Products>Out of Context: How to Avoid Misinterpreting the Bible

Out of Context: How to Avoid Misinterpreting the Bible

Format: Digital
, 2012
ISBN: 9780801072284


Are you guilty of interpretive malpractice? Here’s how to prevent it from happening again. Although 92 percent of American households own at least one Bible, only 59 percent read it occasionally—and an even smaller percentage actually study it. It is no wonder that even those of us who value the Scriptures often don’t understand them!

In Out of Context, veteran Bible professor Richard L. Schultz uses contemporary examples of “interpretive malpractice” to explain how biblical interpretation can go wrong—and how to get it right. He introduces you to the important concepts of context, word meaning, and genre, and the differences between the world of the Bible and our own. With the expert help in interpreting and applying Scripture shared in this book, you’ll find your Bible reading more rewarding than ever before.

Whether you’re a student, a pastor, or a layperson, this volume provokes you to read the Bible honestly—to let it surprise, challenge, and correct you as you apply the many steps of interpretation. By using the tools included in this volume, you’ll approach Bible study with more depth and understanding. Integrate the practical methods found in this collection with your preferred Bible, the Passage Guide, and the other Bible-study tools in Logos Bible Software—and then dive into Bible study with a vast knowledge base right before your eyes.

Key Features

  • Emphasizes the importance of understanding the Bible in its original contexts
  • Illustrates various ways Scripture has been misinterpreted
  • Shows how to apply Scripture’s wisdom in the modern context


  • Introduction: Why I Am Swatting the Beehive When I Know It Will Upset the Bee
  • The “Jabez Prayer” Phenomenon: Flunking Biblical Interpretation 101
  • The Roots of Faulty Interpretation: Examining Our Convictions about Scripture
  • The Consequences of Ignoring Context
  • Divine Truth Expressed in Human Words: Challenges with Language
  • Understanding the Literary Menu: How Genre Influences Meaning
  • Caution—Prooftexting in Progress: Avoiding Pitfalls in Application
  • What’s So Bad about “Textjacking”?

Praise for the Print Edition

Richard Schultz has produced a most compelling and winsome discussion of some of the wrong turns that are often made in interpreting Scripture. While he rightfully expresses his concern for those who properly desire to apply these texts to our contemporary scene, he also tries to guide lay readers and professionals in a better way to accomplish the same task when their attempts go wrong. This book is a delightful read that will bring both tears and outbursts of laughter as examples of poor interpretations are shared. Here is a book that is a must for all readers of the Bible, which I recommend for each person’s enlightenment and enjoyment.

Walter C. Kaiser Jr., president emeritus, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Having a correct view of God and living a faithful life are dependent on hearing God’s voice accurately, and Schultz helps sort out the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world of interpretation and application. He exposes the inherent danger of misusing Scripture and leads us into a more careful approach to interpreting and applying Scripture in a way that is faithful to the text’s original meaning and context. This book will help wean us off of the false conclusions of sloppy interpretation and will help us sort out the confusion that is so prevalent in so many Christian circles. It is a book that will inspire and teach at the same time, leading us to hunger and thirst for God’s Word all the more.

Eric J. Bargerhuff, author, The Most Misused Verses in the Bible

The authority of the Bible is under attack from many quarters today. Sadly, much of this is the result of self-inflicted wounds—Christians misreading and misapplying God’s Word. Richard Schultz’s Out of Context is a clarion call for greater attention to the meaning of the text in its original context. His dozens of examples from popular Christian literature provide not only warnings against the errors of the past but also positive principles for gleaning God’s truth from Scripture today. This is must reading for Christian teachers, preachers, and writers

Mark L. Strauss, professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary

Out of Context is a readable, understandable, and persuasive plea for Christians in all walks of life to raise the standard of biblical interpretation by demanding it in the books we read and providing it in the books we write and publish.

—Julie Ackerman Link, editor, author, Bible study leader

Product Details

About Richard L. Schultz

Richard L. Schultz (PhD, Yale University) is the Blanchard Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He is a regular contributor to scholarly journals and theological and biblical dictionary projects. He lives in Wheaton, Illinois.