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Author Topic:   How the Bible Actually Works
Phat
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Posts: 15948
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 1 of 137 (889640)
12-10-2021 10:09 AM


The full title of this book, which I am listening to over and over on audible as my nightcap of late, is 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 by Peter Enns. I just ordered the book in paperback as I want to highlight each chapter and what the author has said that impacts me.
Aside from lowering my blood sugar, this book has been necessary for my wounded and haunted soul this past month.

I can really relate to this author. Unlike our resident curmudgeon, (jar) this man has not only read the Bible thoroughly and taught courses on it but has contributed to encyclopedias as an established (though controversial) authority on the subject. I needed this book and this conversation as I have drifted off of the essence of my faith.

Here is how Amazon describes the book:

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.

I don't expect much conversation around this dusty old place full of self-proclaimed intellectual skeptics and antitheists who imagine evidence-based humanism as a worthy substitute for Biblical wisdom, but I had to start this Book Nook topic in case anyone desires to have a conversation on this book.


"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
***
“…far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise itself is validated by his existence.”- Dr.John Lennox

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”
H. Richard Niebuhr, The Kingdom of God in America

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” — Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You
(1894).


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jar
Member
Posts: 33903
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 2 of 137 (889641)
12-10-2021 10:18 AM


It's sad when there is absolutely no actual content is a book review and just word salad designed to be palatable to the gullible and unthinking.

It might be a book worth being somewhere other than the privy if there was ANY evidence of Evangelical Biblical Christians exhibiting even a hint of wisdom.


My Website: My Website

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PaulK
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Posts: 17167
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.7


(1)
Message 3 of 137 (889642)
12-10-2021 10:21 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
12-10-2021 10:09 AM


I’m going to surprise you and take a positive view. Enns has a much more sensible view of the Bible than the fundamentalists. People like EWolf could benefit greatly from reading his material - even the material hosted on his blog.

Eg Exchanging a Leather Bound God for an Imperfect Bible by Gabriel Gordon.

You see, we have so identified the Bible with God that when the imperfections of the Bible and its sheer humanness become clear, we are at risk of losing our faith in God

Edited by PaulK, : Fixed auto-“correct”


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Phat
Member
Posts: 15948
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 4 of 137 (889643)
12-10-2021 10:39 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by jar
12-10-2021 10:18 AM


Enns is not a Biblical Christian
As far as I am aware, Enns is not a Biblical Christian (if our definition in any way agrees)

Here is a brief biography:
Dr. Peter Enns (PhD, Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University, St. Davids, PA. He has taught courses at several other institutions including Harvard University, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary. Enns is a frequent contributor to journals and encyclopedias, and is the author of several books, including, The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It (HarperOne), The Bible and the Believer: How to Read the Bible Critically and Religiously (with Marc Brettler and Daniel Harrington, Oxford University Press), Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and The Problem of the Old Testament (Baker), and The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't
Say about Human Origins (Baker).

Perhaps we should start by asking what a "Biblical Christian" actually is and is not.

I'll tell you one thing. Enns respects the character (and as you would say "various God characters") behind the book (Bible) and is far more relatable to me than a critic who claims to be a believer yet never addresses the wisdom of the book beyond direct evidence.

I am also inspired by Dr.Enns podcast: The Bible For Normal People

I can't really judge or critique the man based only on source and biography, but I am impressed with the content of his book and enjoyed his podcast. He is most definitely not a racist and that alone encourages me to keep listening. And quite frankly your explanations lack any sort of hope or integrity for a believer. Not to get personal...I still like you as a person, but your content is dismal.

Wikipedia explains the content generated by this author more thoroughly. After reading it, I am surprised that you do not know of him. He is an Episcopalian and was expelled from "Biblical Christian" institutions for being too unorthodox.
Wiki: Peter Enns

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
***
“…far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise itself is validated by his existence.”- Dr.John Lennox

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”
H. Richard Niebuhr, The Kingdom of God in America

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” — Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You
(1894).


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Phat
Member
Posts: 15948
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 5 of 137 (889644)
12-10-2021 10:49 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by PaulK
12-10-2021 10:21 AM


Surprise Surprise
Wow. You *did* surprise me! As soon as I get my paperback copy of this book (should arrive Monday) I will highlight the parts of the book which inspired me as I listen on Audible night after night.

I will have to check out his blog. I just found the podcast and enjoy it. It gives me hope that I can someday be a rational (and loving) Christian and not a judgemental and hateful G.O.P one.

Other noteworthy content from (or about) the author:

‘The Sin of Certainty:’ Peter Enns’ journey from belief to trust

This link is noteworthy because it is a scathing critique of Dr.Enns from AiG: A Critique of Dr. Peter Enns’ Book The Bible Tells Me So(Answers In Genesis)

You may be reading the Bible wrong. Pete Enns says the Bible itself shows a better way.

Edited by Phat, : added jabberwocky


"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
***
“…far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise itself is validated by his existence.”- Dr.John Lennox

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”
H. Richard Niebuhr, The Kingdom of God in America

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” — Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You
(1894).


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 17167
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.7


(1)
Message 6 of 137 (889645)
12-10-2021 11:07 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Phat
12-10-2021 10:49 AM


Re: Surprise Surprise
This entry - by Enns himself - is especially relevant to this forum.

A Missing Angle on the Evangelical Struggle with Evolution

I wouldn’t go quite as far as Enns says here but he’s on the right track.

Some Evangelicals bypass this challenge by seeking to undermine the historical claims of evolution. That is another matter entirely, and to which I say, good luck to you—as long as that challenge is done in an informed and principled manner: informed, meaning one has true professional training in the sciences being discussed and subjected to professional review; principled, meaning one is genuinely seeking after truth rather than pre-committed to defending truth as they need it to be?

I would say that - at least for the purposes of this site informed means an awareness of the evidence and of the theory and a willingness to learn more. Principled would have to be extended to having the honest humility to recognise the huge amount of work and expertise that has gone into creating evolutionary theory and to give that the respect it deserves.

In all my time discussing the issues I don’t think I’ve seen one truly principled creationist in a forum. Most professional creationists aren’t much better (I can think of a couple of exceptions but neither seems to be a big name).

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


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Tangle
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Posts: 8493
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 7 of 137 (889646)
12-10-2021 1:07 PM


What a load of waffle; and what a surprise, the bible isn't literally true! It's full of problems and contradictions! Who knew!

The bible is exactly what you wish to make it CofE Anglicans have been saying that for a hundred years or more.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5972
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 8 of 137 (889647)
12-10-2021 1:21 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by PaulK
12-10-2021 10:21 AM


Enns has a much more sensible view of the Bible than the fundamentalists.

Yes, that has been my impression of Enns. Perhaps Phat will actually learn something from it.

Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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jar
Member
Posts: 33903
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 9 of 137 (889648)
12-10-2021 1:35 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by nwr
12-10-2021 1:21 PM


You would hope so but read that review from Amazon. It is simply word salad with absolutely no content and crafted to sell to the carny crowds.

I there was any indication that Phat could actually read with comprehension he might learn something but the fact that he selected that review seems to indicate otherwise.


My Website: My Website

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AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 6642
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 10 of 137 (889649)
12-10-2021 2:54 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Phat
12-10-2021 10:49 AM


Re: Surprise Surprise
This is just another god apologist’s view of the correct way to read the bible. A bible with no more efficacy than a badly written fantasy.

It was a dark and stormy night and void was upon the deep. Except for Alex in A Clockwork Orange, who so loved the blood and sex scenes, there is not anything of importance or interest in either the bible or this review.

Ho-hum.


Eschew obfuscation. Habituate elucidation.

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PaulK
Member
Posts: 17167
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 11 of 137 (889650)
12-10-2021 2:57 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jar
12-10-2021 1:35 PM


That’s a blurb, not a review.

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Tanypteryx
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Posts: 3296
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 3.2


(1)
Message 12 of 137 (889651)
12-10-2021 3:05 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
12-10-2021 10:09 AM


OH Good Grief! It's a fictional book about imaginary, invisible, magical characters. There is far more physical evidence for Santa Claus, another fictional character. Children start to realize they are fictional characters by the time they are 6 or 7 years old.

Grow up.


What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

The reason that we have the scientific method is because common sense isn't reliable. -- Taq


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Percy
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Posts: 20761
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 13 of 137 (889652)
12-10-2021 3:19 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Phat
12-10-2021 10:09 AM


If the Amazon blurb you quoted is accurate, Enns seems to saying a lot of the same things we've been saying here for years. Not people like Faith and Buzzsaw, but the rest of us.

I'm a little concerned that the blurb might not be accurate because it describes him as evangelical but describes his views as anything but.

But for now taking what it says at face value, perhaps you can take his approach to the Bible and apply it to your stance on fiat currencies and gold and immigrants and the disadvantaged and criminals and all the rest.

So what does Enns say in defense of a God who wipes out all of humanity except a single family?

--Percy


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Percy
Member
Posts: 20761
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 14 of 137 (889653)
12-10-2021 3:32 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Phat
12-10-2021 10:39 AM


Re: Enns is not a Biblical Christian
Phat writes:

Perhaps we should start by asking what a "Biblical Christian" actually is and is not.

There's no need to confuse things. According to Faith a Biblical Christian is a fundamentalist, and everyone was fine with that. Biblical Christians take the Bible as the sole infallible authoritative source for Christian faith and practice (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sola_scriptura) . An evangelical is a type of fundamentalist.

--Percy


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5972
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 15 of 137 (889654)
12-10-2021 4:28 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by jar
12-10-2021 1:35 PM


You would hope so but read that review from Amazon. It is simply word salad with absolutely no content and crafted to sell to the carny crowds.

Yes, it was a useless review.

So I went to the Amazon page and did the "Look inside" thing. I did not see anything that persuaded me to buy the book. On the other hand, I do know that Enns has a more sensible view of Adam & Eve than is common among evangelicals.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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