Saving the Bible from Ourselves: Learning to Read and Live the Bible Well, By Glenn R. Paauw alt

Saving the Bible from Ourselves

Learning to Read and Live the Bible Well

by Glenn R. Paauw

Saving the Bible from Ourselves
  • Length: 230 pages
  • Published: March 21, 2016
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 9969
  • ISBN: 9780830899692

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  • ECPA 2017 Christian Book Award Finalist

Does the Bible need to be saved?

Over the course of the centuries, Bible scholars and publishers have increasingly added "helps"—chapter divisions, verses, subheads, notes—to the Bible in an effort to make it easier to study and understand. In the process, however, these have led to sampling Scripture rather than reading deeply.

According to author Glenn R. Paauw, the text has become divorced from the Bible's literary and historical context, leading to misinterpretation and a "narrow, individualistic and escapist view of salvation." Rather than being a culture-shaping force, the Bible has become a database of quick and easy answers to life's troubling questions. But these deficiencies can be corrected by engaging in what the author calls "big readings."

In these pages Paauw introduces us to seven new (to us) understandings of the Bible as steps on the path to recovering one deeply engaged Bible. With each "new" Bible presented, deficiencies in how we currently interact with the Bible are explored, followed by recommendations for a new practice. The Bible's transformative power is recovered when we remove the chains Christians have applied to it over the centuries.

The Bible does not need to be saved because of any defect in itself, but because we have distorted and misread it. Saving the Bible from Ourselves provides students of the Bible a new paradigm for reading and living the Bible well.

"Because the Bible remains foundational to all Christian life, it is a very good thing to be reminded regularly how it should be put to use. Glenn Paauw's clear, thoughtful and historically well-informed book explains ways of reading, marking and inwardly digesting Scripture that draw their wisdom from Scripture itself. The same wisdom provides welcome encouragement not only to learn from but to love the written Word of God."

Mark Noll, author of In the Beginning Was the Word

"Glenn Paauw has written a serious and compelling book on the Bible. The tone of his writing is puckish enough to keep us turning pages for more. After identifying our lazy readiness to reduce the Bible to convenient 'scripturettes,' Paauw guides us to a way to the adult work of serious engagement with the Bible. When the Bible is taken with such seriousness, it will indeed serve to refresh and revive the missional energy of the church. His argument is propelled by the deep conviction that gospel alternatives are on offer for the bold, alert and passionate who engage the biblical text beyond our narcoticized habits of reading."

Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"As someone who has participated in creating a Bible translation and a study Bible, I found Paauw's arguments thought-provoking and convicting. . . . This is a great book for anyone who is interested in thinking deeply about our engagement with the Bible and how it could be improved."

Elliot Ritzema, Bible Study Magazine, November/December 2016

"Those looking for a refreshing approach to Bible studies can find enriching insights in Saving the Bible from Ourselves."

Taylor Berglund, Charisma, July 2016

"Well-written, thought-provoking, and bold."

David Mundt, CBA Retailers + Resources, May, 16, 2016


Introduction: Embarking
1. Our Complicated Bible
2. Unveiling the Elegant Bible
3. Our Snacking Bible
4. Savoring the Feasting Bible
5. Our "The Gods Must Be Crazy" Bible
6. Finding God in the Historical Bible
7. Our De-dramatized Bible
8. Rediscovering the Storiented Bible
9. Performing the Storiented Bible
10. Our Otherworldly Bible
11. Grounded in the Earthly Bible
12. My Private Bible
13. Sharing Our Synagogue Bible
14. Our Ugly Bible
15. Beholding the Iconic Bible
Conclusion: Return


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Glenn R. Paauw

Glenn R. Paauw serves with the Institute for Bible Reading and is the author of Saving the Bible from Ourselves. Previously, he was vice president of global Bible engagement at Biblica. In his twenty-six years at Biblica Paauw's work ranged from leading Scripture evangelism seminars at churches nationwide to overseeing the nonprofit publishing of the NIV, NVI, and NIrV translations in North America. He led the development of the revolutionary The Books of the Bible format that uncovers the natural literary form of the Scriptures and reintroduces people to the grand narrative of the Bible. A former high school Bible teacher and staff member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Paauw has spoken on the Bible at the Q Conference, Thrive, Radio Bible Class, and at churches and conferences across the country. He has written for Christianity Today, Discipleship Journal, Christian Research Journal, Currents in Science, Technology & Society, The Banner, and Q Ideas. In 1995 Paauw was a founding board member of Food for Thought gatherings, building community in the Colorado Springs area by bringing people from diverse worldviews together in dinner discussion groups. His education was in philosophy and theology at Calvin College and Seminary. He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, Jain, and has two adult sons.