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"Making Sense of the Bible" -- from one point of view
January 4, 2015
The book is divided into two sections, first discussing the Bible itself and its content, then offering answers to some of the more well-known "Frequently Asked Questions." The author's "15-minute surveys" of the Old and New Testament adequately expressed much of the thought behind the major themes of the Bible. At the end of the first section, the author attempts to address the big questions regarding inspiration and inerrancy, neither of which was satisfying.
In the second section of the book, he leads off with a chapter entitled "Science, The Bible, and Creation Stories." He accuses those he claims believe the Bible uncritically of a biased approach to this topic, though he falls right into the same trap by believing "science" uncritically. "Science says it, I believe it, and that settles it." The author was not so blatant with his bias in the first section of the book, but halfway into the first chapter of the second section he made his viewpoint very clear.
At times, he contradicted himself in the same sentence. One moment, he says "well, you can't believe this bit from the Bible;" in the next he is saying "here is something to stake your life on." His faith seems to be in his own judgment: "I can pick and choose what makes me feel good. I believe it; that settles it."
This book is a particularly obvious illustration of the saying that "nothing is totally worthless; it can always serve as a bad example."
To learn what the Bible teaches, read it. To learn about the Bible, you'll be much better served reading "Evidence that Demands a Verdict."
After reading this book Hamilton tells you that you cannot trust the OTor the NT.You can't trust what Paul has said.and we can't trust what Jesus has said.It sounds like Hamilton is teaching right from the Jesus Seminar of 1985.He is also teaching situational ethics.Leading you to believe that a handful scriptures as no longer binding so same-sex marriages can be officiated in the church.This book should be renamed Making Nonsense of the Bible.
Adam Hamilton has distilled much of a seminary education into one readable volume. In the first section he covers the Old and New Testament including the history of who, when and how they were written. His analysis of the meaning of and problems with the two testaments is insightful.
In the second section he covers topics raised by the scripture. Science and the Bible, God's Violence in the Old Testament, Women Need not Apply, and Homosexuality and the Bible and many more are all chapter headings.
One of Hamilton's goals is to bring a seminary level discussion of the bible to lay people. Pastors tend serve up a more bland and less challenging version to their congregants. They play it safe, but consequently misrepresent the full depth and meaning of scripture.
If you want to go along with the crowd, then do not read this book. If, however, you want to take a high view of the bible and understand it for all that it is worth I highly recommend "Making Sense of the Bible..."
This is the perfect book for people who say that they do not know how to read the Bible or that they do not understand the Bible. In the first part of the book, Rev. Hamilton gives an overview of the history, organization and reasons for the books of the Old and New Testament. In the second part, he discusses the Bible's "challenging passages." The first part is great for "nonbelievers or new Christians." The second part is informative for all. My Bible study group is starting a study of Revelations, and I shared the chapter on Revelations with them as a great "road map" as we start our study. I am ordering copies of this book for my young adult children (who do not read the Bible enough) for Easter.