The Bible's variety is mind-boggling. It contains sixty-six documents, composed over one and a half millennia in three languages. Some biblical books are addressed to an oppressed Ancient Near Eastern clan, recently rescued from slavery; others, to agrarian communities of farmers and craftsmen; still others, to multiethnic urban cells around the Mediterranean Sea, groups that reflected the whole economic spectrum from rich to poor. The Bible is historical narratives, fictional parables, legal regulations, architectural designs, simple and ornate poems, tightly argued epistles, stirring sermons, bizarre visions, pragmatic maxims, thunderous warnings of coming disaster, and sweet previews of future paradise.
Dennis E. Johnson is professor of practical theology at Westminster Seminary California, Escondido, and author of The Message of Acts in the History of Redemption (P&R 1997).
Issue: "Christless Christianity" May/June 2007 Vol. 16 No. 3 Page number(s): 20
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