Although I took several English classes studying the works of Shakespeare, I have to admit I wasn’t disappointed years later to encounter several series that explained the basic plot points, themes and significance of the various plays. It isn’t that I can’t understand the plays themselves, but sometimes it is nice to have everything summed up for me before I dive into the intricacies.
The Bible is an interesting book. It is both very basic and straightforward and extremely complex and mysterious. The combination can make some people afraid to even open it. (Translations using archaic English don’t help, either.) What many people need is someone to give them a big picture view before they read the Bible and try to understand the finer points.
I was interested to get a chance to review Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible: Understanding the Big Picture Book-by-Book by Dr. William H. Marty and Dr. Boyd Seevers. The authors break down the Bible one book per chapter. Within each chapter, they provide the setting, summary and significance of that particular book of the Bible.
Books like this can be tricky. Bibles can have summaries, but they tend to be very brief and gloss over an entire book. The authors of this book tend to group chapters together with similar themes or stories and summarize each unit within a book separately. On the other hand, some books claim to give an overview of Bible books, but become bogged down and are often harder to understand than the original text. Marty and Seevers give you enough information to be informed, but not so much you are overwhelmed.
While this book may be a little above the reading comprehension or interest of children, some teens may benefit from having it as a reference book. As a parent, this book can be very helpful when you are planning home devotionals and Bible studies. You can easily take the information and break it down to the things that would most interest your children about the basics and themes of each book of the Bible you study.
Personally, I have to give credit to the authors. Books like this can be very divisive. The authors did a good job of side stepping possible theological debates. I am sure everyone could find something to debate, but for the most part it appears the authors take the Bible at its word. They don’t attempt to insert a lot of modern theological debates, but stick to the facts as written and the basic themes of the books which I would imagine most Christians would accept as valid. I was even surprised to see they handled a book like Revelation in a pretty straightforward fashion. Since they don’t attempt to claim to interpret every single verse, I think they were able to make even Revelation a little more approachable.
If the Bible has intimidated you to the point you are afraid to study it with your children, then this book may give you the help you need. Having the basics explained may give you the courage to tackle discussions of the various stories and lessons in the Bible. It won’t answer all of the questions your children may ask, but it can help you focus your children on at least the big pictures in God’s Word.
Personally, I plan to keep this book around for my reference library. If I need to lead a study on a particular book, it will give me some of the basics to share with others in a clear, understandable format.
This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I plan to keep this one in my reference library for future use.