In 1938, Harry Emerson Fosdick took advantage of half a century of modern biblical scholarship to produce his remarkable book, A Guide to Understanding the Bible. In it he traces the development of six fundamental ideas across the Old and New Testaments: God, man, right and wrong, suffering, fellowship with God, and immortality. The result is an eye opening and factual account of the ways in which these ideas expanded and matured over many generations.
Although intended for a general audience, the book deals with weighty matters and can be a challenging read. And although everyone with even the slightest interest in the Bible would find the book fascinating and worthwhile, many will not have the time or inclination to read it.
So Robert Harris offers in this book a summary of A Guide to Understanding the Bible. It is not intended to replace Fosdick’s book, but to present his main ideas in an easy to understand way. If you’ve ever wanted to gain a clearer understanding of the Bible, Fosdick’s enlightening and thought provoking book, summarized here, will be of great help.
Regardless of your faith, a superficial understanding of the Bible will not serve you well. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to the most influential of all books in human history. A better understanding can only strengthen your faith and make it more realistic, practical, and useful. But you might have to abandon some preconceptions along the way.
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Robert Harris is a writer, inventor, and puzzle constructor. His books include Sudden Forgiveness, 101 Things NOT to Do Before You Die, and the best-selling thriller The Möbius Affair. He is also the creator of the “Jesus Crossed My Path” line of products.