Studying, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible combines into one volume the popular trilogy by Walter Henrichsen and Gayle Jackson: – A Layman’s Guide to Studying the Bible – A Layman’s Guide to Interpreting the Bible – A Layman’s Guide to Applying the Bible This book will help students as well as ministers, young people and old alike, as they learn to study Scripture more easily and conveniently. The chapters on studying the Bible help the beginning or experienced Bible student mine God’s Word for its riches through verse analysis, chapter analysis, the overview of a book, the study of a topic, and the study of Bible characters (including charts, diagrams, and other helpful illustrations). The unit on interpreting the Bible explains Bible interpretation based on grammar, history, and theology. The section on applying the Bible moves beyond study to life applications, enabling a person to – be motivated to make personal application – move beyond a “to do” list to an internal desire to obey – consider the risks involved in obeying – use specific application principles.
Walter Henrichsen’s and Gayle Jackson’s book zeros in on three vital topics: The study, the interpretation, and the application of God’s Word. The book encourages one to dive deeper into their personal studies of the Scriptures and describes many methods of Bible study. The authors constantly remind the reader that “there is nothing sacred about methodology. Its value lies in its ability to help you become a more proficient student of the Word of God.” The book also recalls the very purpose of Bible study: “To determine the meaning of the writer at the time he wrote it, and apply this truth to your life.” In this way, the authors urge the readers not to focus only on form but to keep the big picture in mind. The readers are given tools for different Bible study methods as well as general principles and rules.
The book brought good questions to mind and delved into many poignant topics. Should everyone be coming to the same conclusions as they read the Bible? How important is the repetition of a specific thought or word? How do believers and non-believers read the Bible, and how much of it does each of them understand? How can people use commentaries well while earnestly reading the Bible on their own? How do people avoid disobeying God and using the “it was cultural” explanation since “‘Culture’ cannot serve as an excuse for not obeying God’s commands?” When people find applications for Scripture, should they measure this application?
This book is best used as an occasional resource and not a read-through. This is for a couple of reasons. The book urges the readers to apply what they learn as they read, suggesting that they take time to work with a specific methodology or to start with certain steps and to return for the more difficult ones once they are ready. Also, as it outlines different ways and rules of studying, interpreting, and applying the Bible, the book consistently repeats itself, often very closely. This makes it a slightly frustrating read when wanting to read the book from start to finish. However, as a resource for a person searching for ways to better understand and follow God’s Word, this book can be a treasure hold.
Studying, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible by Walter Henrichsen and Gayle Jackson deals with its three big themes well. The book goes into great detail and draws on God’s Word in its arguments. The reader will not regret spending time learning about the study, the interpretation, and the application of Scripture.