Friday, July 16, 2010

Fr. McBride's Guide to the Bible

By Alfred McBride, 303 pages, Our Sunday Visitor.

McBride tries to tell salvation history, the entire story of the Bible, in 1 book. He condenses the stories, picking out the highlights, then presents the theological thought of the time. He applies this thinking to today, and finishes with a personal reflection for the reader. He does not include any lengthy biblical passages.

As an introductory Bible study for non-theologians, this book offers a lot, though McBride assumes that readers are already quite familiar with the Bible. A weakness of the book is the necessary demand that he move quickly through salvation history. A strength of the book is McBride's tendency to address common questions and concerns, such as why Old Testament books such as Joshua and Judges are so violent. They tell of God ordering the deaths of entire populations.

McBride makes the point that the Israelites at that time saw God in this light, as a warrior God. They grew into a deeper knowledge of God as their history progressed, and this is reflected in the stories, histories, and changing theology of the Bible.

The basic theology of the Bible found in Genesis – that God created the universe and we are made in His image – is found throughout the Bible, McBride notes. He also spends much time defining the nature of covenants for ancient people, including the Israelites, so that we can better understand the nature of the new covenant God made with us through Jesus.

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