"The Most Misused Stories in the Bible"

"Are You Sure You Know What Your Favorite Bible Stories Mean?

"A surprising number of popular Bible stories are commonly misused or misunderstood, even by well-intentioned Christians. In this concise yet thorough book, Eric J. Bargerhuff helps you fully understand the meaning of David and Goliath, Jonah and the Big Fish, the Woman Caught in Adultery, and other well-known Bible stories." (back cover)

"The Most Misused Stories in the Bible: Surprising Ways Popular Bible Stories Are Misunderstood" is a short, succinct book by Eric J. Bargerhuff, a Bible and Theology professor at Trinity College of Florida. It is easy to read and simple in its explanations. It rightly emphasizes the importance of context and considering the full counsel of Scripture. Several chapters have interesting "misinterpretations" and likewise insights as to Bargerhuff's understanding of the respective stories; for example, the story of David and Goliath is often cited as an example of facing one's fears and having courage, but the author argues the text reveals David was not afraid, so this story is "not about overcoming fear and facing your giants as much as it is about trusting in the power and character of God to deliver" (p 20). Other chapters are more nuanced as far as actual differences between the popular and the author's interpretations, and I found some fairly simplistic and would have liked more depth in digging into content and context. Also, the latter half of the book segues into addressing Biblical and theological concepts, questions, phrases, etc. (i.e., "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit") that are misunderstood or controversial, as related to a certain proof text or passage, which (albeit the content itself was fine) was somewhat surprising since it didn't follow the premise of the book as I understand it. Overall, "The Most Misused Stories in the Bible" is a generally thoughtful little book, and while I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as one to purchase for your personal collection, it is an interesting afternoon read if you happen to grab it off the shelf at the library.

Disclaimer: This book was received for free from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review.

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