The online Bible teaching ministry of John Brand

This book has been a sheer joy to read though I must admit to a certain amount of apprehension as I set about reading it. My apprehension was based on past experiences where writers have, by trying to contextualise Scriptural teaching, actually undermined or questioned the accuracy and inerrancy of the biblical content. Bailey certainly can’t be accused of that.

Drawing on decades of being immersed in Middle Eastern cultures, Kenneth Bailey walks us through some key and familiar sections of the New Testament, bringing them alive in fresh ways as he explains words and practices as they would have been understood by the original authors and readers.

Given that the Grammatical-Historical approach is the correct hermeneutic for understanding Scripture, Bailey’s work is indispensable. It’s a commentary on, for example, the birth narratives of Christ, the beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer and the parables, all of which have taken on new and deeper significance as a result of engaging with this book.

What I found especially helpful and insightful was his structural analysis of the parable, using what he calls the Prophetic Rhetorical Template, which is, he says, “a time-honoured model older than the writing prophets”. These chapters on the parables alone are worth buying this excellent book.

I genuinely can’t recommend this volume too highly and will personally keep it close at hand every time I want to dig in to and understand these parts of the New Testament.

SPCK Publishing; First Edition (21 Mar. 2008) Review written in 2016