Augsburg Fortress

The Bible: An Introduction, Second Edition

The Bible: An Introduction, Second Edition

What is the Bible? How did it get to us? Why are translations so different? And what influence has the Bible had on culture? From its very first pages, The Bible: An Introduction, Second Edition offers clear answers to the most basic questions that first-time students and curious inquirers bring to the Bible.
Without presuming either prior knowledge of the Bible or a particular attitude toward it, Jerry L. Sumney uses straightforward language to lead the reader on an exploration of the Bible’s contents and the history of its writings, showing how critical methods help readers understand what they find in the Bible.
This second edition offers revised chapters and auxiliary material and new discussions of biblical studies methods and the question of inspiration. It can be purchased individually or as part of a Course Pack which included the Study Companion. Neither polemical nor apologetic, The Bible presents the biblical writings as the efforts of men and women in the past to understand their lives and their world in light of the ways they understood the divine.


  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451469240
  • eBook ISBN 9781451484335
  • Age/Grade Range Adult
  • Dimensions 7.5 x 9.25
  • Pages 464
  • Course Level Introductions
  • Publication Date June 1, 2014


What do students think of using The Bible: An Introduction, Second Edition?
New interview with student Zach Beck!

Hear praise from Taylor Agan, a student user at Belmont University!

Hear praise from Beth Marie Halvorsen, who assigned the textbook at Belmont University!

"The Bible: An Introduction, Second Edition was extremely successful in providing an accessible introduction to a wide variety of student types. Jerry Sumney's writing is remarkably clear and easy to understand, and because of this, the textbook is highly successful in conferring its points to students with various backgrounds and levels of knowledge about the Bible. While the biblical texts themselves can be at times foreign, daunting, and confusing to the lay reader, Sumney is able to perpetually hit at the heart and focus of the matter, guiding the reader through a labyrinth of potential pitfalls."
—Zach Beck, student
Missouri State University

"Serving as an expert tour guide, Jerry Sumney provides informed, understandable, and interesting descriptions of the biblical terrain from Genesis to Revelation, calling attention both to prominent features and important particulars. 'Tourists' who have been this way before as well as those who have not will profit from the knowledge that Sumney shares on this enlightening journey through the Bible."
—Victor Paul Furnish
University Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Southern Methodist University, Dallas

"The challenge many of my students have is first being willing to critique the Bible as a piece of literature. Many of them do not believe it is appropriate to do so. The Sumney volume helps them to realize they can still be faithful yet also think critically about their faith and Scripture."
—Roy Garton,
Baylor University

"This comprehensive guide to the Bible, full of helpful charts and illustrations, will prove a valuable resource both in the classroom and for personal study. Sumney keeps an excellent balance between the big picture—for those beginning to explore the Bible—and the more sophisticated details that will assist those who seek to expand their biblical knowledge."
—Leticia Guardiola–Sáenz
Assistant Professor of Christian Scriptures
Seattle University

"I selected Sumney for my class because, honestly, I thought my freshman students would be more likely to read it. It features type that's easy on the eyes and includes full-color photos on nearly every page. Sumney's text allows me to assign them manageable readings over the topics we'll be covering for the day. I've found Sumney to be a helpful summarizer of the biblical narratives we cover for each day."
—Jesse Hoover,
Baylor University

"Jerry Sumney's The Bible: An Introduction provides a clear, concise, and engaging invitation to the study of the most influential book on the history of western civilization, without sacrificing either the complexities of academic approaches to biblical studies or the nuances of people's relationships with biblical texts within all kinds of communities of commitment. This book embodies such a delicate balance, struck so appropriately, and should not be overlooked!"
—Davina C. Lopez
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Eckerd College, Saint Petersburg

"What amazed me was how this textbook united [the class] in a quest for understanding the Bible and in an experience of being a community despite our differences. Here is a quote from one of the young men. 'In this class, we all pushed forward and studied biblical texts hand in hand, regardless of religious identification or beliefs. This was definitely something I thought was cool.'  What a testimony!  What made this happen? Multiple students noted that this textbook is 'like a conversation that I can actually follow'.”
—Beth Marie Halvorsen
Belmont University


Reviews for the First Editon:

Review in Bible Today

Reviews for the Second Editon and Study Companion:

Review in Bible Today (2015)


To receive the Premade Test and Answer Key for this textbook contact our Textbook Adoption Consultant at

How to teach this book

A word for those whose field is not biblical studies

Sample syllabus from the author

Syllabi from current users

Introduction to the Literature and World of the New Testament , Missouri State University, Mark Given

The Christian Scriptures, Baylor University, Jesse Hoover

The Christian Scriptures, Baylor University, Roy E. Garton