I recently finished the book Making Senses Out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did. The book was obviously meant for Catholics so I am not sure why my brother recommended it. Based on the subtitle, one might expect to see how the different Christian groups each viewed the Bible. What the author Mark Shea actually discussed is how the modern church views the Bible.
There were multiple Christian groups with different views about Jesus as well different interpretations of the Old Testament writings. Bart D. Ehrman has a great series through the teaching company called Lost Christianities: Christian Scripture and the Battles over Authentication that discuss these other views in detail. Even though the so called heretics where not discussed, Shea does not provide any evidence that the successful "orthodoxy" actually interpreted scripture the way he claims.This does not mean that they didn't, only that he fails to support his assertion.
The book is mostly about how the Catholic church views the Bible and how to deal with the inconsistencies. There are several issues I have with much of what he says but is a disagreement of opinion. However, in one of the last chapters he gets to the mistranslation of Isaiah relating to the virgin birth. First admits the mistranslation then that it probably should not have been translated incorrectly but then suggests that the mistranslation may have been inspired.
His defense of not just the misreading of Isaiah but of all claims to supposed prophecies that really have nothing to do with Jesus opens creates a large problem. Some of the so called prophecies Jesus fulfilled were not actual prophecies. Shea claims that after Jesus, the existence of these prophecies could be seen. However, we cannot be sure what Jesus really did as we have no eye witness accounts and even if he did those things that supposedly were prophesied, it would be wrong to reread into ancient texts meaning that they did not have from the beginning.
To illustrate how useless it is to try to read prophecies with the benefit of hindsight, consider the case of Nostradamus. Nostradamus writings were very cryptic but that has not prevented people from taking the words and claiming that he predicted everything from World War I, World War II to 9/11. Of course he did not actually predict any of this but with the hindsight bias, it is easy to read into previous works meaning that they do not have.
For early first century Christians wanting to share their beliefs, embellishing a story to make it seem like Jesus fulfilled a prophecy that he never did or to illustrate an important teaching may have seemed justified. This does not mean that Jesus was not born of a virgin or that he was not born in Bethlehem, tough neither one seems likely. This just means that if you believe these things, you believe by faith.