Reading The Book

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In an exchange with a lawyer who asks “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”, Jesus responds, “What is written in the law? How do you read?”

By “how do you read?” Jesus surely meant, how do you interpret the relevant scriptures. The lawyer linked two verses together using a technique know as gezerah shavah and Jesus said, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”

Today the need to read the scripture correctly is as great as it has ever been. The vast majority of differences in the living out of Christianity come from very different “readings” (interpretation) of scripture. This book examines some of the ways it’s done and suggests a Jesus centric approach.

Here are some excerpts:

Joseph Frankovic has recognized the difficulty that modern readers face in the interpretation of the text. He contends that “interpreting the Bible is a question of acute relevance, because how we understand Scripture ultimately determines to a large degree how we put it into practice.” And, of course, as Evangelical Christians we are concerned with making it practical in our daily lives. Several illustrations are given to show how various interpretations can be reached depending on our presuppositions. These presuppositions are the different pairs of glasses that we may use in reading the text. …The approach the author wishes us to consider is what he calls Jesus-centric. You may not agree with everything presented, but after reading it I believe you will have a better understanding of Jesus and how he influences the interpretation of the New Testament, and to a great extent the Old Testament as well. – from the Forward

The challenges, difficulties, and risks of biblical interpretation remain with us whether we are willing to acknowledge them or not. Choosing to ignore them, we can pretend that they are irrelevant. Ignoring them, however, is a response by default. On the other hand, by acknowledging these challenges, difficulties, and risks, we can engage them head-on and strive to find workable solutions for reading the Book. I am not promoting my solution as being the only right answer. Rather I offer it as a fresh approach for helping us to become more effective readers, preachers, and teachers of the Bible.

When reading the New Testament, I start with Jesus in the synoptic gospels, and then very slowly move outward, because I want to strive first to understand what Jesus said about himself. Once I feel that I have done the best possible job of comprehending Jesus’ words in the synoptic tradition, I begin to move out into the remainder of the New Testament to see what others said about him. I strive to be Jesus-centric in the manner that I read, preach, and teach Scripture. Once I identify the emphases that Jesus made in his teachings, I then read those emphases throughout the rest of the Bible, particularly in those places where the historical-critical approach fails to satisfy the demands of Canon. In other words, having identified the emphases of Jesus’ teachings, I then bend the biblical text toward them. I make no apology; I bend the text, but when I do, I strive to bend it toward Jesus.

The Table of Contents includes:

A Survey of Ways to Read Scripture
Translation, Interpretation and Bending the Text
The Challenge
Ancient Writers and Modern Readers
A Different Sort of Book
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Who Needs Order?
What Denomination Was Jesus?
Limitations of the Historical-Critical Method
A Jesus-Centric Approach

Download (PDF, 386KB)

Download the 53 page PDF book now:  Reading The Book by Joseph Frankovic

Comments 2

  1. You said you were supplying a link to download “The Kingdom of Heaven.” Instead you sent a link to download “Reading the Book” which you previously offered to us.

    1. JP Staff Writer

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