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Rev. Arthur E. WalmsleyThe 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.