I've started reading a fascinating book by Dr. Peter Enns. It's called The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It. While this book centers on the Christian faith, people from different walks may find it beneficial.
Enns appears to have gone through the gauntlet many go through in modern systematic Christianity. Everything's fine, but he has questions. He then takes it a step further. You question, and then you're removed, dismissed or decreed you're no longer part of the tribe.
He feels people have missed the point of the Bible. That specifically viewing the Bible as an instruction manual, rulebook, hard and rigid Word of God. While the Bible can fill that on some level, he believes that's all a setup for failure. He now prefers a Bible where you can meet God.
He says, “I believe God wants us to take the Bible seriously, but I don’t believe he wants us to suppress our questions about it.” Of many questions is the stark difference of how God is presented in the New Testament versus the prior. One explanation is the more ancient authors of writings who were tribal often connected through their deity as a warrior God.
Approaching the Bible through cultural context is nothing new. Authors like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Dr. Michael L. Brown, J. Michael Matkin along with many others, have done similar. They've also receive their share of lumps for it. I think Enns has done it in a new easy to read approach.
Cultural context has helped me to understand many parts of the Bible's perceived inconsistencies. Setting up the Bible as an inerrant and infallible authority in everything, sets up expectations the Bible may not live up to.
Many readers are claiming the book to be life changing. The books shatters the literal inerrancy of scripture. That's sure to be controversial for some.
Those wanting systematic certainty in an inerrant and infallible Word of God, will probably find this book disturbing if not heretical. Fundamentalists are sure to question the author's motives. While I will draw no conclusions on this book for you, any Bible bibliophile should find this book a very fun and informative read.