Book Review: Reading Scripture With the Saints


black-rswsBy Drew McIntyre To read the Bible alone, either personally or chronologically, is to tempt heterodoxy and stunt our growth as disciples of Jesus.  C.S. Lewis, in The Weight of Glory, comments, "A [person] who has lived in many places is not likely to be deceived by the local errors of his native village."  This conviction, applied to Scripture, drives an excellent new work by Princeton Seminary Professor and WNCC Elder Dr. C. Clifton Black.  Reading Scripture With the Saints (Eugene: Cascade Books 2014) is an illuminating look at Biblical interpretation through a wide variety of characters, from earliest days of the church to today. Dr. Black describes his book as a small museum.  There are large exhibits and small, rooms in which the reader will wish to roam around for a bit and some which one might pass through quickly.  Nevertheless, each room serves a purpose: to illuminate today's interpretation of Scripture with the best efforts of our forebears.  Professor Black includes in his lovely museum characters both beloved and surprising: Augustine, Benedict, Aquinas, and Luther all receive treatment,  but so do some unexpected guests like Charles Wesley (present here as an exegete, not merely a hymnist), Shakespeare, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln.  The chapter on the Trinity and exegesis is alone worth the price of admission. All Christians, by virtue of the faith which is our gift from the Holy Spirit and our inheritance from the saints, are inescapably readers of texts.  John Wesley famously told his preachers that if they did not like reading, they should find another vocation.  The text, of course, which followers of Jesus are called to acquaint ourselves most intimately is the Bible.

Too many Christians (especially Protestants) approach the Holy Writ as archaeologists who have discovered a treasure previously unseen.  We would do well, instead, to treat Scripture as an old treasure, long beloved.  To appreciate this treasure fully, to let its glow really penetrate our imaginations, requires spending time with those who have pored over these treasures before us.  

Clifton Black's Reading Scripture With the Saints invites readers to do that very thing.  Spend time in his museum of familiar and surprising saints.  You will come out better equipped to treasure Scripture - and with it, the Triune God Who is revealed therein - in all their resplendent beauty. Rev. Drew McIntyre is the pastor at West Bend UMC, Asheboro- and will be a guest on CONNECT on Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at


  • Resources
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