Engaging the Word

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The companion to Volume 2 of The New Church’s Teaching Series, Roger Ferlo’s Opening the Bible, Michael Johnston’s Engaging the Word teaches us how to use the critical and practical tools for reading the Bible described by Ferlo to interpret the Hebrew and Christian scriptures: what did they mean for their original audience and what do they mean for us today? Johnston introduces us to the key terms and concepts of biblical criticism that show us how to read Scripture on three key levels: the literal, historical, and prophetic. He explores with us passages that touch on questions of ethics, the nature of God, the teachings of Jesus, and eschatology, and offers vivid insights into the physical setting and geography of the Bible. Above all, the purpose of Engaging the Word is to help us become people who can read and interpret the Bible intelligently and perceptively. It offers the fundamental questions that we must ask of any biblical text in order to enter fully into its meaning for us and for our worshiping community: Who wrote the passage? When was it written? What does it actually say? For what community or group was it written? What was its message for that community? What is its message for us today?
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Editorial Reviews

The Midwest Book Review
Engaging the Word teaches the reader how to use critical and practical tools to explore the Hebrew and Christian scriptures intelligently and perceptively
The Living Church
Johnston . . . teaches the reader to read the Bible in three senses: the literal, the historical, and the prophetic or spiritual sense. This helps cut through the idea that reading with untutored eyes will automatically help readers find the word of God. The greatest strength in the book is Johnston’s discussion of the God of the Bible and the Jesus of the Bible. He gives the reader permission to see that there are many differing pictures, images, icons of God depicted in the Bible.
Theological Book Review
This volume is rather more speculative than its predecessors [in the New Church’s Teaching Series], offering a strategy for reading the Bible (using a literal–historical –prophetic matrix), and a methodology for group study. Unafraid of controversy, Johnston bases his reading of Mark on a relentlessly political hermeneutic connected with the Roman Occupation and the fall of Jerusalem. However, he insists that his strategy remains viable whatever hermeneutic is adopted or preferred, and I think the book as a whole supports his contention.
Anglican Theological Review
The book will be of great use, I believe, for the many of us who have been marginalized in various ways by the experience of the church: women, gay men, lesbians, people of color or of minority ethnicity. It should find eager audiences in urban and university parishes.
Sewanee Theological Review
Engaging the Word builds on the foundation laid in the earlier Opening the Bible, and it is as practical and profound as that companion volume. Michael Johnston demonstrates how the Bible is to be engaged responsibly by contemporary readers. He proposes both a theological understanding of the Bible and a hermeneutic that honors the questions and the cultural insights of our time.
A group of adults who want to encourage an open exploration of the Bible, contemporary challenges to its authority, and other related issues can find solid content based on a good grasp of the work of recent biblical scholars in Michael Johnston’s easily read text. The book focuses on what it means to read the Bible as part of a community of faith, rather than simply for personal spiritual enlightenment.
Midwest Book Review
Engaging the Word teaches the reader how to use critical and practical tools to explore the Hebrew and Christian scriptures intelligently and perceptively
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561011469
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Series: New Church's Teaching Series , #3
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 196
  • Sales rank: 1,045,270
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Johnston
Michael Johnston is rector of Grace Church in Oak Park, Illinois, and has taught Bible study in a number of parish groups. He has also taught homiletics at Seabury-Weston Theological Seminary and in the Diocesan School for Deacons, and has studied and traveled extensively in the Holy Land.
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Table of Contents

Part 1 An Icon of the Word Chapter 2 Telling the Story Chapter 3 Passing on the Story Chapter 4 Making the Story Our Own Chapter 5 Breaking Open the Word Chapter 6 Forming Community Character Chapter 7 Who is the God of the Bible? Chapter 8 Who is the Jesus of the Bible? Chapter 9 The Word as Sacrament Part 10 Finding Jesus Part 11 Resources Part 12 Questions for Group Study
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