Reading the Bible Again For The First Time: A Book Review

October 24, 2022

The Bible is one of the most important books in history. It has been read and studied by people for centuries, and its influence can be seen in many different aspects of life. But the Bible in the 21st century can seem a little hard to take seriously. Taking the bible seriously is Marcus Borg's goal, and in this book, he avoids scholarly jargon and makes it accessible to everyone.

The primary argument of Marcus Borg is that there are two ways to read the bible: as a "literal and factual" document, or as a "historical metaphorical" document. The latter method has been used by mainstream Christians for decades. And this is the method that he focuses on.

An Introduction to Marcus Borg

Marcus Borg was an American New Testament Scholar , theologian, and author who wrote many books on Christianity. He was a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar and also a leading figure in the Progressive Christianity movement. He was a professor at several colleges, including Oregon State University, Concordia College, and Carleton College. His career spanned from 1966 until 2007.

Borg provided scholarly insight and biblical criticism across his decades of career and public service. He used familiar stories from the Old and New Testaments to help in clarifying difficult theological issues for the modern day Christian faith. The book

What I thought about "Reading the Bible Again for the First Time"

I found this book to be very helpful in my own journey of reading the Bible again. Borg's approach is non-dogmatic and he provides a helpful framework for approaching the Bible with fresh eyes. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a way to engage with the Bible in a new way.

If you've spent your life reading the bible religiously, it may take you a pretty big leap of faith to begin reading the bible in a scientific and critical way. It's hard to understand familiar stories read in a different way. But here, the Bible's stories are recast in the the frame of a personal spiritual journey, with many excellent metaphorical readings of biblical stories along the way.

While he is an expert on the historical Jesus Christ, Borg also writes passionately about his own faith journey, from Lutheran to Presbyterian and then Episcopalian traditions. He landed in the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral for his final years. His authentic faith is reflected in "Reading the Bible Again for the First Time" from the very first page.

The Structure of "Reading The Bible Again For The First Time"

This book breaks down into three main parts. In the first part, acclaimed author Marcus Borg brings us to a shared understanding of how to read the bible. Borg discusses the conservative understanding of biblical accounts: as mostly literal, unless explicitly metaphorical. On the other side of the spectrum are those of us who take the bible seriously, but not literally.

Borg writes passionately about the value of the latter side of the spectrum as a tool to recruit and retain Christian laity. He believed that looking at the Bible with an old lens prevents readers from harvesting the deepest spiritual meaning from its pages. Incorporating both history and reading scripture creatively, this reading style will enable readers to engage in effective, meaningful Bible reading.

In the second part of the book, Borg dives into the historical narrative and the Bible's origin story: the Old Testament. If you've ever tried to power through the Pentateuch, you know: it's the opposite of extremely accessible. But Borg works even a miracle on the Old Testament, bringing ancient communities to life with engaging historical details.

In the third and final part, Borg takes us on the deepest spiritual journey through the New Testament. Among the most esteemed Jesus scholars, Borg incorporates his deep and broad knowledge of Bible reading and teaching to bring the New Testament to life. A scientific and critical way of reading doesn't mean that your deepest spiritual needs cannot be met.

Final thoughts

This book has all the essential elements of a hard but life-changing read. Reading the Bible Again for the First Time is available to borrow at the Internet Archive. If you're looking for a way to jumpstart your understanding of scripture, I highly recommend giving it a try.

What are your thoughts on reading the Bible? Have you read it before? How did you find it? Let us know in the comments below!

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