Here are some excellent theology* books that will be released this month:
* broadly interpreted, including ethics, church history, biblical studies, and other areas that intersect with theology
How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How An Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers—and Why That’s Great News
Controversial evangelical Bible scholar, popular blogger and podcast host of The Bible for Normal People, and author of The Bible Tells Me So and The Sin of Certainty explains that the Bible is not an instruction manual or rule book but a powerful learning tool that nurtures our spiritual growth by refusing to provide us with easy answers but instead forces us to acquire wisdom.
For many Christians, the Bible is a how-to manual filled with literal truths about belief that must be strictly followed. But the Bible is not static, Peter Enns argues. It does not hold easy answers to the perplexing questions and issues that confront us in our daily lives. Rather, the Bible is a dynamic instrument for study that not only offers an abundance of insights but provokes us to find our own answers to spiritual questions, cultivating God’s wisdom within us.
“The Bible becomes a confusing mess when we expect it to function as a rulebook for faith. But when we allow the Bible to determine our expectations, we see that Wisdom, not answers, is the Bible’s true subject matter,” writes Enns. This distinction, he points out, is important because when we come to the Bible expecting it to be a textbook intended by God to give us unwavering certainty about our faith, we are actually creating problems for ourselves. The Bible, in other words, really isn’t the problem; having the wrong expectation is what interferes with our reading.
Rather than considering the Bible as an ancient book weighed down with problems, flaws, and contradictions that must be defended by modern readers, Enns offers a vision of the holy scriptures as an inspired and empowering resource to help us better understand how to live as a person of faith today.
How the Bible Actually Works makes clear that there is no one right way to read the Bible. Moving us beyond the damaging idea that “being right” is the most important measure of faith, Enns’s freeing approach to Bible study helps us to instead focus on pursuing enlightenment and building our relationship with God—which is exactly what the Bible was designed to do.
Yung Suk Kim
This book combines critical New Testament scholarship with homiletic concerns. Kim unravels complexities of the most prominent themes in the New Testament such as faith, freedom, and transformation, and brings them into dialogue with modern preaching contexts, ranging from personal identity to social justice to global issues. This book invites readers to reinterpret the most familiar themes that have not been thoroughly explored in scholarship and to make an informed choice about what to preach to whom in what context.
Preaching the New Testament Again challenges all familiar readings of faith, freedom, and transformation in the New Testament. Kim communicates a wealth of great insights and challenges in the New Testament to teachers and preachers. We need to know what is there or what is not there, how we can interpret it, and how we can engage in the world today. The New Testament has not been critically or faithfully explored in terms of faith, freedom, or transformation. Often it is a mere proof text for the preacher’s sermon or the church’s theology. Now is the time to recover what is there and engage it freshly in our world.