As I continue on with my summer vacation reading, I’m getting a chance to hit some books I’ve wanted to read for a while, but haven’t had much margin to read. One of these was Scot McKnight’s The Blue Parakeet – Rethinking How You Read the Bible.
One of the great surprises of my seminary experience several years ago was how much I loved reading and studying content related to Hermeneutics as well as the doctrine of Revelation (not the book, but of how God reveals Himself). Going in I thought The Blue Parakeet was another “Intro to Hermeneutics” book with a more narrative focus (which I was quite motivated enough to read).
However, it’s more than that. It’s a book that provides a conceptual as well as practical framework for how to read the Scriptures, particularly those texts that most suffer from poor or bad interpretive approaches.
I think McKnight does an excellent job illustrating the narrative nature of Scripture with its contextual DNA all the way through. I think it’s very helpful as it relates to figuring out an approach or a game plan to read the Bible and navigating the harder to interpret passages. In particular, I really appreciated his emphasis of the role of the covenant community of Israel as the context for much of God’s revelation and unveiling of His story. Our contemporary gospel presentations tend to skip that part, yet that is where so much of the narrative is deepened and grounded.
A quarter of the book if not more is a “case study” if you will of how to interpret hard passages in light of the larger Story of God and in light of the context of specific books in Scripture. He chooses the issue of women in ministry (& ministry leadership). I think it’s an excellent case study to illustrate both the process of anchoring biblical interpretation in the larger Story of God and honoring the contexts that birthed the texts in question. It’s also an excellent case study given how controversial the topic tends to be in many evangelical circles, but the case study illustrates a strong case to re-examine what things we are letting influence our interpretations.
I highly recommend it. It provides great tools for thinking about how to read and interpret Scripture. It provides a solid conceptual framework. And it provides some very practical direction for tackling traditional land mines in Scripture. I know many of my friends would have their counter-arguments ready at points, but I think McKnight’s framework and approach would hold up just fine.