Find much spiritual food in all of Mr. Stedman's books and have given this book to friends as well as use it for myself....not a replacement for God's Word, but excellent accompaniment....a weighty tome indeed, but beneficial whether wetting one's spiritual feet or fully immersed in the abundant flowing water of the Holy Spirit....lifting it frequently will build physical AND spiritual muscles!!
Ray Stedman was one of those men with whom I grew as a young Christian. His home church, The Peninsula Bible Church, was only 90 miles away from my home, giving me the opportunity to visit on more than one occasion as a young believer. His book Body Life was a must read for those of us beginning our Christian walk in the early 70's. It helped define much of what occurred in the way of discipleship for the church at that time.
This year, Discovery House has chosen to update and republish another important work by Ray Stedman, Adventuring Through the Bible. Earlier editions were published in 1997 and 2005, the most recent update being completed in 2012.
The book is a colorful introduction to scripture - a general introduction intended for a lay audience, but of use and interest to the men and women who find themselves in the pulpit week after week. Written as a series of essays, the book would appeal to the same audience as Henrietta Mears What the Bible Is All About. In addition to the main text, which focuses on the main sections of the Bible (Old Testament, Pentateuch, the Historical Books, the Writings, the Prophets, the New Testament, the Gospels, the Pauline Epistles, the General Epistles, and Revelation), it also includes a chapter on each book of the Bible, a large number of insets that explore topics of special interest to the Bible reader. Most chapters include a set of discussion questions allowing the book to be used as the basis for either personal or group Bible Study. Colorful pictures highlight much of the text, drawing the reader into the Biblical story - more so than some more scholarly introductions.
The book could certainly be used as a textbook for an undergraduate "Introduction to the Bible" course - it is too light to be the main text for a seminary or graduate school course, though it could be used as ancillary text in that context. Though I was provided an electronic version of this book for this review, this is one book that looks like it would be fun to have on the living room coffee table as a paper text. The book would also be of use to someone who has chosen to spend a year (or two or three) reading through the Bible.
It has been eleven years since Stedman has returned home, but his publishers continue to add value to his work if this book is evidence of what they are going to offer us.
This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.
Let me begin by saying that I finally found a timeline that synchronizes biblical events with other historical events to give me a better picture of how they fit together. I've been looking for something like this for years but haven't really found anything quite so comprehensive. There are even references to Bible era places with modern day equivalents (Ur of Chaldea is the modern day Iraq while Canaan is the modern day Palestine/Israel). This gave me a better handle on history and geography while giving me a modern day context.
There's a lot to like about this Bible guide. I like the author's description of how the Old Testament and New Testament complement each other. Stedman says that the Old Testament points to Jesus Christ and prepares us for the only One who satisfies. Not only that, but "the New Testament fulfills the promise of the Old--and we can't fully appreciate the profound meaning of the New Testament until we have first been awakened by the message of the Old Testament" (p. 27). I also appreciate how the author traces the stories in each of the books of the Bible showing how they seamlessly tell one big story.
Equally helpful are the Bible reading plans included at the end of the book, allowing readers to choose the plan that best fits them, or to choose different reading plans each go-round. There's even a two-year reading plan for those who find a one-year plan too intimidating.
This is truly a down-to-earth guide to the Bible that helps readers understand the historical and geographical contexts of each book. And it's written in a way that any reader can understand. It's not academic, so even my children can enjoy it. With 944 pages, it's comprehensive, and yet it's non-academic, making it accessible to most readers. If you only buy one Bible guide, buy this one!
What a terrific resource that provides a simple overview on each book of the Bible! There is an outline of each book, a timeline of key events, pictures and a general summary of each book of the Bible. Each chapter also includes discussion questions and personal applications for each book of the Bible that would make for a very interesting Bible Study discussion!!! A lot of planning and thought went into the development of this book which is actually a revision of an earlier edition. There are also five different reading plans to consider which will allow you to read the Bible in one year or two year's time.
Great resource that provides a quick snapshot and overview of the different books and key issues in the Bible.
A free electronic copy of this book was provided to me by Discovery House Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my fair and unbiased review of this book.