James W. Sire, editor and Ph.D. in English, brings his linguistic skills to bear on the problem of how cults twist the meaning of the Bible to fit their own worldview. From subtle interpretation differences to blatant misrepresentation and misquotation of Bible passages, Sire brings to our attention the dangers cults can pose, especially to those who don't know Scripture.
Sire focuses on twenty types of misreadings commonly practiced by cults. The types are:
inaccurate quotation, twisted translation, the biblical hook, ignoring the immediate context, collapsing contexts, overspecification, word play, the figurative fallacy, speculative readings of predictive prophecy, saying but not citing, selective citing, inadequate evidence, confused definition, ignoring alternative translations, the obvious fallacy, virtue by association, esoteric interpretation, supplementing biblical authority, rejecting biblical authority, and world-view confusion.
Understanding the above misreadings can help Christians fight the spread of cults. And it can also help us to grow closer to God, through a better understanding of His word. Sire wrote the book for those dealing with cults, and for Christians in general, with the hope that we might all learn to read the Bible correctly. So join with him as he takes you on an enjoyable and stimulating lesson in reading.
How often have you encountered some bizarre doctrine only to be stunned to hear a Bible verse quoted to support it? With new religious cults springing up almost daily and old ones growing rapidly, this is more and more common. How are they seemingly able to twist Scripture to mean something orthodox Christians have never believed it to mean in two thousand years? James Sire, author of The Universe Next Door and How to Read Slowly, has isolated twenty separate kinds of reading errors which are characteristically made by cultists as they interpret the Bible. He covers the full range from simple misquotation to complex argumentation which links one slightly eccentric interpretation to another, mixes in a few orthodox readings and ends with a conclusion totally foreign to the biblical world view. Sire also handles twisted translation, overspecification, virtue by association, ignoring the context and other flawed interpretations. A book to help us all become better readers of the Scriptures.
James W. Sire (PhD, University of Missouri), formerly a senior editor at InterVarsity Press, is an active speaker and writer. He has taught English, philosophy, theology, and short courses at many universities and seminaries. He continues to be a frequent guest lecturer in the United States and Europe. His InterVarsity Press books and Bible studies include (a worldviews textbook), and
"In this relatively short book, Sire handily addresses the most common issues encountered when interpreting the Bible. While he specifically refers to examples relevant to cults and new religions, the application of Sire's insights extend far beyond those areas. Scripture Twisting remains a great book nearly 30 years after publication. If you're looking for an introduction to hermeneutics that doesn't read like a textbook, I highly recommend Sire's fine book."
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