A Little Book for New Bible Scholars, By E. Randolph Richards and Joseph R. Dodson
A Little Book for New Bible Scholars
  • Length: 126 pages
  • Dimensions: 4.25 × 7 in
  • Published: May 09, 2017
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 5170
  • ISBN: 9780830851706

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Many young Bible scholars are passionate for the Scriptures. But is passion enough?

In A Little Book for New Bible Scholars, Randolph Richards and Joseph Dodson encourage young students of the Bible to add substance to their zeal—the kind of substance that comes from the sweat and toil of hard study. "Just as we should avoid knowledge without love," they write, "we should also avoid love without knowledge."

Aimed at beginners, this concise overview offers a wealth of good advice, warns of potential pitfalls, and includes wisdom from a variety of other biblical scholars as well as stories from the authors' own long experience in the guild. Full of warmth, humor, and an infectious love for Scripture, this book invites a new generation of young scholars to roll up their sleeves and dig into the complex, captivating world of the Bible.

"Richards and Dodson give us all a profound gift, shining light on the 'narrow way' to sweet satisfaction in biblical scholarship. It is found not in exploiting a career for personal gain, social approval, or vanity, but in enjoying the riches of God's Word among God's people. This is a rich store of wisdom."

Timothy Gombis, professor of New Testament, Grand Rapids Theological Seminary

"A Little Book for New Bible Scholars is a fun and challenging look at the joys and realities of the academic study of the Bible. Richards and Dodson offer wise yet practical advice, peppered with words of warning, about studying the Bible academically. Not only is their advice for new scholars, it is also full of valuable reminders about the benefits and pitfalls of biblical learning for those of us who are no longer beginners."

Benjamin E. Reynolds, associate professor of New Testament, Tyndale University College, Toronto

"Whether starting out in formal biblical studies as a freshman at a Christian college or completing a PhD in Old or New Testament, students of the Bible need to read this little gem of a book. A veteran biblical scholar joins hands with a younger peer to offer all the right advice about how to approach one's career, what to avoid, and how to keep the main thing the main thing. Laced with humorous and incisive real-life stories and choice quotes from other scholars who have trodden the same path, this work represents Christian wisdom at its finest."

Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

"To snorkel or to dive? That is the question this little book asks its readers to consider. In a well-written and personally engaging reflection on the vocation of biblical studies, Richards, Dodson, and a collection of scholars invite would-be Bible students to consider anew the importance of the discipline of academic Bible study for the benefit of both one's personal life and the ministry of the church. The church of our time is desperate for the pastor-theologian who has the skill and the theologically chastened intuition to wrestle with the significant challenges of a twenty-first-century world with its lightning-fast revolutions in science, sexuality, and globalization—to name just a few. This kind of leader is increasingly becoming the most significant commodity for the twenty-first-century church. The authors are seasoned guides as well as cheerleaders for a new generation of lifelong students of Scripture for the sake of the Messiah Jesus' church."

Joel Willitts, professor of biblical and theological studies, North Park University

"A delightful read and absolutely on target, A Little Book for New Bible Scholars gets my highest praise and recommendation. It should be required reading early in the program for all students preparing for ministry."

J. Daniel Hays, Ouachita Baptist University

"Plotting a course of study or even a career in biblical studies can be fraught with many trials and temptations. In this charming little book, Joey Dodson and Randy Richards offer some sage advice to budding students of the Bible on how to keep their egos intact, how to keep their faith authentic, how to use their vat of new biblical knowledge to serve others, and how to grow as Christians through biblical studies. Everyone should read this book before seminary!"

Michael F. Bird, lecturer in theology, Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia

"This delightful volume is full of wit and wisdom not only for biblical scholars and theologians but for all students of the Word. The stories, anecdotes, and insights will encourage you to discover more deeply the riches of God's Word and the heart of Christian ministry."

Mark L. Strauss, university professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary San Diego

"Dodson and Richards have given young biblical scholars a book that charms while it instructs. Their combined years of wisdom are presented with whimsy and honesty that will be helpful in discernment for emerging biblical scholars. This book gets at not only the head knowledge, but also the heart. The interspersing of other biblical scholars throughout the book adds diversity, breadth, and weight to each chapter. As an advisor for students pursuing work in biblical scholarship as their vocation, this is precisely the kind of book I will gladly recommend to them!"

Beth M. Stovell, assistant professor of Old Testament, Ambrose Seminary

"This book is a gem and stands to be an appropriate gift for students entering Bible college or seminary. I would make it required reading for every ministerial student."

Allen D. Ferry, Journal of Ministry & Theology, Fall 2017

"In calling new scholars to worship God in their studies—and not to worship their studies in the name of God—the authors paint a glorious picture of the redeemed Bible scholar, dependent on grace and enslaved only to the benevolent King of kings. We need more Bible scholars. But especially, we need more Bible scholars like this."

Peter Krol, Bible Study Magazine


Introduction: A Noble Calling
1. Fall in Love
2. Have More Stuff and Less Fluff
3. Hold Your Horses
4. Don't Play Marbles with Diamonds
5. Speak the Local Language
6. Keep The Main Thing The Main Thing
7. Don't Get Puffed Up
8. Remember that Biblical Studies is an Equal Opportunity Vocation
9. Stay the Course
Conclusion: Don't Miss the Forest For the Trees
Name and Subject Index
Scripture Index


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E. Randolph Richards

E. Randolph Richards (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is provost and professor of biblical studies in the School of Ministry at Palm Beach Atlantic University. His many books include Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes, Rediscovering Jesus, Rediscovering Paul, The Story of Israel, and Paul and First-Century Letter Writing.

Joseph R. Dodson

Joseph R. Dodson (PhD, Aberdeen) is associate professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary, author of The "Powers" of Personification, and coauthor of A Little Book for New Bible Scholars.