With over a quarter million copies in print, the Hard Sayings series has proved itself
among readers as a helpful guide to Bible difficulties. The series was launched with the publication
of F. F. Bruce’s The Hard Sayings of Jesus in 1983, with subsequent volumes appearing in 1988,
1989, 1991 and 1992. Those volumes included Hard Sayings of the Old Testament and More Hard
Sayings of the Old Testament, by Walter C. Kaiser Jr., and Hard Saying of Paul and More
Hard Sayings of the New Testament, by Manfred T. Brauch and Peter H. Davids, respectively. This
edition combines the five earlier versions with new material from Walter Kaiser and Peter Davids. Over
one hundred new verses have been added to the list of texts explained, as well as a dozen introductory
articles addressing common questions that recur throughout the Bible. The result is that all of the Old
Testament texts have been addressed by Walter Kaiser; F. F. Bruce’s work is confined to the Synoptic
Gospels, with one addition to the Gospel of John; Manfred Bruach’s work is confined to Paul’s epistles;
and Peter Davids’s contribution ranges throughout the whole of the New Testament. The general introduction
that follows distills the key introductory remarks from the various authors of the separate pieces.
The authors share the conviction that the Bible is God’s inspired and authoritative
word to the church, but careful readers will observe that they do not all agree on the best solutions
to certain Bible difficulties. This is as it should be. If everyone agreed on the best solutions to
these questions, they wouldn’t be hard sayings.
What F. F. Bruce wrote in his introduction to The Hard Sayings of Jesus can likely
be said of nearly all the difficult texts in this collection: they may be hard for two different reasons.
First are those that, because of differences in culture and time, are hard to understand without having
their social and historical backgrounds explained. Second are those that are all too easily understood
but that challenge the ways we think and act. As Mark Twain reportedly once remarked, it wasn’t the parts
of the Bible that he didn’t understand that bothered him but those parts that were perfectly clear.
This volume is published with the hope that the former kinds of difficulties may have
some helpful light shined on them. We hope, however, in the name of explanation, never to blunt the force
of latter kinds of difficulties, where God’s Word confronts us to change and conform us into the image
of Jesus Christ.