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Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible

ISBN-10: 0830837825
ISBN-13: 9780830837823
Edition: 2012
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Description: What was clear to the original readers of Scripture is not always clear to us. Because of the cultural distance between the biblical world and our contemporary setting, we often bring modern Western biases to the text. For example:When Western  More...

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Book details

List price: $17.00
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication date: 12/4/2012
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

What was clear to the original readers of Scripture is not always clear to us. Because of the cultural distance between the biblical world and our contemporary setting, we often bring modern Western biases to the text. For example:When Western readers hear Paul exhorting women to "dress modestly," we automatically think in terms of sexual modesty. But most women in that culture would never wear racy clothing. The context suggests that Paul is likely more concerned abouteconomicmodesty--that Christian women not flaunt their wealth through expensive clothes, braided hair and gold jewelry.Some readers might assume that Moses married "below himself" because his wife was a dark-skinned Cushite. Actually, Hebrews were the slave race, not the Cushites, who were highly respected. Aaron and Miriam probably thought Moses was being presumptuous by marrying "above himself."Western individualism leads us to assume that Mary and Joseph traveled alone to Bethlehem. What went without saying was that they were likely accompanied by a large entourage of extended family.Biblical scholars Brandon O'Brien and Randy Richards shed light on the ways that Western readers often misunderstand the cultural dynamics of the Bible. They identify nine key areas where modern Westerners have significantly different assumptions about what might be going on in a text. Drawing on their own crosscultural experience in global mission, O'Brien and Richards show how better self-awareness and understanding of cultural differences in language, time and social mores allow us to see the Bible in fresh and unexpected ways.Getting beyond our own cultural assumptions is increasingly important for being Christians in our interconnected and globalized world. Learn to read Scripture as a member of the global body of Christ.

E. Randolph Richards (M.Div. and Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is dean of the School of Ministry and professor of biblical studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. He has frequently served as an interim or "supply" pastor, and from 1988 to 1996 he was a missionary with the International Mission Board, SBC, stationed in East Indonesia. His scholarly articles have appeared in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Southwestern Journal of Theology, Bulletin for Biblical Research and Biblical Illustrator. He is coauthor of Discovering Paul: An Introduction to His World, Letters and Theology and The Story of Israel: A Biblical Theology. He is the author of Paul and First-Century Letter Writing and The Secretary in the Letters of Paul in the Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament series.

Brandon J. O'Brien (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is Assistant Professor of Christian Theology at Ouachita Baptist University and Director of OBU at New Life Church. O'Brien is a senior editor for Leadership Journal and is coauthor of Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes with Randy Richards.

Introduction: Coming to Terms with Our Cultural Blinders
Above the Surface
Serving Two Masters: Mores
The Bible in Color: Race and Ethnicity
Just Words? Language
Just Below the Surface
Captain of My Soul: Individualism and Collectivism
Have You No Shame? Honor/Shame and Right/Wrong
Sand Through the Hourglass: Time
Deep Below the Surface
First Things First: Rules and Relationships
Getting Right Wrong: Virtue and Vice
It's All About Me: Finding the Center of God's Will
Conclusion: Three Easy Steps for Removing Our Cultural Blinders?
Acknowledgments
Resources for Further Exploration
Notes
Author Index
Scripture Index

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