8 Eye Opening Books on The Bible – Putting Bible into the Right Historical Context
Embraced by some, misunderstood by some and overlooked or completely ignored by others… The Bible is definitely one of the most popular books in the world, and for some good reasons.
It represents the basics and introduction to one of the largest and most widely spread religions in the world, Christianity. But then, is there anything hidden behind it?
From some points of view, the Bible can be confusing. Some tales might feel difficult to understand. But then, there are also stories that seem easy and straightforward, even if they hide different meanings.
Whether you want to know more about Christianity or you want to learn more about the Bible, here are some of the best rated books of the Bible. These books explaining the Bible will most likely give you a different approach on it.
What Are The Top Modern Books on The Bible?
You Don't Need Salvation, by H. Conradie (2022)
This is one of those books on the Bible that can change your perspective on it. Basically, no matter how much we believe, we can all agree that certain things simply make no sense…
But then, everyone has an explanation for it. The book tries to help people understand the Bible in an easier way. It is not a book against God, religion or facts from the Bible, but a book that explains it.
The Bible is the foundation of many religious scriptures, but does it truly represent the absolute truth? The author argues that the Bible was not written by God himself but rather by people who were influenced by their own cultural values and ideals. Much of what is presented in the Bible cannot be taken or sold as absolute truth or the direct “Word of God”. Instead, it should be understood as a reflection of its authors' thoughts on different topics such as morality, justice and faith.
Whether or not you are aware of such issues, this book will help to put the Bible into the right context. Some of the facts in the Bible most likely are real. Some others may be inaccurate. Then, apart from the contradictions, there are things that can actually be explained, as well as things that make no sense.
H. Conradie believes there is, indeed, a gray area. You do not have to believe in the Bible blindly, without any questions at all, especially if things make no sense. But on the other hand, you do not have to be against it either.
Instead, free yourself from myths and lies and figure out the real parts in a book that has changed the world overtime.
A History of the Bible, by John Barton (2019)
There are no doubts about it, the Bible is among the leading titles in the western world. It defines Christianity in any form, and it teaches people how to live and what to believe in.
Even if you are not an actual believer or have a different religion, you cannot contest its importance. Everyone knows what the bible is and what it means.
John Barton has written one of the best books explaining the Bible, as well as its history. The book has been understood in different ways over its 2,000 year long history.
From proverbs and prophecies to poems and stories, each of these writings has a meaning, be it hidden or more obvious. There is a bit of history behind each famous verse. Why are some verses famous? Why are others overlooked? And why are some texts canonical now?
The Bible has not always been like this, but it has evolved overtime. New things were added, and others were removed. The author aims to trace it back to its origins and explain its evolution to help everyone understand what it truly tries to say.
Seeing the Word, by Markus Bockmuehl (2006)
In a world where access to education, controversy and the Internet has never been more facile, it looks like biblical studies are more exposed than ever. There are numerous disagreements, more and more people turn to science, and certain things simply make no sense, even if they are taken for granted.
Markus Bockmuehl brings in one of those books of the Bible, aiming to explain the New Testament. It is written in a conversational mode, so anyone can understand it. There are no funky ideas that no one can understand, unlike most expectations.
The book assesses the New Testament and current studies on it. It identifies challenging aspects, as well as the proposals that make sense and are actually backed by science.
In the first part, the book sets the foundation of a common conversation regarding what the New Testament means. The second part assesses the early history of the book and its meanings.
An Introduction to the New Testament, by Raymond E. Brown (2016)
The Bible shares many concepts with other religions, as well as a few characters. The New Testament is what makes it stand out, though because what happens there is less likely to match other writings.
Raymond E. Brown has come up with one of the most detailed books on the Bible. This is one of those books explaining the Bible for everyone, from those who ask questions and those who ask questions to those who simply need a better understanding.
Coming from a gifted communicator, the book takes readers through basic content, issues and potential questions regarding the New Testament.
A few issues and controversies were the best parts for me, but there is much more than that…
There is plenty of information, a historical overview as well, and, of course, deeper explanations as supplementary material for easy understanding.
It makes no difference if you are religious and have questions or you are simply curious about what the New Testament tries to tell you.
Despite being considered a comprehensive and detailed guide, this is one of those books on the Bible that anyone can understand, with or without any religious education.
Jesus the Jew, by Geza Vermes (1981)
There are countless theories regarding the Bible, and everyone has a different interpretation. Sure, you can take it as it is and simply rely on what makes sense, or you can try to dig deeper.
Some say Jesus was Jewish. Some others say the Jews killed Jesus… Who can tell? There are plenty of interpretations, but Geza Vermes’ release is one of the best books explaining the Bible.
It is the author's most famous book, and for some good reasons. Jesus' portrait is not necessarily based on what you know from the Bible or movies, but on the historical Jesus.
From many points of view and in many stories, Jesus appears to be a vivid individual. Indeed, there are many misunderstandings throughout his life, but overall, no one can deny his amazing cultural and intellectual influence.
Jesus the Jew is not a book based on opinions and points of view. Instead, it aims to provide a realistic portrait based on different documents from those times.
Inspired by writings from the New Testament and scrolls from the Dead Sea, the portrait is also enhanced by Jewish literature.
To most Christians, Jesus’ portrait is based on the Bible. To someone willing to dig deeper, the portrait goes further and grabs details from external sources, which are just as reliable.
This book will not necessarily give you a religious description of Jesus. You can get that from the Bible. Instead, it draws information from multiple sources of those times to provide a humane portrait.
The Misunderstood Jew, by Amy-Jill Levine (2007)
This is one of those books explaining the Bible by finding common traits between two large religions, Christianity and Judaism. There are characters dominating both religions, but there is one major difference…
Jews do not really recognize the New Testament.
Now, this book aims to determine Jesus’ Jewish profile. It aims to help the reader understand Jesus, but it goes further than that. At a deeper level, the book explains the Bible in order to clear out all controversies and conflicts between religions.
As I went through the book, I realized that it is mostly focused on the Jewish direction, but it revolves around Jesus, who is a focal point in Christianity.
It seems to be addressed to Jews in an attempt to help them understand what Jesus stood for, but on the same note, it offers an incredibly detailed explanation of the New Testament.
All in all, whether you are Christian or Jewish, this book will clear out many aspects and will help readers make a bit of sense when it comes to things that seem unusual.
The book is about heritage, meaning and a deeper sense of spirituality, but with a few modern accents. It is not the type of book that asks you to believe this or that, but the type of book that uses a rational approach to clear everything out.
Know Your Bible, by Paul Kent and George Knight (2020)
This is one of those books explaining the Bible that makes things simple. Forget about deep understandings, hidden meanings and all sorts of different interpretations. This book is different and keeps things simple and concise.
The book is easy to understand and suitable for both grownups and teenagers, maybe even kids. It provides an exclusive overview of each of the 66 books.
At times, it might be difficult to go through all the learning and hidden meanings in a book. It is time consuming but also difficult to understand. The author has already done all these…
Each of these 66 books is given a summary. There is a bit of information on the author, as well as a short synopsis and a time frame. Then, you have a longer summary, the type of summary you can normally go through in a couple of minutes.
Find out what makes each book stand out, its unique particularities, perhaps a few key verses and a practical application.
The resource is educational and time efficient. It leaves no room for misinterpretations. Instead, it offers an exclusive insight into one of the oldest books in the world, as well as what it is trying to tell you.
Bottom line, I think this is one of those books on the Bible, you can read yourself or hand over to a youngster becoming familiar with the Bible.
The Bible Explainer, by Michael E. Wittmer (2020)
This is one of those books of the Bible with a self explanatory title. Its role? Save the reader a bit of time, clear out many unclear aspects and explain a few things that may not always make sense unless they are interpreted differently.
The book is written as a Q&A guide. There are about 250 questions, when, why, where, what and so on. Each of them targets a different aspect of the best selling book in the world, some of them more popular than others.
Everything is covered, from places and people to ideas and concepts. The first questions start in Genesis and move on towards the New Testament as well.
At times, answers are given with a bit of humour, yet this is not meant to be a funny book. Instead, I think it relaxes the atmosphere a little. The book is written in a conversational tone and presents issues and answers in a more logical order.
Some questions are more general. What is the Bible? Then, some others get into deeper details. Does God regret making humans?
The educational profile is expanded further on and also includes teachings from the Bible, whether it comes to homosexuality or food.
Numerous points of view are exposed in a fascinating manner. All in all, the book is suitable for everyone, from teenagers to adults. It also features full colour illustrations, making it an excellent source of information.
Conclusion: Books on The Bible
As short conclusion, there are plenty of books explaining the Bible out there, or better said, trying to explain the Bible.
Some of them obviously do it better than others. The problem with books on the Bible is the fact that most authors will try to impose their own points of view, rather than writing from an objective point of view. The above mentioned titles are different and will give you new insights into the Bible.
Check also our selection of Christian theology books.
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming or my Chrome extensions for ChatGPT. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has its unique value.