I'm quite surprised by the number of contradictory factual errors in this "revised and updated" book. I'm working through the minor prophets for a Bible study. For example: in Understanding Zephaniah: it states, "The book was likely written between 735 and 725 BC." Then on the next page it says, "Zephaniah began his ministry as a prophet in the early days of the reign of Josiah (641-610 BC). So it was written nearly 100 years BEFORE he began his ministry??? This isn't the only error I've found. It unfortunately makes me question everything in it. (Not to mention that the author will state things as facts (like that the Hezekiah mentioned in Zephaniah 1:1 was the King Hezekiah of Scripture when the verse doesn't give him the title of king as it did Josiah in the same verse (or as was the custom the way the other prophets would refer to kings), nor were there enough years between King Hezekiah and Zephaniah to have allowed for it to be true. Yes, some believe it to be true; but don't state it as a given fact when there is clear opposition to it being true. State all the possibilities at least. I just don't feel safe trusting it as a source. Triple-check your facts before quoting it.
I first came across this book at an Evangelical Free Church in Tacoma, WA. The pastors wife was using it in her Sunday school class. I was surprised at how thorough and how Dr. Mears brought out so much in just a few pages. I am glad this very useful book has never gone out of print. Great for new believers who want to know what each book of the Bible is about. I have used it off and on for over 45 years.
This is a time-tested Bible handbook that is now available in a form updated to include use of the NIV translation of the Bible. I think this would be a great Bible handbook for anyone to have in their reference collection. Dr. Mears' book is an excellent, well-organized resource to aid anyone as they seek to study and understand Scripture and how it applies to our lives today.
I bought this book a couple of years ago and I've been using it ever since. I am buying copies for my colleagues now because of Christianbooks' fantastic sale and because I believe every Bible student and especially teachers should have it in their library.