How can people taking diametrically opposing positions on contemporary issues--dividing both religious communities and society--quote the Bible in support of their views? What does it mean to make a claim that the Bible says or teaches something? Why appeal to the Bible at all? Whose interpretation is the right one? If you've felt confused about the Bible's role or authority in such controversies, this book may help. The author draws upon his more than forty years of pastoral ministry and seminary teaching experience as he examines the Bible--what it is (and isn't), how it came to be a sacred text for Jews and Christians, what kind of authority it has, and how that authority is used or misused. He does not attempt to take a position on the controversial issues themselves, but argues for understanding the Bible as a community product, arising out of the historical life of communities of faith, that then exerts a shaping or normative power in those communities through time, and asks how the Bible and the "Word of God" may be related in constructive ways.