The Bible in the Churches: How Various Christians Interpret the Scriptures

The Bible in the Churches: How Various Christians Interpret the Scriptures

The Bible in the Churches: How Various Christians Interpret the Scriptures

The Bible in the Churches: How Various Christians Interpret the Scriptures


How is the Bible read in the churches today? Was the Bible always studied as it is now? Is modern biblical scholarship a source of unity or division among the churches? This collaborative venture explores such questions in the hope of clarifying the ecumenical potential of biblical study today and in history. The Bible in The Churches explains how the Bible is interpreted in the Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Evangelical, and Reformed churches, respectively. As a way of focusing the similarities and differences, each exegete presents an exposition of Ephesians 2:1-10. In a conclusion, George H. Tavard, A. A., gives a masterful overview of scriptural study in the history of the church and describes the ecumenical task that lies ahead


Everything stated in the prefaces to the first and second edition continues to pertain in the third edition. The third edition is revised and expanded. A new chapter has been added for the Reformed tradition by Marion L. Soards. An index has been prepared and added by Joan Skocir.

A note to teachers using this volume for a text: page numbers have changed. In the (initial) History Chapter, some headings have been changed and some stylistic changes have been made, but the substance and material covered are the same. Daniel Harrington (Roman Catholic) has added some paragraphs at the end of his treatment of Eph. 2:1-10, and some bibliographic items. The Orthodox chapter (Michael Prokurat) is considerably expanded; a fuller treatment in the text and notes has resulted. The following chapters remain the same: Lutheran (Joseph Burgess), Evangelical (Grant Osborne), and Ecumenical (George Tavard).

The second edition of The Bible in the Churches, as does this edition, contains chapters that are different in focus. Since the beginning of our undertaking as an institute in 1982, we have been aware of the different shape these chapters have taken. In the second and third edition, I think it is fair to say that Harrington, Osborne, and Soards are more historical and descriptive in their approaches (how the Bible is understood and used in their traditions), while Burgess and Prokurat are more apologetic and assertive (why the Bible should be understood as it is in their traditions). I have felt all along that these differences were a plus, in that they reflect the churchscholar at work on the sacred text. Each chapter continues to be confessional.

Kenneth Hagen October, 1997

For the record: Marquette University Press in August 1996 ran a limited, slightly revised reprint of the second edition of The Bible in the Churches. Revisions were made only in the Prokurat chapter. And the list of contributors was updated to give his new position. The intent of the press was to get a few hundred copies out quickly for fall class use. The quickest way to tell the difference between the second and revised second edition (both bearing the imprint date of 1994) is to look at the List of Contributors: For the revised second edition [1996], Prokurat's address is Texas. The volume is being used as a text by an increasing number of professors.

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