There are two distinct yet important ways of interpreting the Bible: The one is that of the scholar who knows the Bible from the linguistic, historical and literary point of view; the other, that of the man who knows life and who realizes the meaning and value of the Bible to those who are confronted by insistent social, economic and individual problems. These studies aim to combine both methods of interpretation.
Briefly defined the chief objects of these studies are:
(1) To introduce the men and women of to-day to that which is most vital in the literature and thought of the Old Testament.
(2) To interpret the often neglected Old Testament into the language of modern life simply and directly and in the light of that which is highest in the teachings of Christianity.
(3) To present the constructive results of the modern historical and literary study of the Bible, not dogmatically but tentatively, so that the reader and student may be in a position to judge for himself regarding the conclusions that are held by a large number of Biblical scholars and to estimate their practical religious value.
(4) To show how closely the Old Testament is related to the life of to-day and how it helps to answer the pressing questions now confronting the nations.
(5) To lead strong men to think through our national, social and individual problems, and to utilize fearlessly and practically the constructive results of modern method and research in the fields of both science and religion.
These studies are planned to meet the needs of college students and adult Bible classes. Those who are able to command more time and wish to do more thorough work will find in the list of Parallel Readings on the first page of each study carefully selected references to the best authorities on the subject treated. For their guidance are also provided Subjects for Further Study. In using this text-book the student may proceed as follows:
(1) Read carefully the Biblical passage indicated in connection with each title; for example, in the first study, Genesis 1 and 2.
(2) Read the Biblical and other quotations on the first page of each study. Unless otherwise indicated the Biblical quotations are from the American Revised Version. They include the most important Biblical passages. The other quotations embody some of the best contributions of ancient and modern writers to the subject under consideration.