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Knowing Scripture (EasyRead Large Edition) Paperback – Large Print, 12 Aug 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: ReadHowYouWant; Large Print 16 pt edition (12 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442996609
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442996601
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.3 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,202,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

R.C. Sproul is founder and president of Ligonier Ministries, Orlando, Florida, and senior minister of preaching and teaching at Saint Andrew's Chapel, Sanford, Florida. He has authored many books, including The Truth of the Cross and The Holiness of God.

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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Mar 1998
Format: Paperback
I found this little volume a tremendous help in properly interpeting the Bible. Sproul takes you through a point-by-point process of the art and science of hermenutics. Like a skillful surgeon Sproul disects the Word and demonstrates the profound wealth of spirtual nuggets lying under the surface of the text. After digesting the book I felt like I feel through the thin ice of the surface of the text into the deep abyss of Biblical truth. If your a Biblical student you will gain a greater understanding of the nuances, and idioms of Biblical history.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Mar 1998
Format: Paperback
R.C. Sproul colorfully presents some relatively simple yet essential guildelines for reading the Bible. This book discusses what the Protestant ideal of "individual interpretation" means, and how one should go about building an appropriate view of dissecting Scripture. Two thumbs up for this sound analysis of the subject matter!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J Grainger VINE VOICE on 21 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
The contents page of this book suggest an extremely interesting framework for addressing the question of how the Bible should be read. However, I did find Sproul's arguments both confused and confusing. For example, he criticizes the "Medieval Quadriga' method (p54) where (he says) each passage is examined for four meanings: literal, morral, allegorical and anagogical. He argues that each passage has four different meanings related to each of these categories, which he calls bizarre as he argues that the Bible should only be interpreted according to it's literal sense. What is bizarre is that he should believe this.

The Quadriga, in reality, means that all biblical passages have at least the literal intended meaning but some may have one or more spiritual meanings as well. That Sproul does not follow his own recommendation to interpret the Bible solely in the literal sense is highlighted on p 97 where he explicitly states 'I avoid allegorizing of the parables EXCEPT where the New Tstament clearly indicates an allegorical meaning - so he accepts at least part of the Quadriga methodology.

Interestingly (although confusingly) immediately after criticizing the Quadriga he relates a tale of a professor who gave his students a verse of the NT to read and to write down 50 things they learned from the verse. The following day when the work was handed in he asked for a further 50 from the same passage. Presumably they were able to do this without resorting to moral, allegorical or anagogical meanings? It seems quite impossible that they could. He justifies this by saying Luther rejected multiple meanings to bibilical passages but did not restrict them to a 'single sense' whatever that might mean.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 May 1999
Format: Paperback
"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." [Acts 17:11] This book provides you with the tools to have a clear understanding of the treasures of the Bible and guard against the many heresies that are pushing at us.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 59 reviews
77 of 81 people found the following review helpful
An Important Book! 8 Sep 2004
By Tim Challies - Published on
Format: Paperback
One of Satan's greatest triumphs is in convincing Christians to abandon the Bible, or at least keeping them from really mining its depths. He tries to convince us that the Bible is outdated, unimportant or less important than many other things. He tries to convince us that it is difficult to understand and that we should rely on others to interpret it for us.

R.C. Sproul wrote Knowing Scripture early in his career to address these concerns and out of a desire to see Christians dedicate themselves to a systematic study of the Bible. Written in 1977, this is one of Sproul's earliest but most important and highly recommended books.

Sproul begins with an introduction to why we should read the Bible. He dispels myths regarding Scripture being too difficult to understand or too boring to hold our attention. From that foundation he shows how the principle of private interpretation was a pillar of the Reformation and thus remains a pillar of Protestantism. He explains what private interpretation is and what it is not. He shows, for example, that it does not preclude us from verifying our interpretations against those of others. He also stresses the need for objectivity as we read the Scripture. In short, he keeps us from viewing private interpretation as being a method of forcing Scripture to say what we want it to say.

He dedicates a chapter to an introduction to hermeneutics. Do not be scared by this technical word as it simply means "a list of rules and guidelines for interpreting Scripture." Some of the concepts he introduces are:

* The analogy of faith. This says that Scripture interprets Scripture, or that one passage supports and explains another. It also means that one part of Scripture never corrects another part, for Scripture needs to correction.

* Literal Interpretation. This says that Scripture needs to be scrutinized as literature, paying attention to grammar, word choice and genre. Just because the Bible is a special book does not mean we can ignore standard literal interpretation.

* Genre Analysis. This says that Scripture must be analyzed for genre and it is crucial that we distinguish between genres such as history and poetry.

* Grammatico-Historical. This is a method of interpreting Scripture that focuses on, among other things, grammatical constructions and historical context. This is the traditional and most accurate method of hermeneutics.

* Authorship and Dating. It is important to understand the dating of a particular book or passage as well as its authorship.

The bulk of the book is contained in a chapter that lays out ten rules for Biblical interpretation. They are:

1. Do not change the rules of interpretation for the Bible. Read the Bible just like any other book

2. Seek to empathize with the Biblical characters

3. Narratives must be interpreted by the didactic

4. The implicit is to be interpreted by the explicit

5. Determine the meaning of words using lexicography, etymology and context

6. Note the presence of parallelisms

7. Note the difference between proverb and law

8. Observe the difference between the spirit and the letter of the law

9. Be careful with parables

10. Be careful with predictive prophecy

Each of these points receives careful attention. Though some of them may sound shocking (such as "read the Bible just like any other book") Sproul provides solid reasons for the necessity of each.

The author then turns his attention to a discussion of culture and the Bible. Just I am confined to a specific cultural setting, so were the authors of the Bible. We need to be able to discern the difference between principle and custom in regards to the Bible. Sproul provides several guidelines for doing this.

The book closes with a discussion of some resources that may help in studying the Bible. These range from commentaries to dictionaries and lexicons. If there is an area of this book that shows its age, it is in this section. There are so many more resources at our disposal now, especially on the Internet, that this section loses some of its usefulness. A discussion of modern translations and some of the newer commentaries would be helpful. Perhaps a second edition of this book is in order. One thing I found amusing is that the author says he does not agree with study Bibles, yet years later was the editor of the New Geneva Study Bible (later renamed the Reformation Study Bible). I presume his view changed!

This book does a wonderful job of introducing hermeneutics for the lay person and I would recommend it for any Christian. It presents advanced concepts in a way that it easy to read and understand. My only complaint is that it advances many rules but does not dedicate any attention to the "how's" of hermeneutics. Some examples where the author led us through some difficult passages would have been most welcome and would have helped ensure we not only understood the rules but also understood how to use them.
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Valuable study tool 11 Feb 2001
By RigelK - Published on
Format: Paperback
_Knowing Scripture_ by R. C. Sproul is my favorite Bible study aid. I use it as a steady reference. I recommend this text not only to Christians but to anyone studying the Bible as a text. This book is very useful for a broad spectrum of Bible students from the beginning Christian reader to the seasoned theologian to the nonChristian approaching the Bible as a historical, literary work.
While Sproul holds that the Bible is the inspired word of God, this is not a fundamentalist text. Thoughtful analysis and interpretation are taken on with an eye to culture, author intent, literary style, and other factors. This book is a priceless vault of information and tools. Common pitfalls in Bible study are dealt with and explained. It is a short, easy read in a friendly conversational style but has great depths of information to plumb...look at is as a key that opens the door to a new level of intelligent Bible study. I cannot stress how well written and very useful this book is. When you hand someone a new Bible, toss in a copy of _Knowing Scripture_, too. I recommend this book with the greatest intensity.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Introduction to Biblical Literature and Hermeneutics 1 Dec 2005
By Bart Breen - Published on
Format: Paperback
I actually listened to the audio version of this book on CD. RC Sproul is a very easy to listen to speaker and he has a gift of making difficult concepts seem easy.

Contrary to a few reviews here, Sproul is not advocating an elitist approach to Scripture where only the "pro" dare to wrestle with Scriptural interpretation and understanding. Quite the opposite. Sproul is seeking to put the tools into the hands of his listeners.

Over and over he provides general principles and approaches that should help to keep the reader from falling into common errors that have been present and prevalent within the Church for many years.

The one proviso that I picked up on, and it isn't so much a criticism as it is an observation is that Sproul is a reformed theologian and he is not afraid to select some passages for use as an example as to how it is possible to "get something wrong." Some of his choices are bravely chosen from those that are among the more controversial, such as women's role in the church and some on the charismatic gifts. Sproul gives a brave rendering as to why these should be understood as he understands them from the traditional reformed position. In doing so he fails to give all the information available from other positions that makes their positions equally viable. In fairness, that may be beyond the scope of his purpose, but in that event I still think it behooves the speaker to be a little more generous and less dogmatic where there are non-cardinal issues being addressed. Perhaps it is asking too much.

Nevertheless this is an excellent resource to get in good layman's terms the most important Biblical Study tools to navigate the Scripture and avoid many of the pitfalls experienced when common fallacies in logic and approach to a literary and historical document are violated, even by well-meaning Christians who hold the text's inspiration and relevance in highest regard.

A very worthwhile read or listen.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics 23 July 2003
By D.P. - Published on
Format: Paperback
In my opinion, this is one of Sproul's best works. He has written some excellent books, and he also has a great passion for the body of Christ. This book was used as a textbook in my Hermeneutics class at school, because it is an excellent book for Pastors to use to equip the church with the basic principles of Hermeneutics. I like it when Sproul goes into the different translations, and points out the bad KJV translation of 1 John 5:7 (our earliest manuscripts do not corroborate with this translation). Most people in the modern day church do not think Hermeneutics is necessary. They rely on their existential Barthian interpretations. Sproul attacks this prevalent view with this quote, "We don't need Theology, just give us Jesus." Sproul responds, "Who is Jesus?" They give him their answer, and Sproul says, "Thank you for your Theology." I laughed at this, because that is so reminiscent of the Christians of today. Every Pastor should conduct his congregation into the basic principles of Hermeneutics, and this is the book to use.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Short, Gentle, and Very Nice! 27 Oct 2000
By Chang Yuon - Published on
Format: Paperback
Sproul combines theological insights with his very familar humor in order to teach us some basics in deeper reading of the Bible. Since the Bible is a book that gets deeper as one grows taller, most spiritually "tall" teachers seem to write yet another deep book to daunt the study of scripture. On the contrary, R.C. is an excellent teacher, encourager, and writer who first dispels the fear of studying the Bible. Then he immediately points to the importance of studying the Bible, and does an overview of how to interpret and apply scripture in most biblical way possible. His colorful examples are helpful. I am also thankful for his list of further readings in the last chapter (after reading this book, I felt like buying them all!). In almost all of his books I've read, R.C. seems to struggle in trying to be less scholar-like for the sake of the general audience. But only being human =), he cannot hold back his brilliance; and at times R.C. pushes us to think! But he is gentle and very reasonable. This book is short, but very nice. Thus, for leasure or study in group; for scholars and laymen...I highly recommend this book. Both will learn a lot--if not in content, then in sheer style!
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