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Encounter Journal for Pentecostal Ministry Summer 2009 Vol 6 Book Review A Beginner s Guide to New Testament Exegesis Taking the Fear out of the Critical Method Richard J Erickson Downers Grove IL InterVarsity Press 2005 239 pages Reviewed by Bob Caldwell Ph D 2009 Concordia Seminary M A 2003 AGTS Ordained minister of the Assemblies of God and free lance writer Many present day pastors and theologians still view modern critical methods with some suspicion and rightly so Most of these methods arose from a generation of scholars who sought to free the Bible from the church and treat it like any other book This perspective led to ignoring the message of the text or at least of ignoring any orthodox interpretation of it which could be applied to modern life Erickson a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary Northwest in Seattle Washington draws on over twenty years of teaching New Testament exegesis Consequently this book would serve well as a textbook either in a classroom setting or by the pastor who would systematically study the book to learn more about interpreting Scripture for his or her congregation In the first chapter Erickson lists his assumptions in approaching the New Testament 1 the Bible is the inspired Word of God 2 the Bible is the Word of Life 3 the Church needs pastors to teach the Bible 4 the Holy Spirit is the interpreter While he believes that exegesis is best done from the original languages his book is written in such a way that those without Greek or Hebrew knowledge can still use it A pastor can use this resource without getting into trouble However evangelical scholars have come to grips with using these tools despite their questionable parentage When one maintains a belief that the Bible is the Word of God the tools can then be employed to help discover the fullest and clearest understanding of the meaning of the text Richard Erickson does a valuable service by showing how different critical tools can profitably be applied to the text by



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