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Bookwi.se's Favorite Books of the Year, Non-Fiction What was clear to the original readers of Scripture is not always clear to us. Because of the cultural distance between the biblical world and our contemporary setting, we often bring modern Western biases to the text. For example: When Western readers hear Paul exhorting women to "dress modestly," we automatically think in terms of sexual modesty. But most women in that culture would never wear racy clothing. The context suggests that Paul is likely more concerned about economic modesty—that Christian women not flaunt their wealth through expensive clothes, braided hair and gold jewelry. Some readers might assume that Moses married "below himself" because his wife was a dark-skinned Cushite. Actually, Hebrews were the slave race, not the Cushites, who were highly respected. Aaron and Miriam probably thought Moses was being presumptuous by marrying "above himself." Western individualism leads us to assume that Mary and Joseph traveled alone to Bethlehem. What went without saying was that they were likely accompanied by a large entourage of extended family. Biblical scholars Brandon O'Brien and Randy Richards shed light on the ways that Western readers often misunderstand the cultural dynamics of the Bible. They identify nine key areas where modern Westerners have significantly different assumptions about what might be going on in a text. Drawing on their own crosscultural experience in global mission, O'Brien and Richards show how better self-awareness and understanding of cultural differences in language, time and social mores allow us to see the Bible in fresh and unexpected ways. Getting beyond our own cultural assumptions is increasingly important for being Christians in our interconnected and globalized world. Learn to read Scripture as a member of the global body of Christ.
This is volume 12 (2014) of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture published by The Interpreter Foundation. It contains articles on a variety of topics including thoughts on reason and experience, two reviews of Wunderli's An Imperfect Book, a postmodernist reading of 1 and 2 Nephi, axes mundi in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon, a review of Hartley's Ngā Mahi: The Things We Need to Do, a note on the name Judah and antisemitism, an LDS/temple reading of the book of Job, a response to Grant Palmer's "Sexual Allegations against Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Polygamy in Nauvoo," the genetic legacy of America's indigenous populations and the Book of Mormon, and the divine feminine in various texts including Mormon scriptures.
Dear fellow reader, Reading is a solitary act. For many of us it is a form of retreat—a welcomed silence and deserved rest from our demanding routines. We have our favorite spot in the house: the unmade bed, the couch long enough to doze on, or maybe the off-limits living room. Wherever it is, when we are there with book in hand and maybe our favorite cup of tea (my favorite is anything peach) all who encounter us know to "shush." It's reading time. But when you read a really good book, aren't you just dying to talk about it? Halfway through or maybe even in the introduction, who comes to mind? There's always someone we can't wait to share our newfound knowledge with, or tell of our disbelief of an author's opinion. We can agree or disagree with the author, and he or she is none the wiser. But our dear fellow reader is always eager to hear our perspective. Or at least we hope so. In reading groups we don't have to hope someone wants to hear our opinions—it's expected! And even better, the idea or concept that we missed in our reading is often what our fellow readers will discover and share with us. Our "aha" moments are multiplied in conversation. Even in disagreement—maybe especially when we disagree—there is opportunity to learn from one another as we seek to understand different points of view. In the end, our shared conversation becomes another welcomed respite as we glean wisdom and receive understanding from one another. My hope is that the diverse assortment of titles in this first volume of Read Up will provide you and your group with books that lead to both stimulating reading and meaningful conversation. Whether you're looking to read contemporary issues, history, fiction, memoirs or even humor, Read Up has you covered, with descriptions, discussion questions, author conversations or excerpts for more than 30 thoughtful books. Bring Read Up to your next book club and get the conversation started. Read up! Lorraine Caulton Editor, Read Up P.S. Visit ivpress.com/readup to view our new Reading Group page.
In April 2015, America's last pulpit prince died. When Gardner C. Taylor (1918-2015), former senior pastor of Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn, departed this life at the age of ninety-six, the United States lost one of the greatest preachers of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, not enough preachers today know his name or why his preaching can enrich and bless the church today. Learning from a Legend: What Gardner C. Taylor Can Teach Us about Preaching provides Christian preachers with much-needed lessons, wisdom, and insights from Dr. Taylor, the dean of American preaching. It highlights six lessons that Dr. Taylor can teach preachers in the twenty-first century about pain, redemption, eloquence, apprenticeship, context, and holiness. Not only did Dr. Taylor teach and preach these lessons, he lived them. Those wanting to learn more about Dr. Taylor's preaching while also sharpening their own preaching ought to read this book.
The apostle Paul was kind of a jerk. He was arrogant and stubborn. He called his opponents derogatory, racist names. He legitimized slavery and silenced women. He was a moralistic, homophobic killjoy who imposed his narrow religious views on others. Or was he? Randolph Richards and Brandon O'Brien explore the complicated persona and teachings of the apostle Paul. Unpacking his personal history and cultural context, they show how Paul both offended Roman perspectives and scandalized Jewish sensibilities. His vision of Christian faith was deeply disturbing to those in his day and remains so in ours. Paul behaved badly, but not just in the ways we might think. Take another look at Paul and see why this "worst of sinners" dares to say, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."
Many young Bible scholars are passionate for the Scriptures. But is passion enough?A Little Book for New Bible Scholars

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