So the key take away for me in this book can be easily summarized by saying that it is imperative for Christians to read and study the Bible in context on their own and not just take what someone is saying as being the truth. I have seen many times where you hear someone speak on a topic and they sound authoritative on the subject, but in reality they may be just passing down something they have heard once before without the due diligence of checking into it themselves.
Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions is written very well and provides an interesting look into some common misconceptions that people have about the Scriptures. I would say that a majority of these misconceptions I have heard before – only a handful that I have not heard of previously.
The author does a nice job with each of the 40 topics by first explaining the legend in a way to present it as if he actually believes the legend. Giving the reader an interpretation in a presentation that they may have heard it in before. Then the author provides his interpretation in an attempt to prove the invalidity of the legend. Finally, he provides an application of what he feels is the correct interpretation that the reader can apply to their daily lives.
He categorizes these legends into one of two basic categories. First, we have some legends that can be traced as to the history of the legend, but not having details as to why the incorrect legend was started. Kind of a non-provable legend if you will. The second category of legends is one where it has some partial truth to it, but it does not tell the entire story. In my opinion, one of the more common types of these legends would be when someone takes Scripture out of context to force some meaning into a Scripture that doesn’t belong.
This book is a very interesting read and very well written. Please keep in mind that the author very strongly does not want people to use this information “as a sledgehammer upon hearing someone preach one of these legends” as he states in the Prologue of the book. Rather, he provides guidance in his Epilogue on how we should be gracious and non-judgmental toward people if we hear them speaking of the urban legends as though they were truth.
The goal of this book is to provide help to the reader to avoid falling into the trap of some of these legends, but more importantly the author’s desire is motivate his readers to pay more attention to the context when reading or studying the Bible. I feel that the author did a very good job of doing just that.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.