Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible

Where we are when we read the Bible matters. Our cultural location and assumptions influence how we interpret Scripture—determine what we consider most important, what we emphasize, and what we ignore. Because of this, sometimes what we consider the “plain meaning” of the text is really a misinterpretation.

Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes suggests that there is a discernible pattern by which we western readers read (and misread) Scripture. Specifically, the book identifies and discusses nine habits western readers (ourselves included) have that can cause us to misunderstand what the Bible is really saying. These habits are deep assumptions—assumptions that “go without being said.” We hope the book will help readers become aware of how our cultural assumptions affect the way we read our Bibles and offer constructive direction in correcting potential misreadings. Ultimately, our goal is to give people greater confidence in their approach to Scripture.

“This is a revolutionary book for evangelical Bible-believers. If its readers end the book motivated to ask the questions it invites and even inspired to identify other possible misreadings because of Western cultural blinders that have not been discussed, they will be more ready to live out the kind of biblically faithful, Christ-honoring and God-fearing lives that they desire to and that the world needs.” —Amos Yong, J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology, Regent University School of Divinity, Virginia

“Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes is an important book that comes along at a critical moment in global evangelical history. . . . I am grateful to the authors for their effort to be self-reflective and engage in a critical examination of our engagement with Scripture from within Western culture.” —Soong-Chan Rah, Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary

“The authors of Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes make a convincing case that those who trust in the Bible should (for biblical reasons) be more self-conscious about themselves. Their demonstration of how unself-conscious mores influence the understanding of Scripture is as helpful as the many insights they draw from Scripture itself. This is a good book for better understanding ourselves, the Christian world as it now exists and the Bible.” —Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame

You can visit the book’s page on the InterVarsity Press website to see the table of contents and a brief description.

Listen to a short (fifteen minute) interview with me from Faith Radio Network.

The Strategically Small Church: Intimate, Nimble, Authentic, Effective

The Strategically Small Church is an effort to change the way people think about small church ministry. Because the values of the church growth movement have so pervaded all discussions about Christian ministry, congregation size has become the primary indication of church faithfulness and success. As a result, many—maybe most—people think of small churches as disengaged, irrelevant, and even disobedient.

The Strategically Small Church is an effort to show that the small-membership church is uniquely equipped to meet the challenges of ministry in the 21st century. Instead of being disengaged, irrelevant, and disobedient, small churches are better positioned than their larger counterparts to adjust to cultural changes and become authentic expressions of Christian faithfulness. They don’t need programs, growth charts, and counsultant analyses. The small church has everything it needs, for the leader with eyes to see.

“This is one of the finest books on the small church you’ll ever read. It is a great mix of encouragement and practical application.” —Terry (Amazon review)

Follow this link to download the first chapter. Go on. It’s free.

If you like what you see, follow this link to order the book on Amazon.

3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Carolyn Nystrom says:

    I’ve just now finished reading “The Strategically Small Church.” It’s my new book to recommend. My presbytery is full of small churches looking longingly at larger numbers. This book can help them draw on strengths available ONLY to small churches and so get past the number thing and get on to representing Jesus in their own context.

    One thing though I wish the book had addressed more directly. The number thing relates all too directly to the dollar thing. And that means staff. We need more help for lay-led churches who cannot afford a pastor. And don’t happen to be located near a seminary.

  2. Brandon says:

    Thanks for reading, Carolyn, and thanks for recommending the book! I agree with you that the book would be improved if there was more on lay leadership. I sort of nod in that direction, but there wasn’t space to go much deeper. I appreciate the feedback and would certainly appreciate any insights on that issue that you glean from your work withs small congregations.

  3. david langford says:

    I minister with a church of around 300 and finished “Strategically Small Church” some months ago. I was so blessed by it I strongly encouraged our elders and deacons to read it. The book inspired us to develop a small group study for our members based on the insights of the book entitled “Uniquely Equipped for God’s Work” and we are getting great responses to the material. I’ve shared your book with several ministers working with smaller churches and will continue to do so. Thank you for your insights and providing a much needed perspective on the importance of the “Kingdom fleet” having many different kinds of ships with different size crews!!

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