John Shelby Spong was the Episcopal Bishop of Newark for 24 years prior to his retirement in 2000. Since then he has taught at several universities and lectured throughout North America and the English-speaking world. His books have sold over a million copies and he is regarded as one of Christianity's frontier twenty-first century thinkers. You can visit him online at www.JohnShelbySpong.com
In a chapter titled "Examining the Bible's Mystique," the author states, "I am not the enemy of the Bible. I am the enemy of the way the Bible has been understood and the way the Bible has been used. I do not think for one moment that the Bible is in any literal sense 'the Word of God.' " That is enough to drive away traditional Christians all over the world. But Spong is speaking to those who admit to being spiritual but not religious. He wants to give them a new tour of the Bible without the dogma, the literalism, and the infallibility. He warns that this journey will "embrace insecurity as a virtue and show how humanity is the road into divinity."
Spong, who admits to reading the Bible daily and having gone from cover to cover more than 25 times, takes us through it book-by-book in chronological order. He makes many interesting points along the way about Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, the prophets, the Virgin Birth, the four gospels, St. Paul, the Book of Revelation, and much more.
Near the end of the book, Spong writes:
"Underneath the time-bound and time-warped words of the Bible, I still find in the words of this book a sense that all life is holy, that all life is loved and that each of us is called to be all that we are capable of being. Those are the biblical themes that I hope our world never loses."