Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today

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Denominations from evangelical to mainline continue to experience deep divisions over universal social issues. The underlying debate isn’t about a particular social issue, but instead it is about how we understand the nature of scripture and how we should interpret it. The world’s bestselling, most-read, and most-loved book is also one of the most confusing. In Making Sense of the Bible, Adam Hamilton, one of the country’s leading pastors and Christian authors, addresses the hot-button issues that plague the church and cultural debate, and answers many of the questions frequently asked by Christians and non-Christians alike.

Did God really command Moses to put gay people to death? Did Jesus really teach that everyone who is not a Christian will be assigned to hell? Why would Paul command women to “keep silent in the church?” Were Adam and Eve real people? Is the book of Revelation really about the end times? Who decided which books made it into the scriptures and why? Is the Bible ever wrong? In approachable and inviting language, Hamilton addresses these often misunderstood biblical themes leading readers to a deeper appreciation of the Bible so that we might hear God speak through it and find its words to be life-changing and life-giving.

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About the author

Adam Hamilton is the founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City. Started in 1990 with four people, the church has grown to become the largest United Methodist Church in the United States with over 18,000 members. The church is well known for connecting with agnostics, skeptics, and spiritual seekers. In 2012, it was recognized as the most influential mainline church in America, and Hamilton was asked by the White House to deliver the sermon at the Obama inaugural prayer service. Hamilton, whose theological training includes an undergraduate degree from Oral Roberts University and a graduate degree from Southern Methodist University where he was honored for his work in social ethics, is the author of nineteen books. He has been married to his wife, LaVon, for thirty-one years and has two adult daughters.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Mar 18, 2014
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780062234971
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Biblical Studies / General
Religion / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth
Religion / Christianity / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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One of the vital challenges facing thoughtful people today is how to read the Bible faithfully without abandoning our sense of truth and history. Reading the Bible Again for the First Time provides a much-needed solution to the problem of how to have a fully authentic yet contemporary understanding of the scriptures. Many mistakenly believe there are no choices other than fundamentalism or simply rejecting the Bible as something that can bring meaning to our lives. Answering this modern dilemma, acclaimed author Marcus Borg reveals how it is possible to reconcile the Bible with both a scientific and critical way of thinking and our deepest spiritual needs, leading to a contemporary yet grounded experience of the sacred texts.

This seminal book shows you how to read the Bible as it should be examined—in an approach the author calls "historical-metaphorical." Borg explores what the Scriptures meant to the ancient communities that produced and lived by them. He then helps us to discover the meaning of these stories, providing the knowledge and perspective to make the wisdom of the Bible an essential part of our modern lives. The author argues that the conventional way of seeing the Bible's origin, authority, and interpretation has become unpersuasive to millions of people in our time, and that we need a fresh way of encountering the Bible that takes the texts seriously but not literally, even as it takes seriously who we have become.

Borg traces his personal spiritual journey, describing for readers how he moved from an unquestioning childhood belief in the biblical stories to a more powerful and dynamic relationship with the Bible as a sacred text brimming with meaning and guidance. Using his own experience as an example, he reveals how the modern crisis of faith is itself rooted in the misinterpretation of sacred texts as historical record and divine dictation, and opens readers to a truer, more abundant perspective.

This unique book invites everyone—whatever one's religious background—to engage the Bible, wrestle with its meaning, explore its mysteries, and understand its relevance. Borg shows us how to encounter the Bible in a fresh way that rejects the limits of simple literalism and opens up rich possibilities for our lives.

Everyone agrees that America is polarized, with ever-hardening positions held by people less and less willing to listen to one another. No one agrees on what to do about it.

One solution that hasn’t yet been tried, says Adam Hamilton, is for thinking persons of faith to model for the rest of the country a richer, more thoughtful conversation on the political, moral, and religious issues that divide us. Hamilton rejects the easy assumptions and sloppy analysis of black and white thinking, seeking instead the truth that resides on all sides of the issues, and offering a faithful and compassionate way forward.

He writes, "I don't expect you to agree with everything I've written. I expect that in the future even I won't agree with everything I've written here. The point is not to get you to agree with me, but to encourage you to think about what you believe. In the end I will be inviting those of you who find this book resonates with what you feel is true, to join the movement to pursue a middle way between the left and the right - to make your voices heard - and to model for our nation and for the church, how we can listen, learn, see truth as multi-sided, and love those with whom we disagree."

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Adam Hamilton's Seeing Gray Blog

Now available!
Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White - DVD
UPC: 843504001902
A five-session video resource featuring Adam Hamilton teaching these concepts on DVD for group or individual study. Includes leader's guide as well as bonus video.

Click below to view a preview of each video session.

Where Faith and Politics Meet
Christ Christians and the Culture Wars
How should we live, The Ethics of Jesus
Spiritual Maturity and Seeing Gray
What Would Jesus Say to America?

In 1987, an IRA bomb buried Gordon Wilson and his twenty-year-old daughter beneath five feet of rubble. Gordon alone survived. And forgave. He said of the bombers, "I have lost my daughter, but I bear no grudge. . . . I shall pray, tonight and every night, that God will forgive them."His words caught the media’s ear--and out of one man’s grief, the world got a glimpse of grace.Grace is the church’s great distinctive. It’s the one thing the world cannot duplicate, and the one thing it craves above all else--for only grace can bring hope and transformation to a jaded world.In What’s So Amazing About Grace? award-winning author Philip Yancey explores grace at street level. If grace is God’s love for the undeserving, he asks, then what does it look like in action? And if Christians are its sole dispensers, then how are we doing at lavishing grace on a world that knows far more of cruelty and unforgiveness than it does of mercy?Yancey sets grace in the midst of life’s stark images, tests its mettle against horrific "ungrace." Can grace survive in the midst of such atrocities as the Nazi holocaust? Can it triumph over the brutality of the Ku Klux Klan? Should any grace at all be shown to the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed and cannibalized seventeen young men?Grace does not excuse sin, says Yancey, but it treasures the sinner. True grace is shocking, scandalous. It shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to sinners and touching them with mercy and hope. It forgives the unfaithful spouse, the racist, the child abuser. It loves today’s AIDS-ridden addict as much as the tax collector of Jesus’ day.In his most personal and provocative book ever, Yancey offers compelling, true portraits of grace’s life-changing power. He searches for its presence in his own life and in the church. He asks, How can Christians contend graciously with moral issues that threaten all they hold dear?And he challenges us to become living answers to a world that desperately wants to know, What’s So Amazing About Grace?
Simple Prayer, Dramatic Life-Change

It’s a timeless prayer that produces timely results! Bruce Wilkinson takes readers to 1 Chronicles 4:10 to discover how they can release God’s miraculous power and experience the blessings God longs to give each of us. The life of Jabez, one of the Bible’s most overlooked heroes of the faith, bursts from unbroken pages of genealogies in an audacious, fourpart prayer that brings him an extraordinary measure of divine favor, anointing, and protection. Readers who commit to offering the same prayer on a regular basis will find themselves extravagantly blessed by God, and agents of His miraculous power, in everyday life.

Do you want to be extravagantly blessed by God?

Are you ready to reach for the extraordinary? To ask God for the abundant blessings He longs to give you? Join Bruce Wilkinson to discover how the remarkable prayer of a little-known Bible hero can release God’s favor, power, and protection. You’ll see how one daily prayer can help you leave the past behind—and break through to the life you were meant to live.

Story Behind the Book

When The Prayer of Jabez first released in 2000 and sold nine million copies in two years, Bruce Wilkinson’s mailbox was flooded with countless personal stories of answered prayer. God’s mighty hand was using the prayer to change lives in both small and dramatic ways. Such undeniable testimonies make it impossible to ignore God’s presence, active and alive today! This repack meets the demand that continues to ask for the original bestseller—now with a stunning new look!


From the Hardcover edition.
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