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Opening the Bible

For many people the Bible is strange and unfamiliar territory, impossible to navigate without a certain kind of knowledge and skill. Roger Ferlo leads his readers through the practical difficulties of reading the Bible, offering advice that is true to the way Anglicans have read Scripture from the time of Tyndale and Cranmer. Ferlo explains why the Bible looks the way it does, the theology that lies behind the many different versions and translations, how to deal with the notes and cross-references, and the practical tools needed for studying the Bible. Above all he teaches the importance of approaching the Bible with respect-a book with a long history, complex traditions, and diverse authorship, which must be read on its own terms. Ferlo identifies the ground rules of reading Scripture for Anglicans, noting the particular ways Anglicans have read the Bible for revelation, insight, and ethical directives, and suggesting that Scripture itself contains many clues for unlocking its own mysteries.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Why Read the Bible? Chapter 2 Preparing to Read Chapter 3 Scanning the Page Chapter 4 Comparing Translations Chapter 5 Interpreting the Explanatory Notes Chapter 6 Reading the Bible, Reading Scripture Part 7 Resources Part 8 Questions for Group Study

About the Author

Robert Ferlo is rector of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in New York City, and has led studies of the Bible in a number of parishes and dioceses. Before his ordination as an Episcopal priest, he taught English at Yale University.


The second volume in the New Church's Teaching Series addresses the how, why, and what questions of reading Holy Scripture. Roger Ferlo, a one-time professor of English at Yale and currently the rector of the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in New York City, displays his well-earned reputation as a teacher in this excellent introduction... The book is probably best read in the way the author (and his editor) intends, as part of a six-session introductory study of the Bible, with one of the six chapters read before each meeting. It would thus provide a common-and very common sense-understanding of the history of Scripture... Is the reader of Scripture to be caught in a battle between literalist and analytical ways of reading the Bible? And how does that relate to the way Scripture is used by religious communities in worship? ... Opening the Bible offers a way to read the text sacred to Christians with some understanding of what is on the printed page and how it came to be there. Ferlo has written a good introduction without talking down to his readers or sidestepping current debates. Neglecting or refusing to read critically makes the Bible a closed book. But reading critically just for its own sake renders Scripture mute. What makes this volume live is the spirit which Ferlo brings to his task, a passionate love of conversation, engagement, and friendship to which believers are called by the Spirit of the living God. -- Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley, Deering, NH

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