Many people who grew up with a legalistic concept of the Bible have a lot of reprogramming to do and it can be very hard to know how to untie the knots that we become comfortable with. We need a trusted guide to show us a better path ahead because there can be many missteps one can take along that journey that can derail one’s faith.
If that is where you find yourself, I hope you will pick up a copy of Kevin Pendergrass’s book “Blinded By the Bible: Rethinking Our Relationship with Scripture.“
This book has a lot going for it. Blinded by the Bible accomplishes two things at the same time that is often nearly impossible to find – it is both well researched with plenty of citations for further study while also being easy to digest if you don’t have a degree in Bible. The result is a book that is practical and potentially transformational in how and why you turn to the Bible and what results from you reading the Word of God.
Kevin has done an incredibly thorough job of not just looking at how we read the Bible but what presuppositions lie underneath our reading that we may have never taken into consideration. For example, if you have a view that requires you to stitch together half a dozen disconnected scriptures and interpret them with a high degree of precision then what did people do who didn’t have access to all those scripture and were possibly illiterate? Does salvation really hinge on the things we say it hinges on? Is what we are saying actually in the Bible or have we constructed things around what is in the Bible to say things the Bible never says and then judge people based on those conclusions?
He also does a good job laying out how church history is not always what we have been told. That there was far more divergence in the early church and diversity of thought among the early church fathers than is often recognized in the sermons we hear.
In addition to all of that, Kevin takes on a variety of topics that you will find interesting and how people have twisted the scriptures over the years to do some incredibly heinous things in the name of being biblical (think Hitler, the Crusades, etc). How does that even happen? Do we have some of the same tendencies to control and twist the biblical record today even if we aren’t killing scores of people as a result?
Additionally, Blinded by the Bible sets out numerous examples of our own inconsistencies in applying our logic as well as the many, many examples where the Bible itself makes accommodations going against what was said in other verses. We often get a monolithic view of scripture where there is variation or variety and we can get stuck being harsher and less gracious toward people than the Bible itself.
Finally, Kevin explains an alternative approach to reading the Bible – how did Jesus read the Bible and what can we learn from Him about how we can read the Bible? This really gets to the core of what the Bible is all about and why the Bible is important for us today.
As with any book I am certain there will be things you will agree with, things that you will discover that will unlock some things for you and other points Kevin makes that you will disagree with. You will know that he is for God, for the Bible and for you finding your way.
If any of this strikes a chord with you, I hope you will grab a copy and read it for your own growth and development as a disciple of Jesus. I truly believe you will be blessed by reading this book.