Blind Spots in the Bible

Puzzles and paradoxes that we tend to avoid

Adrian Plass

Currently out of print £7.99

Content

Why did Jesus weep at the tomb of Lazarus when he knew his friend was about to be raised to life?

Why was it all right for Zacchaeus to give away part of his wealth while the rich young man had to give it all?

What about that extraordinary passage in Genesis about angels marrying the daughters of men?

Although not offering easy answers, Adrian Plass opens up over 40 blind spots, asking searching questions and responding from his own vulnerable honesty.

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Author info

Adrian Plass is an internationally acclaimed writer and speaker. He has written many books, including The Unlocking and Blind Spots in the Bible for BRF, Jesus: Safe, Tender, Extreme (Zondervan, 2006) and contributes to New Daylight Bible reading notes. He also features as presenter on the DVD for Foundations21, BRF's multi-media discipleship resource.

Reviews

From: The Church Times - 18 May 2007

The 'blind spots' in the Bible which Adrian Plass examines are variously defined. Sometimes they are passages that he has simply been blind to, either through negligence or deliberate omission. Sometimes they are 'hard sayings', or apparent contradictions - things that make the reader think, 'Surely not?' Jesus' apparently deliberately deceiving his brothers over his intentions about going to Jerusalem is one example (John 7:10) of this.

And sometimes they are not much more than things that are simply beyond human comprehension - 'war in heaven', for instance.

The treatment of them is as varied as the subject matter. The author tends to treat the biblical text with kid gloves; so for the most part the investigation is not so much meaning or interpretation as of personal application - and it is here that Plass is such a good guide. There is a great deal of autobiographical material (probably too much), and there are some imaginative dramatic reconstructions, colourfully and wittily told. Zaccheus' discussion with the Rich Young Ruler of the requirements Jesus had laid on each of them ('half your goods'... 'all that you have') is a priceless example.

Just occasionally, this verges on whimsy, and once or twice the biblical mountain erupts to produce a very tiny mouse. Yet, among the laughs and anecdotes, there is a great deal to mull over in these pages. It would make a stimulating book for a home study group.

Reviewed by David Winter

From: The Methodist Recorder - 22 March 07

Adrian Plass has turned his attention to biblical passages - some well-known, some less so - which can tease and challenge the reader. {Blind Spots in the Bible} ranges over both the Old and New Testaments. The chapter on "The sadness of it all" is triggered by the shortest verse in the Bible: 'Jesus wept' (John 11:35)., while "Lustful angels and war in heaven" considers verses in Genesis, Daniel, Jude, Luke, Peter and Revelation which describe conflict in heaven and lead the author to accept that some mysteries msut await explanation: to "know Jesus" is enough.

Discussion of these biblical imponderables is conducted in Adrian Plass's customary well-balanced and humorous style, resulting in a book which invites personal study or group discussion.

From: Woman Alive - February 07

This is not a Lent book, but as it is arranged in six sections of five or six short chapters each ending with a prayer, it could be used in this way. Here, Adrian looks at many of the passages that have previously troubled him; why did Jesus weep at the tomb of Lazarus when he knew he was about to raise him from the dead? And what's that bit in Genesis about angels marrying the beautiful daughters of men? With his characteristic frankness, Adrian ponders each puzzling scenario in an attempt to understand more of God's word.

From: The Church of England Newspaper - 08 December 06

One of the most popular writers and speakers of the present day, Adrian Plass takes a calculated dive into controversial waters. He looks at several Bible passages which he admits have caught his attention, but only out of the corner of his eye, as he carried on with the central theme of the passage in question. Now, however, he takes time out to look at the passages, and ask, 'why?'

For example, he asks why Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus, when he knew full well that he would shortly raise him from the dead. Or why the prophet in 1 Kings 20 was killed by a lion for not allowing one of his companions to strike him. Or the comments of Jesus in John 16 when he declares that although we will have trouble in this world, he has overcome the world, and Plass asks why are these contradictory statements in the Bible.

It is undeniable that there are confusing elements to the text of the Bible and some passages are certainly reminiscent of a riddle wrapped in a conundrum. Theologians have long speculated over passages such as these and, while it would be unrealistic to claim that Plass has solved all the mysteries, he does offer interesting theories that all lead to one major conclusion.

He writes at one point: "I probably know and have supplied most of the statutory answers to these questions, but I have never found any of them very satisfying. Nowadays, I make no attempt to pretend otherwise. I have no doubt that God does not wish in any sense to be 'let off the hook'. This makes explanations difficult to say the very least."

And he goes on to point out that even if we did know all the detail, we might not understand it anyway, and ultimately the only answer is to be found in Jesus.

But the chief conclusion of the book comes in the final section: A Caring God, which has valuable insights to impart, although some fundamentalist Christians may not entirely agree with the writer.

Nevertheless, Plass has used an interesting format to raise pertinent questions, of which there probably cannot be a resolution, in a way that emphasises the love of God.

There is certainly much to think about in this well-written volume.

Reviewed by Nick Mackenzie

Book details

  • ISBN: 9781841015057
  • Published: 20 October 2006
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
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