Sunday, February 24, 2013

You Can Understand the Bible

You Can Understand the Bible: A Practical and Illuminating Guide to Each Book in the Bible, by Peter Kreeft

I've been going through this book slowly for some time, but it's not a difficult read at all.  Kreeft just gives a summary and discussion--from the Catholic POV plus of course his own thoughts--of each book in the Bible.  He wants to point out the main purpose and message of each book.  It's very interesting, full of good insights and things to think about.  Kreeft is clearly an intelligent guy (he seems to be a respected author in the Catholic world, but I've never read him before).  He uses an informal and often humorous style, and I often quoted pieces to my husband.

I particularly enjoyed the chapters on Job, Jonah, and the Psalms in the Old Testament section.  There is a section on the Deuterocanonical books and the Apocrypha, which was great since I don't know much about those.  And the New Testament section is very good, with descriptions of how each gospel account differs, and why Paul was writing each epistle.  All very clear and helpful.  Here's a bit about Luke:
Luke wrote for Gentile readers, especially Greeks.  He translates all Hebrew and Aramaic terms into Greek and explains Jewish laws, customs, and geography to his readers, assuming they are not familiar with these things.  He also possessed great skill in using the Greek language--so much so, in fact, that this book has been called the most beautifully written book in the world.  Greek was almost certainly his native tongue, which was not the case with Matthew, Mark, and John.
This book is aimed at people who aren't necessarily terribly familiar with the Bible--it's meant to be accessible to beginners.  However I do think that there is plenty to enjoy here for anyone, even if you're already quite conversant with the Bible.  I'm not Catholic myself so I don't always agree with Kreeft's analysis, but I got plenty out of his thoughts and liked the slightly different perspective (different than what I am used to, that is)--and I did enjoy his wit.

No comments: