Friday, July 13, 2012
Review of EDUCATION OR IMITATION by Curtis Allen
Photo Credit: Cruciform Press
Who the book is for: Christians interested in how to interpret the Bible
Rating: 4 out of 5
Is interpretation of the Bible just an academic endeavor meant for the most intelligent of Christ followers? Is it too difficult for someone without the right education to interpret God’s word? Of course, the answer is no. all believers are meant to read God’s word, interpret it, and apply it. It was written to be understood and followed by all people. But still it seems difficult at times.
Curtis Allen tackles the idea of Bible interpretation in his new book with Cruciform Press called EDUCATION OR IMITATION? Allen suggests that proper biblical interpretation is more about imitation than it is about education, meaning that education isn’t necessary to rightly understanding and being transformed by God’s Word.
Allen opens the story with a very raw and real story from his own experience that brilliantly illustrates how we all interpret things in our lives and live our lives in response to those interpretations. Interpretation isn’t foreign to us, and isn’t something we begin to do simply because we pick up the Bible. Allen covers the history of bad interpretation of God’s Word that began with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, then he shows how Jesus as the incarnate Word of God is the ultimate interpreter of the Scriptures. He illustrates this with an example from the gospels where Jesus is in a battle over right interpretation with the Pharisees on the Sabbath day. He shows how Jesus rightly interpreted while the Pharisees, in their pride, wrongly interpreted God’s intention for the Sabbath.
The gist of Allen’s book is that interpretation is about imitating Jesus. We interpret the way that Jesus interpreted the Bible. And our application of the Bible falls on the heels of our interpretations of it.
I loved this book and its concept. I think Allen is right on about Jesus being the ultimate interpreter and about the Bible being all about Christ. The only concern I have is that interpretation may still seem difficult to people after reading the book because people may see how he arrived at his interpretation of the Sabbath day event with Jesus and the Pharisees, but they may not see how they could have come to that conclusion on their own. Allen doesn’t reject the benefit of education however, so I still believe the book will be extremely helpful to believers, but a little further education may be in order to show people how they can arrive at right interpretations for themselves.
EDUCATION OR IMITATION? is a great book. It’s short and can easily be read in a day. It makes much of Jesus, and it inspires right living by following the example of Jesus.
I received this book for free for review from Cruciform Press, and the opinions contained in this review are completely my own