Taking the Bible Seriously

by Leander E. Keck

Leander E. Keck is Winkley Professor of Biblical Theology at Yale Divinity School, and former Dean. His books include The New Interpreter’s Bible (Abingdon 1994-96), Who is Jesus?, Paul and His Letters, and The Life of Jesus.

Published by Association Press, 291 Broadway, New York 7, N.Y. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.


(ENTIRE BOOK) There is a way of reading the bible which opens the door to vital faith without shutting the door to critical thought.


  • A Word About This Book

    This book outlines some of the ways scholarly work affects the authority of the Bible for faith.

  • Chapter 1: The Bible Is a Problem

    The Bible can be our Scripture only if we take it seriously enough to make an honest effort to understand it and to come to terms with it.

  • Chapter 2: This Kind of Bible

    Gentiles who affirm that Jesus is the Christ implicitly admit that in a profound sense we share in two covenants and are members of two communities: the Church and its predecessor, Israel. In this sense, believing in Jesus makes us all sons of Abraham. This is why we have one Bible in two Testaments.

  • Chapter 3: When Scholars Go to Work

    The historical method does not simply locate the varieties of materials and traditions in the Bible, but it also helps us to detect the pulse which surges through the whole Bible.

  • Chapter 4: Meeting God Historically

    Jesus as the Christ is the gauge by which every disclosure of God’s will is measured.

  • Chapter 5: History as His Story

    We lack a transcendent framework in which to interpret the course of our history as a whole. Put theologically, we lack a mythology to understand the meaning of our history. In our situation, then, perhaps the very fact that the Bible speaks of history in mythological terms may be a Word to us.

  • Chapter 6: The Authority That Counts

    Where the community recognizes the constructive character of what is claimed in the name of an encounter with God, it believes a man’s confession that God spoke to him and that he heard.

  • Chapter 7: The Reader in Dialogue

    Scholarly work has both a negative and a positive function. Negatively, it makes certain interpretations impossible, for it insists that we listen to what the text actually says and not simply to what we think it says or ought to say. Positively, it helps us to hear what the writer wants to say; in fact, this is the only real justification for the whole discipline.

  • Chapter 8: Two Examples of Dialogue

    The tensions between the ethos of our society and the ethical mandates in the Bible provide an important occasion for the reader to carry on his dialogue with the Bible. Only the Word of God is absolute, and the Spirit of God enables it to work through the Bible. This is the place to learn how to recognize the Word and how to listen for it. This is why the Bible is still Scripture.