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New Resource from The Banner to Explore Scripture

March 20, 2024
Photo: The Banner

The Banner, the denominational magazine of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, has just released a new ebook designed to help Christians dive deeper into the Bible. 

Engaging Scripture is a collection of previously published articles from The Banner, bringing together 13 perspectives on topics such as the trustworthiness of Scripture, how the Bible came together as one book, and ways to approach difficult questions and apparent contradictions.

David Koll, former director of Candidacy for the CRC, read an advance copy of the book and reflected, “Throughout the publication the reader will find references to and respect for Scripture and for our Reformed confessions. There also is a rich celebration of the gift we have in the Holy Book that has guided God's people through the centuries.”

Introducing the ebook in a Network post, Banner editor Shiao Chong said he loves digging into God’s Word and asking questions about what a passage means; why a story, poem, or insight is phrased a certain way; or why the author used the word they did if another, similar one could have been used. “Why did the characters behave the way they did? What cultural context am I missing?” he asked, adding, “It’s a joy to learn new insights from the Bible. I find the Bible often challenges my preconceived notions and comfortable ideas.”

To help other readers dig into the riches of Scripture, Chong selected articles from past editions of The Banner that explore ideas on trusting Scripture, interpreting Scripture, and applying Scripture. The three sections flow naturally into one another, said Chong. 

The first section focuses on trusting Scripture, Chong explained, because if you don’t trust a source, you are not likely to engage deeply with it. Articles in this section address questions about the Bible’s reliability, apparent contradictions, and elements that can seem unclear. 

In the second section, articles explain different cultural contexts, literary genres, and historical contexts to help Bible readers better understand the tapestry of stories and insights in Scripture.

The third section includes articles to help followers of Christ apply the Bible’s wisdom and teaching in their day-to-day lives. Articles engage topics such as decision making, relationships, family life, and priorities.

“This is a practical, accessible, and edifying collection of articles on the central script we follow for the drama of our spiritual lives,” said professor and Global Scholars Canada president Peter Schuurman. “It introduces a Reformed approach to the Bible, and yet it does not shy away from some of the touchy issues that press on the church today. Read it around the dinner table, pass it on to a friend, or use it in your classroom. Even the seasoned Bible reader will be delightfully surprised on what they will glean from these offerings from some wise Reformed friends and teachers.”

Pastor and campus ministry leader Ruth Hofman agreed. “There’s more helpful, illustrative, accessible information concisely packed into these articles than in most textbooks I’d use for 18- to 30-year-olds, whether introducing them to faith with this Reformational ‘accent’ or preparing them for profession of faith or for hosting a discussion with adults of any age,” she said.

Hofman added that she appreciated reminders in Engaging Scripture of the foundations of Reformed theological heritage, such as a high view of Scripture, salvation history, sphere sovereignty, and a comprehensive worldview. 

The context of Scripture laid out in some articles is helpful, said Hofman. “The value of reading through Jewish eyes is illustrated well in at least two examples,” she explained. In one article, Hofman said, we learn that the New Testament word for “righteousness” can also mean “justice” because of a shared common root in Greek. The Greek term is used for the Hebrew concept of tsedagah, which incorporates righteousness, justice, charity, integrity, fairness, and innocence, the article explained.

Chong added, “The Banner team hopes this PDF book will be a blessing to all who read it and are embarking on the journey of engaging Scripture. It's a journey that requires openness, curiosity, and a willingness to wrestle with challenging questions.”

To request download access to the ebook, visit