J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays’ Grasping God’s Word

Grasping-God-s-Word-9780310259664Grasping God’s Word is a phenomenal contribution to the field of biblical hermeneutics and interpretation.  Written by two Ouachita Baptist University professors, this work takes its place alongside Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart’s How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth as a reliable, accessible, strong introduction to the field.  In putting this book alongside Fee and Stuart’s, I am paying it a high compliment indeed!

I recently finished teaching a Ouachita extension class on Biblical Interpretation at Central Baptist Church, North Little Rock, AR, with this as our textbook and came away thoroughly impressed.  More importantly, the ten students who worked through the book were likewise very impressed.  I suppose the ultimate compliment for the work can be seen in the comment of one student that “every church member should work through this book.”  I agree.

The book is ideal as a college-level introduction to biblical interpretation.  It tackles fundamental questions surrounding the nature of interpretation, the challenges facing modern readers seeking to interpret scripture, the nature of scripture, the genres and type of literature one finds in scripture and the challenges that come with each.  Throughout, Duvall and Hays emphasize the need for the modern interpreter to bridge the gap between the ancient text and the modern reader with an eye toward application (they do this through a very helpful map they designed charting the interpretive journey).  This emphasis is a result of the authors’ high view of scripture and conviction that God has given the Bible to us to guide us into all truth.

The book is irenic in tone, careful, scholarly, and thorough in its treatment of the topic.  It is filled with evangelical conviction, careful and nuanced handling of difficult topics, and passion for the subject matter.  In all, this is a very well written and organized work that students of scripture will read to great effect.  Highly recommended!