How do we determine what we're supposed to do and not supposed to do in the Bible. Circumcise, foot washing, keep the Sabbath (which day?); these were all commanded in the Bible. So why don't we do them. What about all the issues in the Bible that we take further than the bible commands? Some was for then but not now. So then, how do we determine what's for now and what was for then? What about women in ministry? Is that a "that was then, this is now" issue? How do we know?
McKnight establishes that the only way to understand the Bible is to read it as Story. The context of the Story must be understood to be able to discern what it is God is communicating with/to His readers.
The author's thesis is that the Bible is a Story comprised of wiki-stories. Like Wikipedia, the Bible is written by several different authors picking up the story where a previous author leaves off. Some authors retell the same story. The only way to understand difficult passages in the Bible is to understand the context of the story.
McKnight divides his book into four sections: 1) Story: what is the Bible? 2) Listening: what do I do with the Bible? 3) Discerning: how do I benefit from the bible? and 4) Women in church ministries today.
The author argues compellingly. He keeps the reader intrigued with the questions that cross the critical thinker's (like yours) mind. He leaves a trail of breadcrumbs that disappear into a dark wood, but you have to follow. You'll want to know where the trail leads.
The book emphasizes unity. In the garden, sin divided and its curse forced humans to dominate one another. The man over the woman, the woman over the man. But in Christ, the oneness God intended in the Garden is restored. In Christ, the drive to dominate ends. We are united to Him and to each other. The Bible needs to be read with this in mind.
The author's perspective is the balanced and most liberating point of view I've read to date. His point of view is informed and makes sense.
At one point, when discussing the role of women in church, McKnight recalls a conversation he had with super-theologian F.F. Bruce.
McKnight: "Professor Bruce, what do you think of women's ordination?"
Bruce: "I don't think the New Testament talks about ordination."
McKnight: "What about the silencing passages of Paul on Women?"
Bruce: "I think Paul would roll over in his grave if he knew we were turning his letters in torah."
See what I mean?
This book is for the average person who wrestles with scripture. It's not for the person who has every question nailed down. It's not the person who thinks he can silence all debate. If you're student, you'll be edified by this book. If you know it all, don't bother.