Misreading Scriptures with Western Eyes - A Book Review

When I first heard about the book, Misreading Scriptures with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible by E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O'Brien, I was immediately intrigued.  Having spent time on the mission field in Russia and Croatia, I knew that Christians in other cultures saw some Scriptures differently than we did in the West.  My interpretations and focus in regards to certain passages did not always line up with those I was sharing the Word with.  It became obvious to me that Christians in other countries interpret some Scriptures through a different cultural lens.

This book by Richards and O'Brien addresses these cultural biases head on in this book.  The book appears a bit academic and "heady" at first but the authors use of both personal and professional stories marks the right balance for this book.

The authors address three layers of cultural assumptions in their book:
  1. Those Above the Surface - obvious assumptions such as social mores, race, ethnicity and language barriers.
  2. Those Just Below the Surface - less obvious cultural assumptions like individualism vs. collectivism, honor/shame vs. right/wrong and our concept and perception of time.
  3. Those Deep Below the Surface - assumptions buried so deep in our culture that we can't really imagine anyone thinking differently: rules and relationships, virtue and vice, and finding the center of God's will.
The authors provide questions to ponder at the end of each chapter which helps stimulate thought in each of these areas and I found myself challenged in many ways.

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to open up their reading and understanding of the Word of God.  It is never good to rest on our laurels and this book will challenge you to look at your preconceptions like never before.  A must read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review purposes from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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