I just finished reading Bart Ehrman's Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible. I had read (and liked) Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why a few years ago, so when his latest book popped up on my Kindle, it was oh-so-easy to click "buy"!
In Jesus, Interrupted, Ehrman considers the Bible from a historical-critical perspective (rather than a devotional approach). He considers questions such as: What do the writings mean in their original historical context? Who were the actual authors? (Hint: not whom you might think!) Those authors lived in their unique time and place with a particular set of cultural and religious assumptions. What were they trying to say?
Ehrman details how the Bible is filled with discrepancies, many small but some quite significant. For example, a side-by-side comparison of the four gospels reveals irreconcilable differences in the accounts of Jesus' birth, baptism, and resurrection. (This was not news to me. Many years back--probably 10 or 15?--I decided to read the entire Bible from beginning to end and found such differences myself.) Ehrman asserts that if one tries to reconcile the discrepancies between various books (or even within the individual books), one will miss the larger theological point of the author.
Jesus, Interrupted also considers topics such as what can be known about the historical Jesus and how the 27 canonical books of the New Testament were chosen over the many other letters, Acts, and gospels that existed. I found of particular interest how the religion of Jesus became a religion about Jesus -- and unfortunately anti-Semitic along the way.
People who base their faith on the Bible being inerrant and written-by-the-hand-of-God will likely be threatened by this book. But I have a hunch many of those people wouldn't consider reading it anyway. I think people who would particulary benefit from reading Jesus, Interrupted are those who have dismissed the Bible as being misogynistic, homophobic, and ultimately irrelevant. I think Ehrman, by putting things into the proper perspective, just may help salvage the Bible for them.