Item description for Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible As the First Christians Did by Mark Shea...
Overview This exciting new book will deepen your love for the Bible. It introduces today's Christian to a way of reading Scripture that is as old as the Bible itself. It gives new students of the word the tools to understand divine revelation in a clear, accessible and life-changing way. Fantastic insights that will supercharge your personal or group Bible Study.
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More About Mark Shea
Mark Shea is an award-winning columnist for the National Catholic Register, and a frequent contributor to Our Sunday Visitor and other Catholic publications. He is a popular blogger, and frequent guest on radio and television.
Reviews - What do customers think about Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible As the First Christians Did?
An excellent book & engaging author! Oct 30, 2007
My small group study focused on this book for about the last 8-10 weeks, and we found it very easy to read, yet very thought- and discussion-provoking! Mr. Shea has a wonderful style of prose that we all appreciated very much! Would heartily endorse this title for anyone wanting to learn a bit more about how the bible was originally intended to be read.
Common Senses May 16, 2006
It may seem odd that the Bible would be a point of contention for Christians since it is usually the one thing they agree upon. Yet with the proliferation of churches and movements within churches has come a proliferation of methodologies for Scriptural interpretation. Various Christian and pseudo-Christian groups devise whole theologies at variance with the historic position of the Church by applying moderninst and post-modernist assumptions to the study of the ancient Biblical texts. Usually they end up telling us more about themselves than God.
Into this morass steps Catholic apologist Mark Shea with a "new" way of looking at the Bible. His new way presented in Making Senses Out of Scripture is to go back to the old way and use the interpretive structure of the earliest Christians. Of course, one may see an ulterior motive in this by guessing that Mr. Shea believes this will place the Catholic position in a favorable light. This is likely the case but there is nothing here that other Christians should find objectionable. If indeed they believe the exegesis of the early Christians would result in Catholic belief, it suggests, to borrown from Shakespeare, that they doth protest too much.
Shea's study is divided into two parts. The first outlines the progressive revelation of Jesus Christ throughout salvation history in the covenants God made with His people. The key here is that the revelation becomes clearer through time and comes into its fullness in the New Testament. Those who attempt to interpret the Old Testament in itself without seeing how it points to and is fulfilled in the New Testament will inevitably result in faulty exegesis.
The second part of the book examines the four senses in which scripture can be understood: literal, allegorical, moral, and anagogical. Each of these has its strengths and the application of each must be understood and applied within the parameters of the specific literary genre. We should not read an apocalyptic books like Daniel and Revelation in the same manner as the Gospels.
One of the great strengths of this book is that Shea takes topics normally covered within more academic studies of the New Testament and makes them accessible to a general audience. The layman need not fear either drowning in a sea of theological jargon or being subjected to the latest trendy challenges to their faith that rise and fall in academic circles.
Overall, Making Senses Out of Scripture is one of the best popular works on scriptural exegesis. Shea succeeds in his purpose of making sense by utiliaing the common sense of the earliest Christian writers. As a study tool for private use and as preparation for leading a group in the study of the Holy Scriptures, it is essential reading.
An apology geared towards converts Aug 26, 2002
Shea writes primarily for Protestants considering conversion to Catholicism - this book is no exception. The book itself is divided into two parts: 1 provides a history of salvation as presented through the six covenants (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Christ) 2 provides an introduction to the traditional four senses of Scripture (literal, allelgorical, moral and anagogical). The material is presented in a deliberately casual manner. At times the language is delightful and effective ("Bullwinkle syndrome"), at other times it approximately the padding of oral speech, occasionally it verges on an insult to the readers' intelligence. Put another way, Shea knows the audience that he intends to reach and writes specifically for them.
For this same reason, the book contains comparatively little detail on its subject. Rather, it presents a commonsense argument for the validity of the approach, building the case in small increments few could deny and providing multiple instances to support each incremental argument. This approach works well for individuals with little knowledge of the Bible or with a bias against the traditional form of interpretation.
In short, Shea does an excellent job of reaching a very specific audience. If you fall within that audience, I recommend the book. If you do not, there are more informative texts available.
Excellent book. Aug 17, 2002
Mark Shea gives us a very excellent method for reading the Bible. This book also contains an easy to understand, simplified explaination of the six covenants God has made with man through the ages. It really makes the Old Testament easy to understand and relevant.
Mark Shea Makes a Lot of Sense Jan 23, 2002
Mr. Shea gives an admirable effort to explain how scripture should be read. The answer, in a nutshell, is to read scripture in the same manner as our earliest forefathers read scripture.
Accordingly, a good account of early church fathers is given in the book. Upon reading this book, the reader will have a good understanding of how the Church reads scripture; that scripture can have a literal, moral, allegorical or anagogical sense.
Mr. Shea does not necessarily give us something new. The methodologies he uses, as he has stated, have been used by the Church for centuries. What he does provide, is a simplified analysis of scripture reading. This work is written for the layman, but clergy would benefit from it as well.
The author's wit makes the book a fun read. This is one of those books that you will want to pass on to your friends. How can we love Christ if we don't understand who He is, what He has done for us, and what it means to us? By understanding scripture, you will begin to gain answers to these questions.
Mr. Shea simply makes that job a bit easier. This book is heartily recommended to all who want to grow in their understanding of scripture.