Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways the Cults Misread the Bible, By James W. Sire

Scripture Twisting

20 Ways the Cults Misread the Bible

by James W. Sire

Scripture Twisting
  • Length: 180 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: October 01, 1980
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 0611
  • ISBN: 9780877846116

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How often have you encountered some bizarre doctrine only to be stunned to hear a Bible verse quoted to support it? With new religious cults springing up almost daily and old ones growing rapidly, this is more and more common. How are they seemingly able to twist Scripture to mean something orthodox Christians have never believed it to mean in two thousand years?

James Sire, author of The Universe Next Door and How to Read Slowly, has isolated twenty separate kinds of reading errors which are characteristically made by cultists as they interpret the Bible. He covers the full range from simple misquotation to complex argumentation which links one slightly eccentric interpretation to another, mixes in a few orthodox readings and ends with a conclusion totally foreign to the biblical world view. Sire also handles twisted translation, overspecification, virtue by association, ignoring the context and other flawed interpretations. A book to help us all become better readers of the Scriptures.

"In this relatively short book, Sire handily addresses the most common issues encountered when interpreting the Bible. While he specifically refers to examples relevant to cults and new religions, the application of Sire's insights extend far beyond those areas. Scripture Twisting remains a great book nearly 30 years after publication. If you're looking for an introduction to hermeneutics that doesn't read like a textbook, I highly recommend Sire's fine book."

Robert Velarde,, December 12, 2008


1. The Methodology of Misreading: An Introduction
2. World-View Confusion: A Preliminary View
3. The Text of Scripture
4. Scripture as Rhetoric
5. Scripture as Literature
6. Scripture as Evidence
7. Reasoning from Scripture
8. The Authority of the Bible
9. World-View Confusion: The Heart of the Matter
10. The Discipleship of the Word

Appendix I: A Brief Definition of Twenty Reading Errors
Appendix II: John 1:1 and the New World Translation


General Index

Bible Index

James W. Sire

James W. Sire (1933–2018) was a widely-respected apologist, author, and lecturer who served for more than thirty years as senior editor at InterVarsity Press. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the seminal apologetics title The Universe Next Door, which was first published in 1976 and has sold over 350,000 copies in five editions and has been translated into eighteen foreign languages. Sire's teaching and books often covered the concepts of worldview and Christian apologetics. His many books include The Universe Next Door, Apologetics Beyond Reason, Beginning with God, Scripture Twisting, Discipleship of the Mind, Chris Chrisman Goes to College, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All?, Habits of the Mind, Naming the Elephant, Learning to Pray Through the Psalms, Why Good Arguments Often Fail, and A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics.