Friday, October 20, 2006

Where to Go to Find More Bible Stories (and help with understanding them)

After reading the first five installments of my series on my favorite Bible stories, a reader from India asks to be guided to more Bible stories.

The first thing I would suggest is that you find an edition of the Bible that's easily read. The Message by Eugene Peterson is a well-written rendering of the Bible in modern language. It's more of a paraphrase than a translation. But because Peterson is both an Old Testament scholar and an accomplished poet, it's vivid and accessible. I would get an edition of The Message that includes a notation of the Biblical chapters and verses in the margins.

A book that tells the entire Bible in the form of a story is The Book of God, written by novelist Walter Wangerin. He really brings the stories alive.

Maybe the best books I could recommend are several by the novelist Frederick Buechner in which he simply tells some of the Biblical stories. Buechner has an eye for telling details that I myself might otherwise overlook. Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who's Who might be a good place to start. (His profile of Jesus there brings tears to my eyes every time I read it!)

A Beginner's Guide to Reading the Bible might be a good little volume to have close at hand as you start to delve into the Bible. It explains how the Bible came into being, the various sorts of literature it includes, and some of the history behind it.

But there's no substitute for reading the stories of the Bible from the Bible itself. The best books of the Bible for stories are probably Genesis and Luke. It's in the latter book that Jesus tells His most famous fictional stories, called parables, including the parable of the prodigal son and the parable of the good Samaritan.

I hope this helps folks.

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