a DISCLAIMER first: Even though Neil Rees is technically my boss, he being the international co-ordinator for World Horizons and all that, I am in no way biased about his book… well not much anyhow. After all, there isnt much he could do if I didnt like his book, and knowing Neil, I think he would simply chuckle.
Neil’s book, ‘Not everything in our bible is inspired’ is a slim volume, which is important I think, because I tend to get lost in a tome. There’s no danger of that in this instance, its a charming, fast paced, and very cheerful read, with plenty of wry humour, and without the overbearing academia that characterises other theological texts I’ve been unfortunate enough to read.
More importantly though, I would say that nobody who reads this book will read the bible in quite the same way again. Neil tackles elements of biblical study which go largely unconsidered by most of us.
Neil is an excellent scholar, and everything he says is well documented, and backed up on a great depth of textual study. He also descibes himself as an evangelical, which will reassure some, and perhaps worry others. The fact is though that Neil is passionate about the bible, and keen to get the most out of it.
We are often held back in our understanding by man made structures, which have become part of our ‘way of reading’ the texts, and Neil takes on a lot of these with great effect. His intelligent and thoughtful tackling of simple things like the way books are divided into chapters and verses, is both helpful and thought provoking.
I particularly liked his references to the apocrypha, a subject which is not a staple of the evangelical church… would love to hear a sermon on the book of Tobit…
All in all, well worth a read. This book is written by a missionary, and it contains numerous references to the missionary heart of the Bible. For those of us in the ‘mission community’ and those who think that mission is ‘for others’ this book will provide equal amounts of stimulation. Read more here, and then buy it!