"The Most Misused Stories In The Bible" by Eric Bargerhuff is a good read for anyone who wants to learn more about how certain verses in the Bible may be misunderstood or misused, either knowingly or for devious means.  Around 160 pages, the book addresses such stories as:

 

-  David and Goliath
-  Gideon and the fleece
-  Cain and Abel
-  Jonah and the big fish
-  Zaccheus
-  Judas
-  Rich Fool
-  and other stories

 

Some points covered by the author include:

 

1.  God will be glorified in the lives of those who will trust Him.
2.  Instead of using a fleece, seek to please God and He will make His will known to you.
3.  Ministry success should be measured in changed lives instead of number of attendance and budget amounts.
4.  Jesus may limit His working in people's lives because of their unbelief in Him.
5.  Churches need to have the discipline of spiritual discernment (AMEN to that - many wolves in sheep's clothing out there!).
6.  A true believer will persevere and remain in the faith.
7.  We will either live to indulge ourselves or live for God's glory and the benefit of others.
8.  10 ways a Bible verse may be misunderstood.

 

Very readable, the author gives many good insights on particular that may be often misunderstood.  For example comparing Cain and Abel's sacrifice.  Teachers I have read believe different reasons why God accepted Abel's sacrifice and not Cain's:
1.  Abel's was in faith while Cain was just going through religious motions (motive and attitude behind the sacrifice).
2.  The sacrifice itself (Abel gave of the best he had while Cain gave of his "leftovers", God wanted a blood sacrifice like Abel did while Cain gave only a grain sacrifice). I have heard some teachers insist this was the problem. 
3.  Or a combination of the two.

 

I have always suspected the main problem was not necessarily the sacrifice itself but the attitude.  I refer to Genesis 4:4-8 - Cain was so angry at God's rejection that he ended up killing Abel.  The author seems to have this same interpretation. 

 

Whatever your views on the author's conclusions, the book is very readable and smoothly transitions from topic to topic.  Recommended.  I was given a review copy by Bethany House in exchange for a fair review.

 

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