How the Bible Actually Works makes clear that there is no one right way to read the Bible. Moving us beyond the damaging idea that “being right” is the most important measure of faith, Peter Enns—evangelical Bible scholar and host of The Bible for Normal People podcast—offers a freeing approach to Bible study that helps us focus on pursuing enlightenment and building our relationship with God—which is exactly what the Bible was designed to do.
Controversial evangelical Bible scholar, popular blogger and podcast host of The Bible for Normal People, and author of The Bible Tells Me So and The Sin of Certainty explains that the Bible is not an instruction manual or rule book but a powerful learning tool that nurtures our spiritual growth by refusing to provide us with easy answers but instead forces us to acquire wisdom.
For many Christians, the Bible is a how-to manual filled with literal truths about belief that must be strictly followed. But the Bible is not static, Peter Enns argues. It does not hold easy answers to the perplexing questions and issues that confront us in our daily lives. Rather, the Bible is a dynamic instrument for study that not only offers an abundance of insights but provokes us to find our own answers to spiritual questions, cultivating God’s wisdom within us.
“The Bible becomes a confusing mess when we expect it to function as a rulebook for faith. But when we allow the Bible to determine our expectations, we see that Wisdom, not answers, is the Bible’s true subject matter,” writes Enns. This distinction, he points out, is important because when we come to the Bible expecting it to be a textbook intended by God to give us unwavering certainty about our faith, we are actually creating problems for ourselves. The Bible, in other words, really isn’t the problem; having the wrong expectation is what interferes with our reading.
Rather than considering the Bible as an ancient book weighed down with problems, flaws, and contradictions that must be defended by modern readers, Enns offers a vision of the holy scriptures as an inspired and empowering resource to help us better understand how to live as a person of faith today.
About the Author
Peter Enns (Ph.D. Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University. He has taught undergraduate, seminary, and doctoral courses at numerous other schools, including Princeton Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, and Temple University. Pete speaks and writes regularly to diverse audiences about the intersection of the ancient setting of Bible and contemporary Christian faith. He is a frequent contributor to journals and encyclopedias, and has written, edited, and contributed to nearly 20 books, including The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More than Our “Correct” Beliefs; The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It, Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament, and The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins. Enns resides in suburban Philadelphia with his wife Susan. His popular blog, The Bible for Normal People, can be found at peteenns.com.