I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I’ve read other authors try to encourage a shift in thinking. The theme of some scholars seems to be that it’s impossible to gather all the information from a story simply by reading the Bible. Instead one needs to consider history and then surmise an implied meaning.
Thankfully, The Most Misused Stories In The Bible is not that type of book. Eric J. Bargerhuff does a bit of the opposite. Bargerhuff takes the reader straight into scripture. He focuses on what the words say without extrapolation. By taking the time to read the story as is, without emotion, one can begin to consider what the story is really focusing on.
Further, Bargerhuff teaches an important technique through these chapters. Sometimes to completely understand something and requires a conclusion be drawn it becomes important to compare stories in scripture against each other. This is not done for the sake of highlighting contradictions as one might be used to. It’s done to remind the reader that God has multiple layers to his character. We won’t always understand the why in a situation. Drawing conclusions can be dangerous as it can box God in.
Many of the stories highlighted are ones that have variations told from childhood Sunday School through old age sermons. Jonah, David, Jesus, Cain, and Able have stories highlighted and explored to name a few. I didn’t find his story conclusions to be surprising, but I believe that is because I’ve sat under excellent teaching and preaching. If you have found yourself confused by a pastor’s conclusion versus one that seems to be different than what you have read in books or come to understand yourself, then you might find more unique explanations.
Regardless, I found the author’s teaching to be easy to understand, insightful, and humorous when appropriate.