Why is it important to understand the Bible?

This book is for those who want to be true to the spirit of the Christ and want to use the Bible as a guide to their spiritual growth rather than as a literal instruction manual for evaluating and judging external behavior - especially the behavior of others.

Spiritually is always an inside job and is always gentle, kind, understanding and accepting - of others and of self.

It is just as unbalanced for a metaphysician, humanist or agnostic to believe he Bible is simple metaphorical - as it is for a Christian to believe each word must be interpreted literally.

Clear spiritual thinking requires an understanding of what the Bible is - and isn't.

While O'Dell performs a scholar work explaining the facts, politics and beliefs that forged the evolution of the Bible, his experiential faith in the sacredness of the presence of the Holy Spirit imbues this book with authentic humanness.

Readers will understand that being a Christian requires more than attaching oneself to a congregation and believing the Bible literally.

Thus is such a unique and helpful book! I know many people who will find this 2nd Edition of How the Bible became the Bible to be invaluable: seekers who want to reflect more deeply on the practical application of Jewish and Hebrew sacred texts; religiously-minded people whose questions about the history and use of the Bible have not been answered adequately; and individuals like me who are privileged to work with people who want to deepen their inner lives experientially. I especially appreciate Don O'Dell's ability to draw on the riches of academic scholarship without befuddling interested "lay people," while simultaneously tapping the author's personal experience with sources such as the 12 Steps. A great resource.
Robert Field, Episcopal Minister
Founding Director, Center for Spiritual Wisdom
Brevard, North Carolina

Knowing God is the active pursuit of experiential faith.

The fruit of this book is the presentation of Biblical facts, which are sewn together in the recognition that the Kingdom of God is available right now for you: Having experiences where others see God in you; Gifting your life with experiences of seeing God in all others; and Experiencing Spirit's daily guidance as you live your life.

This book is of much value to the serious student of Holy Scripture. It will enable the reader to view the Holy Scriptures in the context in which the books were written and arranged. It provides excellent historical background and Don's personal reflections effectively enhance his message with a glimpse of how the Holy Scripture has been integrated into his own life. Don has taken some very technical subjects and made them understandable to the average reader. Embracing and understanding message contained in HOW THE BIBLE BECAME THE BIBLE potentially forms a bridge of understanding between various faiths within the three great Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and other religions as well. It can break down barriers that need not exist and shed light on the source texts that bring peace, understanding, enlightenment, and freedom. … I am glad to have a copy of HOW THE BIBLE BECAME THE BIBLE in my library.
James J. DeFrancisco, PhD. Miltha Ministries, Mishawaka, Indiana james.j.defrancisco at gte dot net

What Does The Bible Really Say?

"This highly readable book takes a conversational tone when, for instance, in Chapter 6 (The Time of Jesus), the author gently transitions us from the Old to the New Testament. The tenor focuses on the impact of Roman rule and the reactions to it and in the populace. Instead of dogmatic repetition of the chapter and verse based solely on moral directives from 'above,'" [read more]

We don’t need to have children to raise these kinds of questions. We ask that kind of question all by ourselves. We hear someone quote Billy Graham or Pat Robertson (or any other evangelist) about demons, angels, Original Sin, or the condemnation of a movie we’re looking forward to seeing, and we catch ourselves thinking: “Am I supposed to really believe that?”

We listen to a newscast of some heated legislative debate dealing with cloning, an abortion clinic bombing, the right-to-die movement, “evil” empires, a hate crime, stem cell research, prayer in school, or some gay/lesbian issue. Many of the arguments are bolstered by very Scripture-laden phrases, and we catch ourselves thinking: “Does the Bible really say that?”

Those of us who are discovering our spirituality in a Twelve- Step Program or in New Thought religion are not in a mainstream, Bible-based religion. Those of us who are mainstream churchgoers usually are not involved in a Bible-quoting, Jesus-is-my-very-best- friend denomination. However, we live in a society that appeals very heavily to Bible-based religion for all sorts of support.

As an example, I would imagine in the Bible Belt it’s easier for a good, solid Southern Baptist to get elected to the local school board than it is for a member of a Unitarian congregation. Will that election affect the materials used in your schools, the priorities established within the budget, the openness of the district to hire an excellent teacher who may be Hindu or may be gay? Do those school board decisions affect your community? You bet they do!

State and national politicians campaign on Bible-based moral slogans. They make promises, backing them with Biblical quotes, to gain the support of very conservative, “Bible believing” groups or coalitions sometimes referred to as the Religious Right or the Christian Coalition. Many of these promises or campaign platforms can be quite divisive and polarizing. Can this affect you? Can this sway you (either positively or negatively) for a candidate or issue? You bet it can!

While the references O’Dell uses are reliable and thorough, the beauty of this book is its readability. Many exploratory books that lean heavily on academic biblical research can be so dense it takes a person wholly devoted to the subject—or making their salary from it—to decipher the author’s writing style.

Donald O’Dell has woven an interesting tapestry of research, scholarship, and personal experience into this examination of the authenticity of biblical entries. While there are people that have developed beliefs that every word is the literal utterance of God (or Jesus as God), no one who understands centuries of transcription of text under conditions not often very favorable to the scribes will object to the common sense employed by the author in putting together this work. [read more]
Published (Edited) Review: New Age Retailer

Three Reasons To Read This Book

#1 It's time you learned the real story of the Bible for yourself.

#2 Many Protestant fundamentalists and evangelicals believe the Bible was almost literally "faxed" from God, and they are not shy about saying so. What is it you believe about the Bible? This book will help answer that question.

#3 There are times when issues about gay people or Jesus or miracles or abortion comes up. You need to be able to offer yourself (and your children) a real answer - your answer.

Types Of Connection

Perhaps you are one of the millions of “mainstream” churchgoing Christians who does not consider yourself a Fundamental Evangelical. You do not believe that the Bible contains the exact, almost dictated, words of God. You support a congregation with your time and money.

You attend Sunday school as well as Sunday morning worship. Your children attend with you, go to some of the youth group activities, and attend a summer church camp or vacation Bible school.

You understand enough to believe that the first eleven chapters of Genesis consist of local (to the Genesis writer) myths, fables, and allegories.

At a party, if someone begins to extol the virtues of some political movement or condemn certain societal actions and uses quotations from Scripture to support their argument, you will generally smile, remain quiet, and be respectfully polite.

After all, quoting Scripture is not your “strong suit,” and the last thing you want to do is become engaged in a religious argument. But it bothers you to listen to someone like that. Isn’t there something you can say? Or should say?

Maybe you’re a Twelve-Stepper or a mainstream churchgoer, you may consider yourself a nontraditional believer.

Perhaps you’ve found New Thought religion—Religious Science (Science of Mind), Unity, Christian Science, or blends of Eastern/Metaphysical thought—intellectually stimulating and spiritually comforting.

These approaches simply make sense to you. Questions about God, the meaning of life, the moral foundations of good and bad personal behavior, meditation, the afterlife, and prayer are not only relevant, but the answers you are getting are actually intelligible and usable.

Writings about spiritual paths, inner peace, stress reduction, creativity, addictions, health, holistic and alternative therapies seem to be right on the money for us. They all talk to us about essential spiritual things—the mind-body-spirit connection—in a language we can understand.

Bible Research Quotation

Luke constructed his story of Jesus within this grand framework: the history of salvation. ~ Donald L. O'Dell

Bible Research Quotation

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