Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, authors of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, have written an easy to read book for those who want to learn more about what the Bible has to offer. The authors present distinct principles for interpreting different genres found in the Bible. The book has sold over a half a million copies and is one of the most popular books regarding biblical interpretation.
Fee is a seminary professor of New Testament studies at Regent College. He has authored several New Testament commentaries and is the general editor of the New International Commentary series. Fee has also contributed significantly to the field of hermeneutics and NT textual criticism. The author is a well known teacher and conference speaker who has a burden to see the renewal of the church.
Stuart is a seminary professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary where he teaches Old Testament studies. He also has expertise in biblical languages, exegesis, and interpretation. He serves as the senior pastor of Linebrook Church in Ipswich, Massachusetts. Stuart has authored commentaries and articles in journals and magazines.
The authors acknowledge that many books have been written on this topic. Their goal is to be unique by focusing on different types of literature (genres) so their readers will understand how to properly interpret them in the context they were written. This review will examine the principles the authors use to interpret the Bible. The review will summarize the book, followed by a critique, and a conclusion.
From the very beginning of the book, Fee and Stuart seek to explain the importance of proper biblical interpretation. The authors provide hermeneutical approaches for the study of the different types of genres found in the Bible. The introductory chapter establishes the “Need to Interpret” so the readers can get the “plain meaning of the text” (18). The authors advise a three step process when interpreting Scripture; first, learning to do exegesis; second, proper hermeneutics; and third, application. The authors use this model when instructing the readers in the subsequent chapters. In the first chapter, Fee and Stuart state their goal:
to heighten the reader’s sensitivity to specific problems inherent in each genre, to help the reader know why different options exist and how to make commonsense judgments, and especially to enable the reader to discern between good and not-so-good interpretations—and to know what makes them one or the other (18).
The authors accomplish their goal as they give their advice on how to properly read the Bible through exegesis, hermeneutics, and applying the text.
In the second chapter, Fee and Stuart address the topic of translation. They point out the problem of only using one translation. “The trouble . . . is that you are thereby committed to the exegetical choices of that translation as the Word of God” (33). The solution, Fee and Stuart propose, is to use more than one...