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Spring 1995 · Vol. 24 No. 1 · pp. 96–97 

Recommended Reading

On Bible Interpretation

Elmer A. Martens

The outpouring of books on this subject by evangelicals in the 1990s is a natural follow-up on the debate about the nature of Scripture in the 1980s. The focus here is on recent evangelical books.

Fee, Gordon D. and Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982, 225 pp.

An elementary, but popular and helpful guide. Outlines help in interpreting different literary genres (e.g., narrative, parable, law, wisdom).

Tate, Randolph W. Biblical Interpretation: An Integrated Approach. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991. 222 pp.

Abreast of current discussions; advocates combining an author-centered reading with the literary and reader-response approaches. College-entry level. [See review in this issue]

Swartley, Willard M. Slavery, Sabbath, War and Women. Scottdale: Herald Press, 1983, 366 pages.

Using case studies on four controversial topics, Mennonite author Swartley shows operative interpretive methods. Suggestive proposals (e.g., listen from within the text, learn from behind the text, live in front of the text).

Kaiser, Walter C., Jr., and Moises Silva. An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics, The Search for Meaning. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994. 298 pp.

A theologically conservative, well-informed, mid-college-level text. Largely given to guidelines for interpreting different literary genres. Explores meanings devotionally, contextually, and theologically. One chapter on Calvinistic hermeneutics. {97}

Klein, William W., Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard, Jr. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, 1993. 518 pp.

Readable, richly illustrated with examples. Not innovative (follows Hirsch) but introduces and critiques options. Perhaps the best seminary entry-level text. Written by professors from the Denver Seminary. [See review in this issue.]

Osborne, Grant R. The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1991, 499 pp.

For the advanced. Holds to Hirsch’s distinction of meaning and significance. Extensive section on various genres. Addresses moves from interpretation to theology (biblical and systematic) and to homiletics. An important appendix discusses “meaning.” [See review in this issue.]

Thistleton, Anthony C. New Horizons in Hermeneutics. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992, 703 pp.

A follow-up on his The Two Horizons (Eerdmans, 1980). Majors on theory (e.g., Gadamer, Ricoeur, Habermas), with attention also to semiotics (Barthes and Derrida). Strong interaction with theorists, and attention to the implications of these theorists. Clearly an advanced textbook.

Dockery, D. S., K. A. Mathews, and R. B. Sloan, eds. Foundations for Biblical Interpretation, Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1994. 614 pp.

Twenty-seven evangelical authors do updates (separate articles for OT and NT) on the “criticisms,” e.g., textual (Bruce Waltke), historical (Craig Blomberg), and biblical theology (Walter Kaiser, Bruce Corley). A helpful resource and handbook.

Yoder, Perry. From Word to Life. Scottdale: Herald Press, 1982.

Uses four pericopes (from both Testaments) to demonstrate the various kinds of analyses possible (form, historical tradition, redaction). Excels in word studies.

Dr. Elmer A. Martens is Professor of Old Testament at the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, Fresno, California.

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