Taking the Bible text seriously, in all its various contexts

The Bible is an ancient book with timeless wisdom, historical integrity and many puzzles.  When we read it in the context of their lifestyle, literature, and language, the Bible speaks to us like it did to its original audience.

When we grasp these contexts, we become gripped by the excitement of historical stories, the controversial views of prophetic messengers, and the unexpected simplicity of its teaching.

Dr David Instone-Brewer has drawn together the background information discovered by scholars that he's met (and some that he hasn't), and presents straightforward conclusions that unfold the meaning of the literal text.

Free to share:

All the chapters of the Scripture in Context series from Lexham Press will be freely available on this site, though only a few at a time. There's more every month, so there is always something interesting to read. If you share a chapter on social media, that link should remain active even after the end of the month, so you can continue discussing and digesting it.

Each 15-minute chapter is self-contained with a compact introduction to the topic and a presentation of the newest information and insights in plain language. These are books for people interested in deep questions who don't have much time for reading. The books themselves are great for giving to someone who may find church boring but has a questioning mind.

Moral Questions of the Bible:
Timeless truth in a changing world.

A straightforward method for determining which moral rules are for a specific culture, and which ones are applicable in all cultures, including ours. Charting differences in Old and New Testament laws reveals God's unchanging purposes in the context of different societies. We can then identify ethical rules that achieve those same purposes today.

Church Doctrine and the Bible:
Theology in ancient context.

Returning to the texts behind important doctrines to resolve problems and reveal forgotten details.
By stripping away 2000 years of theological complexity we can explore Bible doctrines as they were understood by a first century convert. This restores the revolutionary simplicity of Bible teaching. More...

Modern Sciences & the Bible:
Interpreting two sources of truth.

God reveals truth in nature and in the Bible, though only the Bible shows us the meaning and purpose of creation. Science successfully describes nature but it disagrees with traditional interpretations of the Bible. However, there is often more than one literal interpretation of the text. Science can help us arbitrate between different interpretations, and often testifies to striking agreement with the actual Bible text.    More...

Jesus as a Jew in the Bible:
Gospel insights for gentiles.

From his birth as Herod's enemy to his embalming delayed by a Sabbath, Jesus' life was interlaced with Jewish history and customs. 
Sayings and events that are confusing or obscure become clear and enlightening when viewed within the Jewish context of the first century. More...

Ancient Lifestyles in the Bible: 
Their religion, customs, politics - and ours.

Ancient worship, ruthless war tactics, slavery laws and archaic family relationships make the Bible text seem irrelevant. God's message to them is still his message to us, so we study their cultures to hear it afresh. More...

Ancient Literature & the Bible: 
Prophecies, stories, and proverbs through their eyes.

The Bible conveys history through stories, religion through poetry, ethics through proverbs and politics through prophecy - because that's how the original readers communicated. Reading these different types of writing through their eyes will open up their meaning to us.

About the author: 

Rev. Dr David Instone-Brewer combines the pastoral heart of an experienced church minister with scholarly credentials from top universities in the UK, as well as decades of reading and writing for academic and Christian publishers. He is a member of various invitation-only academic societies (Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, British Association of Jewish Scholars, Tyndale Fellowship) and has addressed many conferences and seminars, but he prefers preaching.

"By conviction, I regard the original text of the Bible as a true and accurate account of messages from God to ancient believers, and we are privileged to share this precious gift that they have passed down to us.
    As an ordained Baptist minister in the UK, I have a traditional trinitarian faith. I work as a research scholar in Cambridge, specialising in ancient Judaism. For those who like theological labels: I admire both Wesley and Calvin (though I'm uncomfortable with "TULIP"), and I'm an egalitarian who recognises that Paul commended complementarianism to first-century believers.
    My initial academic background was in the sciences, and I try to keep up with that fascinating and fast-moving world. I also enjoy software development and low-brow movies.
   Most of these chapters were inspired by my own research and by interacting with creative scholars who visit Cambridge from all over the world. I'm kept grounded in the real world by my family and the congregations I visit, who ask lots of difficult questions. If you have a question about the Bible text that I haven't dealt with, please leave a comment below. A good question can lead to great discoveries!"

David Instone-Brewer

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