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The Language of God: A Commonsense Approach to Understanding and Applying the Bible Review by John Wheeler

By Ron Julian, J.A. Crabtree and David Crabtree

"Your relationship with God will be refreshed by the message of James"

Do you need help teaching your high school student to understand, interpret, and apply the Bible? Some people use the Bible as a magic book, opening it and pointing to a passage in hopes of finding God's will. Others use it as a club, pulling verses out of context to support a personal viewpoint. These errors can be avoided by the application of sound principles of interpretation.

One of the best ways to prepare high school students to avoid these errors and hold fast to the faith is to teach them to use the tools of Biblical study. Then, when college professors and industry co-workers challenge their beliefs, they will know how to handle the Biblical texts with wisdom and grace.

The Language of God, by three professors from Gutenberg College in Eugene, Oregon, puts all the tools together in one volume. One chapter discusses putting the focus on the author's intended meaning. Another discusses language conventions. Another demonstrates the absolute necessity of letting the context of a passage dictate the way it is to be interpreted. Handling background information, understanding a Biblical worldview, and applying a Biblical worldview are other chapter topics. How to understand God's will starts to become a little clearer by the end. You will see why you cannot treat the Bible like a magic book!

Along the way, many confusing and sometimes controversial passages are discussed as examples, including those in James on the relationship between faith and works. As an added bonus, the authors address the place of human experience in interpreting truth. If we pay attention, our life experiences can help us to understand the truths of Scripture. Also, the authors have a refreshing tone of humility, not that they are unsure of the truth of the Word of God, but that they are committed to following the truth wherever it leads, even if it means admitting a favorite interpretation is wrong.

Each of the eight chapters ends with a set of three to five study questions. Anyone with well thought-out answers to these questions will indeed be prepared to face antagonistic college professors and skeptical co-workers. This could be an outstanding eight-week high school course for both the students and the teacher in your homeschool. You can even check out the authors' answers to the study questions by consulting their website at

Would you like to prepare your teens for a life-style of effective, common sense Bible study? Get yourself a copy of The Language of God by Ron Julian, J.A. Crabtree and David Crabtree of Gutenberg College. It is available through McKenzie Study Center at The Language of God will equip your students to understand God's Word and apply it with confidence. But you may want to get more than one copy as you will want to write in the margins, highlight certain passages, and even argue with the authors. Best of all, your relationship with God will be refreshed by the primary message of James - that God provides patience and endurance for those who hold fast to the faith until the end.

-- Product Review by: John Wheeler, Senior Staff Writer's Desk, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine