Many books on how to read and interpret the Bible are written every year, but not many of them stand the test of time. Most of the books of this genre succeed in helping the reader to read the Bible, or to interpret Scripture, but not both. Living By The Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible, by Howard G. Hendricks and William D. Hendricks, has stood the test of time by combining how to read the Bible with how to interpret and apply the Word of God.
In three hundred and seventy-eight pages, Dr. Howard Hendricks and his son William walk their readers through how to read, interpret, and apply the Word of God. In step one, the authors teach the reader how to observe, read, and look for important things in Scripture. Step two guides the readers into understanding the value of interpretation and the five keys to interpretation: 1) Content, 2) context, 3) comparison, 4) culture, and 5) consultation. The final section of the book is on application. Here the Hendricks’ explain the process of applying the sermon through four steps of application: 1) know the text and yourself, 2) relate it to your experience, 3) mediate on the truth of Scripture and 4) practice the truth of Scripture.
Living By The Book: The Art and Science of Reading the Bible is one of the most helpful books I’ve read in this genre. While no book on reading, interpreting and applying the Bible can cover every single topic; the authors have accomplished their goal of helping the reader to observe, interpret, and apply the Word of God.
The one (very minor) weakness that this book has is that there is not enough space to work out the ideas the authors taught on. While the authors do provide space at the end of nearly chapter titled “You Try It”, these sections could be strengthened if they provided questions for the reader to work through. Even with this very minor weakness the “You Try It” sections are still helpful and cause the reader to think through what they have learned in the chapter.
Books on how to read, interpret and apply the Scripture are written every year, but not many of those books stand the test of time. Living By The Book is written by a seasoned Professor and Bible teacher, Dr. Howard Hendricks and his son William, it will help its readers to think through what the Bible is, and why they should read and study it.
While reading this book, I felt that I was being shepherded to better read, interpret, and apply the Truth of Scripture for myself. Living By The Book is a very helpful introductory book that will help its readers to journey through the Scriptures and engage God’s Word like never before.
Authors: Dr. Howard and William Hendricks
Publisher: Moody (2007)
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021) and The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.