For the one without formal training in biblical studies, resolving questions and difficulties that arise while reading Scripture can be a discouraging task. Without a background in the culture, language, and history of the Bible, the lay student is often left to grasp for answers, or trust what someone else has said or written as the correct interpretation of a specific passage.
Today’s Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties offers a refreshing solution. While offering suggested answers to specific difficulties, it goes a step beyond the usual approach and teaches readers reliable interpretative tools to use in their own reading of the Bible. Author David O’Brien encourages readers to a more in-depth, personal Bible study and shows them how to do it. In a very readable style, the book divides Bible difficulties into categories to help Bible students understand problems with:
“People who preach, teach, or write should never assume that listeners understand their carefully reasoned and eloquently stated positions. It’s better to repeat yourself once too often than to leave people as confused as that class of freshmen obviously was.” (Page 12)
“Words like bop, tinkle, crash, rumble, and roar all sound like the action they express. English teachers call this phenomena, onomatopoeia.” (Page 123)
“Historical process is God’s chosen method of communication.” (Page 39)
“George MacDonald wrote some time ago, ‘true and good and reverent doubts, springing from devoutness and aspiration—are far more precious in the sight of God than many so-called beliefs.’” (Page 18)
“The Holy Spirit won’t illuminate verses or passages that we’ve never read.” (Page 420)
David E. O’Brien received his M. Div. from Bethel Theological Seminary, his M. A. in Old Testament from Wheaton Graduate School, and a B. A. in history. Besides having several years of experience in teaching Bible college classes on the Old Testament and Romans, he has taught extensively in seminar workshops on the subject of hermeneutics and has spent over a dozen years in pastoral work. O’Brien was a Consulting Editor of Today’s Bible Dictionary and Today’s Handbook of Bible Times and Customs and wrote the essay, “The Time Between Testaments,” in the NIV Study Bible. David O’Brien has a wife and four children.
Lynden O. Williams