When asked what one must do to enter eternal life, Jesus once responded, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” (Luke 10:26). When he was tempted in the desert, the devil quoted Scripture to tempt Jesus, to which Jesus responded with another quotation from Scripture. These verses show how important it is to reflect on the role of Scripture in theology, and particularly how one reads and uses it.
If the Bible is a book unlike any other book, it is still a book. And it is one with many types of significance, depending on what questions one brings to it, like a single prism that shines differently depending on how it is held to the light. I can read the Bible for its influences in medieval or modern thinking. I can read individual books of the Bible for how their words were intended by their historical authors, or for the significance they had for the early Christians when read in the light of Christ and alongside the rest of Scripture. I can read for a particular theme—“What does the Bible say about …?” And I can read it for personal devotion and edification, to hear consolation, instruction, and promise in the many words that communicate God’s eternal Word.
None of these approaches is necessarily exclusive of the others. And all of them are important in different ways. One thing that often happens in academic books, though, is that the different approaches don’t often talk to each other. There is just only so much you can say and only so many audiences you can talk to in one book. “What Romans says about” or “what Augustine says about” or “what the Psalms mean to me today” can then be left alone in their own corners, each with little interest in the other.
John A. Kincaid, James B. Prothro, and Ben C. Blackwell are excited to announce a new series to be published by Cascade Press, entitled Lectio Sacra or “Sacred Reading.” We will publish books that interpret Scripture through the lenses of history, ancient tradition, devotion, ethics, and theology. Some books in the series will focus on a question, others on a biblical book or theme, others will reflect on the task of interpretation among the ancients and today. All the books will engage the sacred text to show how it shines light on questions old and new for the people of God.
This is a new project, supervised by a senior board of ecumenical scholars, written for scholars, ministers, and readers interested in biblical theology.
To learn more about the series’ vision and editorial board, visit the Lectio Sacra page on Academia.edu. A more formal description of the academic series will follow soon on The Sacred Page.
If you are a biblical scholar or theologian and would like to write a book for the series, contact the managing editors: John A. Kincaid (University of Mary), Ben C. Blackwell (Houston Baptist University), and James B. Prothro (Augustine Institute Graduate School of Theology).