How to Read the Bible for All It’s worth

How to Read the Bible for All It’s worth






How to Read the Bible for All It’s worth


            The book “How to Read the Bible for All its Worthy” by Stuart and Fee is a useful and concise literature that tackles the issue of how the bible should be interpreted. Both authors are focused on the notion that the Bible should not necessarily be perceived as an incomprehensible book because most people read and understood it wrongly. The book emerged in an era when contemporary analysis has exhausted cultures and found its way into the religion. Therefore, the writers offered a timely assistance for scholars and ordinary people to internalize God’s word. One of the clear intentions of the authors was to help the targeted readers understand the scriptures in an accurate manner. In particular, they were interested in transforming the reader into an excellent bible interpreter. The initial pages focused on establishing the need for such interpretation skills. While confessing that scholars have the ability to disguise the simple denotation of a text in their aims to stand out, the type of readers and the biblical transcripts makes a special prominence on plain reading unnecessary. In spite of the fact that some people are aware while others are not, all readers are interpreters. Because understanding God’s word is dominant, every individual should seek to follow appropriate methods. The numerous opposing theological stands that all claims to be founded on the genuine meaning of the bible illustrate the relevance of such a book. In particular, it exposes blatant abuses for instance, baptizing dead people among the Mormons based on the wrongful understanding of Corinthians 15:29 as well as the insincere “contradictions” furnished by cynics. Not every interpretation can be assumed applicable and the manuscript assists the reader comprehend the superiority of some over others. It is imperative that the reader appreciates the origin of the scriptures and the holy word.

The Bible was authored for all people but it was not targeting everyone. The writers had a specific audience in mind. The two authors argued that understanding the Bible is urged by the ‘conflict’ existing between its everlasting significance and its historical individuality. Therefore, it is a heavenly disclosure and a human message concurrently. Concentrating the understanding on only one aspect can lead to error. Stuart and Fee recommended that an individual must first understand the meaning designed for the initial reader in an exegesis process before applying a sound hermeneutic approach to confirm its contemporary relevance. The book lauds the reader to grasp a different method of thinking exegetically while, at the same time, supporting the excellence of good translations. Consequently, it concentrates on linguistic and textual translation problems. Textual concerns seek to establish the linguistic focus and initial text when it comes to a method of translating the Bible. The science behind textual variances is handled and instances of textual differences are illustrated. Theories of translation concentrate on the changes that occur across the version such as KJV that concentrated on the literal translation while NIV focused on the actual idea and connotation. An example would be the phrase “coals of fire” (KJV) that was later translated in NIV as “burning coals”.

The main concept in chapter three is to consider the context carefully and to subscribe to the author’s argument in textual units. 1 Corinthians forms the major book from which most examples are drawn and commences with the process of establishing the historical background. It stresses reading the letter from start to end and then going through it several times. Additionally, the audio version of the Bible can also prove useful. A significant theory is internalizing units of thought preferably in paragraphs. The fifth chapter addresses accounts that are God’s narratives founded on historical events. “How to Read the Bible for all it’s Worth” avails three categories of narrative. The uppermost layer, the metanarrative, captures the larger picture of redemptive records from creation to the heaven-like stage. The next category includes God saving the human race in the major covenants. Chapter Eight describes the understanding of Jesus’ parables. The major idea is that parables were formulated to stress one main idea by appealing for a response. Jesus’ parables were also a means of preaching the kingdom. The last two chapters handled the law and matters concerning prophets. The next section covers the in-depth analysis of the text and the authors behind it.


How to Read the Bible for all it’s Worth” is exceptionally valuable in instructing using the exegetical approach. If this was a mandatory reading for every Christian, then a lot of complications and dissent could have been avoided. The significant advantage of teaching using the “ideas and blocks” approach is that learners think in terms of text instead of detached individual verses. The solution to a massive majority of doubtful objections and supposed bible contradictions can probably be discovered by complying with the recommendations in this book. Another fundamental concept is that it is impossible for a transcript normally to imply something else that is foreign to the author or his readers. Evidently, they have questionable thoughts concerning prophecy. Nonetheless, the books would be easily proposed as a learning content for open minded and inquisitive Christian. Clearly, the strength of the book lay in the author’s audacity to tackle contentious issues even though, occasionally, the tone became slightly arrogant. Many nonprofessionals read the Bible and suffer from the elitist problem. For the greater part of the book, Stuart and Fee were civil but several slight occasions stood out. For example, they disapproved of evangelicals for being inconsistent in implementing the cultural relativity principle. Without explicitly mentioning it, contemporary evangelicals fail to apply this principle when it comes to women’s dressing but turn around and object to the rise of women preachers in the church. This is the same attitude concerning same-sex relationships.

            The last illustration appears very inappropriate since the exploitation of cultural relativity to support sin makes dissenters consistent. It is clear that same-sex relationships are a direct violation of God’s intention during creation and does not depend on certain cultures. Luckily, they clear this point in the following section where they state, “…there seem to be no valid grounds for seeing same sex relations as a culturally relative matter[1].” This raises questions on why it showed up in their evaluation of contemporary evangelicals. This book is informative to one’s perceptions of perfectionists and apologetics of the Gospels. The answer for many complications lay in understanding the levels of context[2]. It is quite easy to attempt and explain every instance of chronological consistency using a strong understanding of inspiration. The real problem emerges in attempting to do the same with the issue of writing. The purpose of the type was not to offer a fixed chronology[3]. Each of the writers of the Gospel had their own reasons for organizing the content about Jesus in the manner that was presented. Most of them were probably tackling the situation within their immediate environment[4]. Therefore, the Gospel variety is not strict in history and it would be imprudent to expect an exacting chronology.

While studying the bible in a horizontal and vertical manner is hugely useful, conceivably not everything should have a genre explanation. For example, the authors clarify several iterations of Jesus’ proverbs in this way: it should not come as a surprise that most of similar sayings, in the absence of contexts, were accessible to the evangelists[5]. It would be equally not surprising to discover that the same evangelists, being guided by the Holy Spirit, placed the sayings in their current settings.

While appreciating that this explanation is relevant in many instances, it is equally fair to postulate that because Jesus conducted his preaching sessions while traveling, he frequently replicated his content in every stopover. With this seeming to be the case, it would be normal for his sayings to be repeated in different contexts throughout his era and later on through literary construction. The author’s combination of the verses in Mark, Matthew, and Luke also appear unconvincing. To a slight extent, Matthew and Mark have similar material. Conversely, Luke symbolizes a dissimilar lesson. For one, it is difficult to establish whether the book was the work of the evangelist or Jesus’[6]. The text appears to be Jesus’ based on the following two reasons. First, Matthew’s discussion was not exposed to the rest of the disciples while Luke’s was a proclaimed publicly at the temple. Second, in Luke, the directive was to escape Jerusalem when soldiers had surrounded it[7]. Nonetheless, in Mark and Matthew, the order was to leave when the disgrace of desolation had occurred[8]. It appears that detailed exegesis offers a conclusion that Luke was not the private Olivet dialogue concerning the arrival[9]. Rather, it could be considered simply a public warning to the Christians in the early century. While it is unanimous that there is a propensity to misuse typology in particular circles, cynicism seems appropriate relating to the book’s figures concerning Old Testament predictions. The authors assert that less than 2% of prophecies in the Old Testament are messianic in nature. The same testaments has less than 5% of prophesies describing the new-covenant age[10].

The two authors operate on the assumption that the reader of their book is a Christian and theological student who with little or no knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew languages. Therefore, a whole section is allocated for selecting the appropriate translation for understanding the biblical text[11]. Fee and Stuart analyze the different Bible genres in a particular order that starts with the Epistles and finishes with Revelation. It emerges evident that Epistles are quite difficult to interpret even though they are perceived as simple[12]. Consequently, given their significance to the Christian religion and because it contains numerous hermeneutical problems, they were eventually used as models for any emerging questions that rose throughout the book. By definition, the Epistles were letters addressed to a unique group of believers and therefore, they need to be comprehended in that setting. The next task is investigating the way in which the Epistles fit into the Bible as a whole[13]. The main viewpoint that is presented by the book is that every person with limited skills can display excellent results in biblical interpretation. It would be necessary for several simple methods to be adopted for each kind of genre in the Bible with the purpose of avoiding misinterpretation.

The greater part of the principles proposed in the book are sensible and the lessons, if implemented, will contribute to a deeper perception of God’s Word, in spite of a few weaknesses that emerged in the course of analysis[14]. Consequently, until a substitute book containing a similar nature for the ordinary people can be authored, this text is still the best in handling religious matters[15]. The book possesses a unique quality that is neither too burdensome nor idealess, or technical – features that attract readers. However, it is not as shallow as its outward size makes it out to be[16].


This critical review provided a synopsis and analysis of “How to Read the Bible for All it’s Worth” by Stuart and Fee. In offering an abstract, the project sought to demonstrate the significance of the text by illustrating how it proposes the need for accurate construal. An essential proposal is to process the text paragraphs instead of verses to determine the greater context[17]. Another primary theme is that texts ordinarily cannot mean what they could not have meant to its writers and to the people reading[18]. If studied at a universal level, many heretical perceptions would be preempted and most dubious objections satisfied. It is a definite mandatory reading material for Christian sympathizers and theologians[19]. While an analysis was forwarded that the author’s conclusive inclinations are prejudiced toward a specific line of thought, their perspective was largely logical[20]. Eventually, it appeared that these arguing points work in favor of the notion that this manuscript holds great value for all dedicated Bible readers. In this case, this would take account of all Christians.



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C.H.J. Van der Merwe. An Overview of Recent Developments in the Description of Biblical Hebrew Relevant to Bible Translation. Acta Theologica; 22, 1. 2012.

Fee, Gordon D., and Douglas K. Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2014.

Grudem, Wayne A., C. John Collins, and Thomas R. Schreiner. Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible: A Guide to Reading the Bible Well. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2012.

Hamilton, Adam. Making Sense of the Bible Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today. Harperone, 2015.

Harris, Stephen L. Understanding the Bible. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011.

McQuilkin, J. Robertson. Understanding and Applying the Bible. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2009.

Pilch, John J. A Cultural Handbook to the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 2012.

Poythress, Vern S. Inerrancy, and Worldview: Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2012.

Sugirtharajah, R. S. Voices from the Margin: Interpreting the Bible in the Third World. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2006.

West, Gerald O. The Academy of the Poor: Towards a Dialogical Reading of the Bible. Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: Cluster Publ, 2008.

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[1] Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003), 17.

[2] Ibid., 23

[3] Ibid., 78

[4] Van der Merwe. An Overview of Recent Developments in the Description of Biblical Hebrew Relevant to Bible Translation. (Acta Theologica; 22, 1. 2012),19


[5] Ibid., 98

[6] Wayne Grudem, Collins John, and Thomas R. Schreiner. Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible: A Guide to Reading the Bible Well. (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2012), 34.

[7] Ibid., 19

[8] Ibid., 45

[9] Adam Hamilton. Making Sense of the Bible Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today. (Harperone, 2015), 78.

[10] Gerald West. The Academy of the Poor: Towards a Dialogical Reading of the Bible. (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: Cluster Publ, 2008), 45.

[11] Stephen Harris. Understanding the Bible. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011), 45.

[12] Ibid., 66

[13] Robertson McQuilkin. Understanding and Applying the Bible. (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2009), 187.

[14] Ibid., 193

[15] John Pilch. A Cultural Handbook to the Bible. (Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 2012), 18.

[16] Ibid., 107

[17] Vern Poythress. Inerrancy and Worldview: Answering Modern Challenges to the Bible. (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2012), 39.

[18] Ibid., 59

[19] Ibid., 87

[20] Sugirtharajah Sugirtharajah. Voices from the Margin: Interpreting the Bible in the Third World. (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2006), 19.


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