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What the Bible Really Tells Us: The Essential Guide to Biblical Literacy

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The Bible is the foundational text for Jews and Christians, but most people, having little knowledge of what it actually says, feel less than uncomfortable navigating its pages. What the Bible Really Tells Us solves this problem, providing a thorough, yet accessible, guide to the Good Book and the ways in which it can enrich one’s life.

Opening with a 60-Second Super-Easy Bible Quiz to test your knowledge, author T.J. Wray then provides essential background information to arm readers with tools necessary to read and interpret passages on their own. And, with these tools in hand, Wray helps readers explore what the Bible really says about key issues today, including:

  • Suffering
  • Heaven and hell
  • Gender and sexuality
  • The environment


What the Bible Really Tells Us is an indispensable guide for individuals and groups interested in gaining a fuller understanding of the Bible and the timeless lessons it imparts.

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List of Tables
Acknowledgments


Introduction: What You Need to Know
Chapter 1: Take the Test: The Sixty-Second Super Easy Bible Quiz
Chapter 2: A Tree With Deep Roots: A Brief History of Biblical Illiteracy
Chapter 3: Bible Basics: It's Not Rocket Science!
Chapter 4: The Problem of Pain: Why Do We Suffer?
Chapter 5: Final Destinations: Heaven and Hell
Chapter 6: Show Me the Money: The Surprising Truth About Wealth and Riches
Chapter 7: Should We or Shouldn't We?: An Exploration of Sexuality and Gender
Chapter 8: Fair is Fair: The Essential Aspects of Biblical Laws and Justice
Chapter 9: Mother Earth: The Bible and the Environment
Chapter 10: Making the God Connection: Communicating With God Through Prayer and Worship

Conclusions

Resources
Index

Honed from years of excellent teaching, T.J. Wray's clarifying guide to biblical literacy is both witty and profound. Now, her readers get the benefit of her compelling classroom instruction and will love her as much as those students do!

T. J. Wray has done it again! With a remarkable blend of biblical knowledge, human insight, and literary skill, she has hit a '10' on the scale in interpreting the Bible for people who have great interest yet relatively little knowledge. How can anyone forget what the Bible has to say about our future, money, sex, the world in which we live, what is fair, and our relationship with God? Perhaps no one but What the Bible Really Tells Us comes to remind us about realities that we dare not forget.

Thorough, yet accessible, Wray's book is an engaging example of the kind of guide one needs when reading the Bible. What the Bible Really Tells Us is indispensable for individuals and groups interested in gaining a fuller understanding of the Bible and the timeless lessons it imparts. Wray succeeds in sharing the wisdom of the Bible by making it interesting and fun.

T.J. Wray's What the Bible Really Tells Us is a fascinating, trip through all the basics of Biblical scholarship. Wray writes in an engaging accessible style that is perfect for the average reader who knows something about the Bible but little about the mysteries of what Bible scholars have uncovered in their work over the past two centuries. Wray makes the critical, academic, study of the Scriptures an enlightening but always enjoyable journey. She pulls the readers in from the first chapter and never lets them go with practical stories and examples but plenty of solid content. This book is perfect for the average reader as well as ideal for basic courses in the Bible at the college level.

In America, many still hold the Bible to be a 'holy and authoritative book', but few know its contents in any detail. Writing for those who want to overcome their own ignorance, Wray draws on her experience of teaching students who have entered her classroom with a desire to know what the Bible really says... Wray offers some tools of biblical interpretation to enable readers to enter the world of the Bible, Wray offers some tools of biblical interpretation to enable readers to enter the world of the Bible for themselves... Wray writes for those who regard themselves as biblically illiterate and addresses them from the viewpoint of academic biblical studies.

Wray (Good Girls, Bad Girls), an associate professor of religious studies at Salve Regina University, offers an undergraduate-friendly introduction to biblical studies based on her years of teaching undergraduates, who, like the rest of the country, are fairly biblically illiterate. Her opening "60-Second Super-Easy Bible Quiz" is, of course, not as easy as it would appear, a classroom gambit designed to make people aware of their assumptions and to loosen up their preconceptions about this sacred text. Her fresh approach allows her to hopscotch around biblical books and point out many internal disagreements and distinctions. While good for the classroom, readers who like the brisk tone of an assured lecturer will also enjoy this competent book.

In her introduction, Wray (Salve Regina Univ.) states that Americans need to know what the Bible says because 81 percent of them believe that the Bible communicates God's truth(s) in some way. Yet Americans in general and college students in Bible classes in particular are remarkably ignorant about the Bible's contents--a point she proves with a "sixty-second super-easy Bible quiz" of five true/false questions that almost all of her college students fail the first day of class. After two chapters featuring general information about the history and the contents of the Bible, Wray explores seven issues discussed therein: pain and suffering, heaven and hell, wealth and riches, sexuality and gender, law and justice, the environment, and prayer and worship. The book's conclusion points readers to a list of resources for studying the Bible. This volume is not an introduction in the usual sense (i.e., a discussion of the individual books in the Bible), but instead an introduction to the basic issues for human readers, and to the Bible's overall take on those issues. With her fresh approach to "introducing" the Bible, Wray succeeds in broaching issues without trivializing them. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through professionals/practitioners; general readers.

Seeks to help readers understand the problems of biblical illiteracy, and a crash course on Bible basics.

The Bible is one of a few works that is best read with an introduction or guide at hand. Wray’s book is an engaging and excellent example of just such an aid. The collection of texts we now call the Bible was written over the course of many centuries, by different authors, in different languages, and under differing social and political circumstances. Understanding the times and places from whence these texts came is key to understanding what they mean. Wray devotes a couple of introductory chapters to the biblical world and the tools and methods scholars use in their exegetical work. But her intention is to get people reading the Bible, not to offer an academic, verse-by-verse commentary. Subsequent chapters, therefore, explore what the Bible says about such issues as wealth, heaven, hell, sex, and the environment, dispelling many commonly held assumptions and pointing out where disagreements in interpretation lie along the way. Wray succeeds in sharing the wisdom of the Bible by making it accessible, interesting, and fun.

T.J. Wray's What the Bible Really Tells Us provides the general public and undergraduates in Bible and Religion courses everywhere with a step by step introductory level text in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament that is perfect for the present crop of readers. Her wry sense of humor and years of teaching expertise come through and the book also untangles some of the most vexing problems of theology, ethics, and society in an easily readable style. A great addition to a personal or institutional library!

A fine resource for anyone considering taking an introductory bible course, participating in a parish bible study group, or simple enjoyment. Wray writes in an engaging style that helps make the complexity of scripture accessible. Opening with a 60-Second Super-Easy Bible Quiz to test your knowledge, Wray then provides essential background information to arm readers with tools necessary to read and interpret passages on their own. And, with these tools in hand, Wray helps readers explore what the Bible really says about key issues today.

Product Details

  • Title : What the Bible Really Tells Us: The Essential Guide to Biblical Literacy
  • Author: Wray, T. J.
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • ISBN: 9781442212930

T. J. Wray is the author of several books, including Surviving the Death of a Sibling, What the Bible Really Tells Us: The Essential Guide to Biblical Literacy, and Good Girls, Bad Girls: The Enduring Lessons of Twelve Women of the Old Testament. She is associate professor of religious studies at Salve Regina University. She has appeared on the History Channel and NPR.

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