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Reading the Bible for All the Wrong Reasons
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Reading the Bible for All the Wrong Reasons


Fortress Press 2011

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


The Bible can be hazardous to one’s health if read with faulty expectations. Writing with compassion and wit, Russell Pregeant shows that reading “without interpretation” is impossible. The right question is, which assumptions are appropriate?

Pregeant addresses the most common and most harmful assumptions about the Bible, beginning with the expectation that it will always “speak” as directly and immediately as a fortune cookie. The Bible’s authority is not a matter of its factual, historical, or scientific accuracy—so it can hardly “disprove” scientific theories of evolution and the nature of the universe. It does not provide crystal ball-like glimpses of the future and is not a systematic blueprint for personal morality or public policy; these are distortions of the meaning of biblical prophecy and biblical ethics. And while the Bible has long been read as a source for Christian doctrine, Pregeant emphasizes that Christians must take responsibility for their own uses—and abuses—of the biblical text. Only when respect and reason take the place of slogans and ultimatums, he argues, can the Bible exercise an appropriate authority in a mature “life in the Spirit.”

With the Logos Bible Software edition of Reading the Bible for All the Wrong Reasons, every word is essentially a link, equipping you to search the entire collection for a particular verse or topic—“Creation,” for example, or “grace.” This gives you instant access to a wealth of information on historical and contemporary ethical thought.

Key Features

  • Addresses common and harmful assumptions about the Bible
  • Analyzes biblical prophecy, ethics, and authority


  • More than a Fortune Cookie: The Testimonies of Two Communities
  • Neither Fact Book nor Catechism: Rethinking Biblical Authority
  • Neither Science nor Anti-Science: Genesis, Geology, the Big Bang, and Darwin
  • Neither Crystal Ball nor Horror Show: Understanding Biblical Prophecy
  • Neither Rigid Rules nor Billy Club: The Nature of Biblical Ethics
  • The Bible and Our Beliefs: Reflections on Christian Doctrine
  • Life in the Spirit: The Gospel of Grace and Demand
  • The Biblical Witness and the Word of God

Praise for the Print Edition

In this thoughtful and accessible book, Russell Pregeant engages important questions about reading the Bible. He tackles tough contemporary issues ranging from biblical authority to care for the earth, from the rapture to evolution, from sexual and gender issues to the nature of salvation and the doing of ethics. What emerges is the contribution of the Bible to a compelling vision of the common good and of a just life lived in relation to a gracious God.

Warren Carter, professor of New Testament, Brite Divinity School

For much of Western history, the Bible has been the primary source of the wisdom needed to inspire and guide conviction and commitment. Contemporary culture has abandoned that source of wisdom at a time when such wisdom is urgently need for human survival. Some have lost the wisdom by treating the Bible as a sacred object; others, by dismissing it as worthless or worse. Pregeant points the way to recovering and reviving its life-giving power.

—John B. Cobb Jr., emeritus professor, Claremont School of Theology

Product Details

  • Title: Reading the Bible for All the Wrong Reasons
  • Author: Russell Pregeant
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 160

About Russell Pregeant

Russell Pregeant is chaplain and emeritus professor of religion at Curry College. He is author of several books, including Encounter with the New Testament and Knowing Truth, Doing Good: Engaging New Testament Ethics.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition

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