Struggling with Scripture

By Walter Brueggemann, William C. Placher and Brian K. Blount
WJKP. 2002. 80 pp. Pb. $9.95. ISBN 0-664-22485-7

— review by David W. A. Taylor, Cary, N.C.

This little book of 80 pages is an immensely useful resource for interpreting the Scripture within the cultural context of our time. These three biblical scholars of unimpeachable reputation take the Bible with utmost seriousness, yet not as fundamentalists. They insist that we must struggle with Scripture if its word is to be “a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.”

Much that one finds in Scripture is a reflection of the cultural assumptions of that time, and cannot rightly be read as God’s law for our time.

For example: the institution of slavery, the subordination of women, the orders of creation and much more. In each instance, distinctions must be made between the cultural assumptions of the biblical writers and the word that is of God. We too have our own cultural assumptions about what is good and right; and about these there can be much disagreement.

As we struggle with Scripture to interpret it aright, the wisdom of German pietism can be useful for our time:

In essentials unity;
in non-essentials liberty;
in all things charity.

This is a valuable resource to be used in congregations large or small today.