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Book Review: Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes By E Randolph Richards and Brandon J OBrien

Book Review: Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes By E Randolph Richards and Brandon J OBrien

Book Review: Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes By E Randolph Richards and Brandon J OBrien

27 March 2021

Reviewer Tanwin Tanoto says, “this book is not only a comprehensive tool to recognise our cultural blinders, but it provides a few practical steps to remove them when reading scripture.”

Reviewed by Tanwin Tanoto

Some books open our eyes. Some books blow our minds. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible does both for me!

Richards and O’Brien show us how our cultures play a key role in our interpretation (or misinterpretation) of the Bible, as they say, “In whatever place and whatever age people read the Bible, we instinctively draw from our own cultural context to make sense what we are reading.” 

The Bible is a foreign land – especially for us living in western culture. And if you have taught or preached from the Bible, you would know that the biggest challenge is to bridge the gap between what the passage meant for the original hearers and how it applies to us. This is especially difficult due to our cultural blind spots.

This book highlights some of the major cultural assumptions and axioms we have in our western culture, and contrast them with the Ancient Near Eastern culture. For example, by looking at the Bible through our individualistic and western eyes, we might misinterpret the collective and communal aspects in some passages in the Bible.

Being an Asian who grew up in Indonesia and now living in Sydney, I feel this tension all the time. So, I can understand the complexity of reading an ancient scripture from cultures that are foreign to most of us. However, I believe as a preacher we need to do our due diligence and be as faithful as we can to the text. In that regard, this book is not only a comprehensive tool to recognise our cultural blinders, but it provides a few practical steps to remove them when reading scripture. 

Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes is available online and at Word.

TANWIN TANOTO IS A MINISTER AT HURSTVILLE CHURCH OF CHRIST IN NSW.

 

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