From its very first pages, The Bible: An Introduction, Second Edition offers clear answers to the most basic questions that first-time students and curious inquirers bring to the Bible. This second edition offers revised chapters and auxiliary material and new discussions of biblical studies methods and the question of inspiration.
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What is the Bible? How did it get to us? Why are translations so different? And what influence has the Bible had on culture? From its very first pages, The Bible: An Introduction, Second Edition offers clear answers to the most basic questions that first-time students and curious inquirers bring to the Bible.
Without presuming either prior knowledge of the Bible or a particular attitude toward it, Jerry L. Sumney uses straightforward language to lead the reader on an exploration of the Bible’s contents and the history of its writings, showing how critical methods help readers understand what they find in the Bible.
This second edition offers revised chapters and auxiliary material and new discussions of biblical studies methods and the question of inspiration. It can be purchased individually, alongside the Study Companion which provides in-depth study aids, teaching resources, and other helpful tools for students and faculty alike. Neither polemical nor apologetic, The Bible presents the biblical writings as the efforts of men and women in the past to understand their lives and their world in light of the ways they understood the divine.
Explore the books
Jerry L. Sumney is professor of biblical studies at Lexington Theological Seminary. He is the author of Colossians: A Commentary (2008) and Identifying Paul’s Opponents (1990). He is also the editor of Reading Romans (2012) and the coeditor of Theology and Ethics in Paul and His Interpreters (1996) and Paul and Pathos (2006).
Anthony Le Donne is assistant professor of New Testament at United Theological Seminary. He is the author/editor of seven books. He is the cofounder of the Jewish-Christian Dialogue and Sacred Texts Consultation and serves as an editor of the Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus.
My Teaching Tools
Test and Answer Key
To receive the Premade Test and Answer Key for this textbook contact our Textbook Adoption Consultant
A Word from the Author
Hear from Jerry L. Sumney on how to put this textbook to best use, and a word of advice for those whose primary field is not biblical studies.
How to teach this book
A word for those whose field is not biblical studies
Sample syllabus from the author
Syllabi from current users
Introduction to the Literature and World of the New Testament, Missouri State University, Mark Given
The Christian Scriptures, Baylor University, Jesse Hoover
The Christian Scriptures, Baylor University, Roy E. Garton
Supplementary Guides on the Deuterocanonical Books
My Study Tools
Interview with Jerry L. Sumney
Fortress Press Live podcast: Teaching Introduction to the Bible
At the 2014 AAR/SBL annual meeting in San Diego, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Jerry L. Sumney and a group of professors to discuss teaching introduction to the Bible. Listen to their discussion and get expert tips for teaching this course!
[An] enlightening journey through the Bible. . .
"Serving as an expert tour guide, Jerry Sumney provides informed, understandable, and interesting descriptions of the biblical terrain from Genesis to Revelation, calling attention both to prominent features and important particulars. 'Tourists' who have been this way before as well as those who have not will profit from the knowledge that Sumney shares on this enlightening journey through the Bible."
Helps students to realize they can still be faithful yet also think critically about their faith and Scripture. . .
“The challenge many of my students have is first being willing to critique the Bible as a piece of literature. Many of them do not believe it is appropriate to do so. The Sumney volume helps them to realize they can still be faithful yet also think critically about their faith and Scripture.”
A valuable resource both in the classroom and for personal study. . .
"This comprehensive guide to the Bible, full of helpful charts and illustrations, will prove a valuable resource both in the classroom and for personal study. Sumney keeps an excellent balance between the big picture—for those beginning to explore the Bible—and the more sophisticated details that will assist those who seek to expand their biblical knowledge."
Features type that's easy on the eyes and includes full-color photos on nearly every page. . .
“I selected Sumney for my class because, honestly, I thought my freshman students would be more likely to read it. It features type that's easy on the eyes and includes full-color photos on nearly every page. Sumney's text allows me to assign them manageable readings over the topics we'll be covering for the day. I've found Sumney to be a helpful summarizer of the biblical narratives we cover for each day.”
A clear, concise, and engaging invitation to the study of the most influential book on the history of Western civilization. . .
"Jerry Sumney's The Bible: An Introduction provides a clear, concise, and engaging invitation to the study of the most influential book on the history of Western civilization, without sacrificing either the complexities of academic approaches to biblical studies or the nuances of people's relationships with biblical texts within all kinds of communities of commitment. This book embodies such a delicate balance, struck so appropriately, and should not be overlooked!"
This textbook united the class in a quest for understanding the Bible and in an experience of being a community despite our differences. . .
"What amazed me was how this textbook united [the class] in a quest for understanding the Bible and in an experience of being a community despite our differences. Here is a quote from one of the young men. 'In this class, we all pushed forward and studied biblical texts hand in hand, regardless of religious identification or beliefs. This was definitely something I thought was cool.' What a testimony! What made this happen? Multiple students noted that this textbook is 'like a conversation that I can actually follow.'”
Hear praise from Taylor Agan, a student user at Belmont University!
Hear praise from Beth Marie Halvorsen, who used the textbook at Belmont University
Jerry Sumney gives tips for teaching his book
This Study Companion is a handy complement to The Bible: An Introduction textbook, providing primary readings and a running glossary of terms keyed to the textbook along with exercises for further reflection.