because his wife was a dark-skinned Cushite. Actually, Hebrews were the slave race, not the Cushites, who were highly respected. Aaron and Miriam probably thought Moses was being presumptuous by marrying "above himself." Western individualism leads us to assume that Mary and Joseph traveled alone to Bethlehem. What went without saying was that they were likely accompanied by a large entourage of extended family. Biblical scholars Brandon O'Brien and Randy Richards shed light on the ways that Western readers often misunderstand the cultural dynamics of the Bible. They identify nine key areas where modern Westerners have significantly different assumptions about what might be going on in a text. Drawing on their own crosscultural experience in global mission, O'Brien and Richards show how better self-awareness and understanding of cultural differences in language, time and social mores allow us to see the Bible in fresh and unexpected ways. Getting beyond our own cultural assumptions is increasingly important for being Christians in our interconnected and globalized world. Learn to read Scripture as a member of the global body of Christ.
The Bible was written within collectivist cultures, and it's easy for Westerners to misinterpret—or miss—important elements. Combining the expertise of a biblical scholar and a missionary practitioner, this essential guidebook explores the deep social structures of the ancient Mediterranean, stripping away individualist assumptions and helping us read the Bible better.
Randolph Richards and Brandon O'Brien explore the complicated persona and teachings of the apostle Paul. Unpacking his personal history and cultural context, they show how Paul both offended Roman perspectives and scandalized Jewish sensibilities, revealing a vision of Christian faith that was deeply disturbing to others in his day and remains so in ours.
Informed by the historical evidence and with a sharp eye for telltale clues in the Apostle Paul's letters, E. Randolph Richards takes us into his world and places us on the scene with Paul the letter writer offering a glimpse that overthrows our preconceptions and offers a new perspective on how this important portion of Christian Scripture came to be.
Virtually all Christians recognize the centrality of the Bible to their faith. Yet many Christians misquote and misapply Scripture regularly. Often those who are most passionate about the authority of the Bible are at the greatest loss when it comes to understanding its message clearly and applying it faithfully. Professor Manfred Brauch believes this kind of mistaken interpretation and application of Scripture is a detriment to the integrity of our Christian witness and contributes to profound misunderstandings in Christian belief and practice. In this practical book written with the non-specialist in mind, Manfred Brauch identifies and corrects a number of basic errors that interpret and apply biblical texts in ways that distort their meaning and message. Chapters explore issues of context, genre, consistency, author intent and other important considerations, addressing not just the act of interpretation, but also the attitudes behind the ways we choose to apply Scripture. Whether you lead a Bible study or small group, are a pastor or Sunday school teacher, are engaged in biblical study at a college or seminary, or are just an everyday Christian who wants to understand how to interpret God's Word well and recognize good interpretation (or the lack therof) when you encounter it, this important book will be an invaluable guide.
David Capes, Rodney Reeves and E. Randolph Richards attempt to transform students' vague appreciation of Paul by confronting them with the man who was the talk of the marketplace from Ephesus to Athens. Informed by contemporary scholarship and refined in the classroom, this textbook promises to renew investment in the work of Paul. Now in paper.
Many find it difficult to take words that were written thousands of years ago and apply them to twenty-first-century life in the Western world. How do we read God's unchanging Word in a world that is increasingly defined by change? How to Read the Bible in Changing Times shows everyday Christians how to interpret and apply the Scriptures regardless of time and culture. Rather than seeing the Bible as a magic answer book, a list of commands to obey, or a series of promises to claim, this insightful book allows the Bible to retain its identity as a complex, inspired document while showing that the truth it contains is relevant and life-changing. It shows the reader how to determine the meaning of the text in its original context identify culturally relative features understand what the text teaches about God, his will, and his purposes apply the truths discovered to contemporary life situations It even shows readers how to discern God's will on the many modern issues that the Bible does not directly address.