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Brazos Bible Interpretation Collection (3 vols.)


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The Brazos Bible Interpretation Collection provides fresh insights for exploring and understanding Scripture. These three works examine challenges in modern biblical interpretation and applying the Bible to life today. All skilled writers, the authors are also theologians, pastors, sociologists, and social workers—the rich pool of perspectives they offer equips readers with new ways to approach their Bible study.

In The Bible Made Impossible, sociologist Christian Smith provides a critique of evangelical biblicism, arguing that if it worked as its proponents say it should, there would not be the vast variety of interpretive differences that biblicists themselves reach upon interpreting the Bible. In Flawed Families of the Bible, David and Diana Garland comb insights from Scripture, showing that the families of the Bible were not so different from imperfect families today. Their encouraging study examines how God worked through those imperfections to reveal hope and grace to families then, just as he does today. And lastly, in From Stone to Living Word, Debbie Blue shows how Christians have treated the Bible as an idol rather than as a “living response to a living being.” Her reflections on biblical interpretation and themes transform the familiar into something new and alive.

In the Logos editions, these valuable volumes are enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

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Key Features

  • Gathers fresh insights on biblical interpretation
  • Examines how God worked through Old Testament families and relates them to today’s families
  • Provides a critique of evangelical biblicism

Product Details

Individual Titles

The Bible Made Impossible: Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture

  • Author: Christian Smith
  • Publisher: Baker
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 256

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Biblicism—an approach to the Bible common among some American evangelicals—emphasizes together the Bible’s exclusive authority, infallibility, clarity, self-sufficiency, internal consistency, self-evident meaning, and universal applicability. Acclaimed sociologist Christian Smith argues that this approach is misguided and unable to live up to its own claims. If evangelical biblicism worked as its proponents say it should, there would not be the vast variety of interpretive differences that biblicists themselves reach when they actually read and interpret the Bible. Far from challenging the inspiration and authority of Scripture, Smith critiques a particular rendering of it, encouraging evangelicals to seek what he calls a more responsible, coherent, and defensible approach to biblical authority.

This important book has generated lively discussion and debate. This edition adds a new chapter responding to the conversation that the first edition has sparked.

Evangelicalism is cracking apart not because of theological drift to the left but because the only theology that can sustain a genuine evangelicalism is—to use the only word appropriate—a catholic theology. Many who were nurtured in American evangelicalism (as Christian Smith was) and now find it seriously deficient (as Christian Smith does) seem to be those on whom the light has dawned. I first saw a chapter of this book and was stunned; I’ve now read it all and am delighted. Here is a genuinely evangelical catholic understanding of scripture.

Scot McKnight, professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary

Biblicism remains one of the most entrenched and pressing problems facing the church. In his characteristically lucid, direct, and fair-minded fashion, Christian Smith asks questions about biblicism that need to be answered. Smith also begins to articulate an alternative, Christ-centered approach to biblical interpretation that is supremely constructive—a truly evangelical account of Scripture. Here his words fall like water on parched ground. We may expect the church to flourish as it reads them.

Douglas A. Campbell, associate professor of New Testament, Duke University Divinity School

I do not think that biblicism has been quite as destructive as Christian Smith describes it in this book (for example, among evangelicals there is very little ‘pervasive interpretive pluralism’ in understanding John 20:31). Despite this reservation, I think Smith has written an extremely valuable book. Although his account of the problems besetting biblicism is devastatingly effective, his appeal for a Christ-centered approach to Scripture is wise, encouraging, and even more effective.

Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

Many books have been written either defending or detracting from an evangelical view of the Bible. Christian Smith, as a trained sociologist, offers a much-needed perspective: explaining evangelical biblicism as a sociological phenomenon. Smith demonstrates, respectfully but critically, that the type of biblicism that often characterizes evangelicalism cannot account for how scripture itself behaves. Biblicism is retained, however, because of its sociological value for ‘maintaining safe identity boundaries.’ Smith’s analysis of the problem of biblicism and his offer of a way forward are important contributions to the current developments surrounding evangelicalism and the Bible.

Peter Enns, author, The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins and Inspiration

Christian Smith plainly says what so many others have been thinking or implying for some time—namely, that many strands of evangelicalism believe things about the Bible and theology that are simply impossible. Smith exposes the scholastic alchemy that holds this fragile theological edifice together and helps us understand that serious damage is done to the church and its witness when we perpetuate the errors of biblicism.

Kenton L. Sparks, professor of Hebrew Bible, Eastern University

Smith vigorously presents a compelling possibility: The Bible could be more alive, the church could be more unified, those of us who care deeply about Scripture could be less fearful about some collapse of authority and more honest about what is actually in the Bible if we simply began to listen with more humility and openness to what it is God seems most concerned to reveal. A great book for this time in the life of evangelicalism.

Debbie Blue, pastor, House of Mercy

Christian Smith (PhD, Harvard University) is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where he has been cited as an outstanding faculty member. He is the award-winning author or coauthor of numerous books, including What Is a Person? Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and Moral Good from the Person Up and Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults. His research focuses primarily on religion in modernity, adolescents, American evangelicalism, and culture.

Flawed Families of the Bible: How God’s Grace Works through Imperfect Relationships

  • Authors: David Garland and Diana Garland
  • Publisher: Baker
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 236

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Take a close look at family life in the Old Testament and you will find the same dysfunctions that plague families today—betrayal, jealousy, physical and emotional violence, infidelity, and mean-spiritedness. In Flawed Families of the Bible, David and Diana Garland offer an honest and careful reading of Scripture, showing that the families of the Bible were not so different from imperfect families today. Even so, God worked through those imperfections to reveal hope and grace to families then, just as he does today.

This book’s message is crucial for contemporary families. Everyone—those in the church and those outside of the church—struggles to sift through the dysfunction and build healthy and close families. The Garlands combine their expertise in Scripture study and family life to unpack issues like feeling unloved by your spouse, family shame, betrayal of family members, abuse, and loss.

Flawed Families of the Bible will be valuable to pastors and counselors, as well as anyone looking for encouragement in family issues.

[This] book will make you feel fully human and divine, all at the same time. You will want to go hug all of your crazy family members, embracing them, forgiving them, and accepting them just as they are. No matter how crazy and chaotic your own family, Diana and David Garland reveal even crazier and more chaotic families recorded in the Bible. . . . These stories take on new meaning in the skilled and experienced interpretive hands of a social worker (Diana) and a biblical scholar (David). . . . The Garlands achieve their goal of highlighting the imperfections of ancient families in the biblical narrative by combining traditional exegesis, contemporary illustrations drawn from personal experiences, art, cinema, modern drama, and poetry. . . . Readers will be grateful for the reminder of ‘divine alchemy’—when divine grace works to create a place where ‘we are no longer defined by brokenness but by redemption.’

—Linda McKinnish Bridges, Interpretation

"[The authors] deal with biblical characters like Sarah and Hagar, Dinah, Tamar and others to show how God can work even in families where circumstances are less than ideal. Pastors will find ideas here for an interesting sermon series."

Preaching Now

A clear and useful book. . . . The present reviewer came to this text with certain expectations based on appreciation for David Garland’s commentaries. . . . He was not disappointed. . . . The Garlands rely on close reading of the text in ways sure to enlighten almost every reader. . . . Congratulations . . . are in order. This book is primarily a useful resource for individuals and small groups, including those with little exposure to the biblical text. Given its quality as an interesting, quick read, Flawed Families may have a place in courses on feminist interpretation, Old Testament interpretation, or biblical narrative; it merits inclusion in the required or suggested reading lists of courses where psychology or counseling and the Bible interact.

Jason B. Hood, Review of Biblical Literature

An eye-opening look at family relationships that are found in the Bible and how they relate to the same problems found in present day families. With their thought-provoking interpretations of familiar Biblical characters and stories, the authors challenge the reader to take a fresh look at the actions of Bathsheba, Jacob, David, Abraham, Leah and others. . . . This book is not only thought-provoking but will lead to lively discussions and hopefully to more openness and compassion within church communities for flawed individuals and families. . . . Highly recommended.

Libraries Alive

A wonderful volume. . . . The purpose of this clever essay is to illustrate that biblical families, including David’s and Jacob’s, suffered tremendous loss, grief, pain, and suffering, and how God bestowed grace and love on them even in the midst of their various predicaments. The greatest strength of this book is that it does an incredible job of adding context and thought-provoking material for the reader to consider. This book has the ability to captivate the long-time Christians and assist them in viewing well-known Bible stories from fresh and practical perspectives. . . . This book is intriguing, gripping and insightful. . . . Having this book in a professional’s personal library would enable him to help a person who has never studied the Bible carefully enough to see pain, turmoil, and tragedy in biblical characters.

—Suzanne Angel, Stone-Campbell Journal

As this husband-and-wife team discuss [Bible] families and their flaws, readers see not only how families messed up their lives, but also how God worked in these situations. Readers who share some of these imperfections can find encouragement in seeing how God works to reveal his love and grace.

Roy B. Zuck, Bibliotheca Sacra

[The Garlands’] approach is one of raising honest questions about contemporary family life by reflecting on stories of the OT. . . . [The book] is informed by recent scholarship on families and religion, but the message it delivers is not obscured by a great cloud of footnotes. This seems to be a book that would be most suitable for seminary classes in which there is a focus on Scripture and Pastoral Care; it might also be considered for adult Bible studies in churches.

Old Testament Abstracts

David E. Garland (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate dean for academic affairs and William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures at George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University. He is the author of numerous books, including award-winning commentaries on 1 Corinthians and Mark.

Diana Garland (PhD, University of Louisville) is a well-known family scholar and has pioneered research in the integration of faith and service in congregations and in religiously affiliated organizations. She is the past president of the North American Association of Christians in Social Work (NACSW) and the recipient of the National Association of Social Work Lifetime Achievement Award from the NASW Waco Unit (2002). Her book, Family Ministry: A Comprehensive Guide, received the Book of the Year 2000 award from the Academy of Parish Clergy. She also authored Sacred Stories of Ordinary Families: Living the Faith Everyday in 2003.

From Stone to Living Word: Letting the Bible Live Again

  • Author: Debbie Blue
  • Publisher: Baker
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 224

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

In From Stone to Living Word, author and pastor Debbie Blue shows how Christians have treated the Bible as a firm foundation—and thus an idol—rather than a “living response to a living being.”

In the opening chapters of the book, Blue shows how Christians read and preach in ways that lean toward idolatry. Then she sets out to dismantle this tendency by interpreting important biblical themes such as creation, incarnation, atonement, and resurrection in a new way. Her reflections transform the familiar into something strange, new, thrilling, and alive.

In a world where idols are used to divide and oppress, Blue’s recognition of the tendency to idolize the Bible frees Christians from preconceived notions, allowing them instead to discover new possibilities.

Blue’s fresh and sharp insights will appeal to everyone from those who find the Bible irrelevant or suspect to those who are looking for a way to make their faith alive. Her winsome, honest, and often amusing writing captivates and inspires.

From Stone to Living Word is a brilliant and dazzling book that invites us to read Scripture with renewed wonder, curiosity, rigor, and imagination. In a literary voice that is at once lyrical, earthy, and smart, Debbie Blue writes with a generosity of spirit, humor, humility, and clarity about a topic that is so often fraught with technical debates and controversy. In this intensely readable book, Blue calls us beyond mere intellectual engagement with text to encounter the present reality of the living God.

—Mark Scandrette, author, Soul Graffiti

For many, Scripture is the fossilized detritus of rationalism and moralism. Debbie Blue’s soulful reconstitution of the Christ narrative is nothing short of divine alchemy. Absolutely brilliant.

Sally Morgenthaler, coauthor, An Emergent Manifesto of Hope

First off, it must be said without equivocation: Debbie Blue is a brilliant writer. She masterfully and winsomely weaves the sublime and the mundane, the stones and the living words. And we can all count ourselves blessed that she has turned her literary talents on the Bible, that tome that many of us feel attracted to and repelled by at the same time. Debbie Blue will help you fall in love with the Bible (again). If you long for living words, read this book!

—Tony Jones, author, The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier

Debbie Blue is a founding pastor of House of Mercy (HOM) in St. Paul, Minnesota. HOM is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches in the USA and is committed to the diverse and rich theology and worship of the Christian church, worldwide and historical. A graduate of Yale Divinity School, Blue is also the author of Sensual Orthodoxy.

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    Collection value: $61.99
    Save $12.00 (19%)