The way in which we read the Bible grows out of what we believe the Bible to be. Thus it is impossible to discuss methods of interpretation without considering our view of inspiration, the gathering of the canon, and even the reception of the Bible by the community of faith. And so, Edward W. H. Vick starts this comprehensive discussion of hermeneutics—the interpretation of Scripture—by looking at what the Bible is, and what empowers its authority. He brings a lifetime of experience, teaching and writing to the task.

In this examination, he takes up such diverse topics as inspiration, canonization, authority, infallibility, inerrancy, verbal inspiration, sola scriptura, tradition, myth, and many related topics. Dr. Vick always relates these elements to the overarching questions: How shall we read Scripture? How shall we understand it? How does it impact the way we live and act?

There are many books on how to read the Bible, but there are few that will offer this comprehensive and systematic study. If you apply the principles you find here to your own study, you will find the scriptures opening up in new ways. Dr. Vick will help you move beyond the assumptions that often stand in the way of our personal Bible study and see the remarkable variety and power that is mediated through this book we call the Bible.


  • Those who have recently browsed in bookstores looking for a book that would give them a handle on the Bible most likely left the store frustrated, or bought a book that either put out propaganda or propagated diluted sentimentalism. In marked contrast, Edward W. H. Vick’s book gives us a most welcome, rigorous, measured, illuminating tour of the concepts that must be considered if one is to understand what the Bible is. Here the Bible is not an abstraction floating in a vacuum. It is the church’s book on the basis of two basic principles. It is the mediator of the reality of God, and functions in the church as the provider of meaning for the present. In From Inspiration to Understanding the reader finds engaging discussions of concepts like inspiration, revelation, authenticity, authority and others with both feet on the ground. In this process a long list of fallacies are shown to be what they are. Vick’s presentation takes its clues from what the Bible actually contains, and builds its arguments according to the demands of serious theological reflection. I highly recommend this book to anyone who desires a better way of reading the Bible, no matter whether one is a believer, a non-believer, a lay person or a member of the clergy.

    Herold Weiss, Ph.D.
    Professor Emeritus of New Testament
    St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN

  • Seldom does one read so thoughtful, so disciplined and so scholarly an account of the need to rethink the basis for the authority of Scripture in the Christian church. Vick meets head-on most (if not all) of the difficult issues surrounding the traditional concept of “inspiration” as the foundation of Biblical supremacy for the community. While some may be discomfited by Vick’s argument that the traditional understandings are inadequate for the modern church, every reader will greatly profit from taking seriously his urging that we ground biblical authority in the believing community itself. This work should be read by every lay and professional theologian.

    James J. Londis, Ph.D.
    Chair, Department of Humanities
    Kettering College

  • Professor Vick’s approach to the Bible is informed, clear, and immensely helpful. If we view the Scriptures as the means by which God is revealed to the community of faith, he argues, we can account for the Bible’s authority, without trying to “prove” it. And on this basis, we can appreciate the complex history and varied contents of the Bible, while avoiding the pitfalls that surround mistaken views of “biblical inspiration.”

    Richard Rice
    Professor of Religion
    Loma Linda University

  • Dr. Vick provides a thorough look at the inspiration of the Bible, giving the reader a better grasp at the way scripture should be interpreted. Most importantly, he rediscovers the scriptures to be fundamentally the Church’s book, a book that is important only because of God’s self-revelation to a people called Israel and Church. From Inspiration to Understanding is a helpful resource to any pastor or Bible study teacher interested in knowing what it means for the Bible to be the Word of God.

    Rev. Geoffrey Lentz
    First United Methodist Church
    Pensacola, Florida

  • With characteristic erudition and acute theological insight, Dr. Edward Vick has given us the most comprehensive guide to an intelligent and faithful understanding of the inspiration of the Bible, of which I know. For the serious student of scripture he thus clears the path to a solid apprehension of its meaning and message.

    Earle Hilgert
    Professor of New Testament (Emeritus)
    McCormick Theological Seminary

Book Data
Pages 372
ISBN10 1-893729-10-9
ISBN13 978-1-893729-10-0

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