This Bible dictionary is more than I could have hoped for! It is overflowing with cross-references, numerous entries, fabulous photographs, and informative illustrations. Not only is it a new favorite Biblical resource for me, but my children are enjoying it as well.
As a dictionary, it has limitations. It is not a comprehensive source for every interpretation or nuance of each entry. This would not be practical in a bound book. However, it is a great place to start researching and learning more about a particular topic.
Honestly, I have always wanted a Bible dictionary, but I could not justify spending the money for something we may or may not use. I didn't realize how helpful it would be and how much we would want to use it. Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary has become a favorite resource in our household.
I did receive this dictionary from the publisher for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
Nelsons Illustrated Bible Dictionary, New and Enhanced Edition, edited by Ronald F. Youngblood with consulting editors F. F. Bruce and R. K. Harrison, is a current source of Biblical information that is thorough and easy to understand. First published in 1986 then revised in 1995, this latest revision contains more than 7,000 entries regarding people, places, things, and doctrines of the Bible in a single volume.
The many features of this Bible dictionary are quite impressive. Key words are based on the New King James Version of the Bible, but variant names from five other versions (KJV, NASB, REB, NIV, and NRSV) are fully cross-referenced to this. It also contains more than 500 updated or enhanced full-color photographs to illustrate Bible subjects, outlines of the books of the Bible to aid teaching, a map index and full-color maps, articles to address special topics, charts, tables, and The Visual Survey of the Bible. The enlarged print makes it easier to use than many other Bible dictionaries with small fonts.
I was impressed with this Bible Dictionary. I especially liked the hard cover and larger type print. The entries are well-written and easy to understand. The lettered index tabs make it easier to locate words quickly, and the maps were clear and simple to use.
I would recommend this resource for anyone attempting to understand the Bible more fully.
I received this book free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review.
How exactly do you a review a dictionary? Especially a Bible dictionary which is really more of a one volume encyclopedia. I mean, its not like anybody is going to wait for me to read this thing cover to cover. And then what? Review each entry? I dont think so.
What I decided to do was incorporated this particular Bible Dictionary into my regular studies and see if it was a tool that I could use. Turns out, it is something I can use and enjoy using.
Heres the basics; its easy to read and easy to find stuff. Without those two elements a dictionary is useless. Likewise, the entries are well written and informative with plenty of cross-references to keep you flipping pages to find out more.
Some of the added bonuses are nice; Teaching outlines for every book of the Bible, maps, a visual survey of the Bible that is easy to follow and packed with information, graphical historical surveys for Old Testament, New Testament, and the world at large, and finally a helpful guide on how to incorporated the dictionary into your regular study. Not to mention the maps, surveys and pictures are all in color which really does help make them easier to understand.
The hardcover edition is also solid as a brick and weighs a little over 5 pounds. So, if youre ever attacked while studying the Bible it becomes a handy weapon. Gods Word may be a two-edged sword, but this dictionary could definitely cause some blunt force trauma.
Its not entirely perfect though. During my study I was looking into the Lords Supper. This dictionary erroneously defines consubstantiation as a view of the Lords Supper developed by Martin Luther. Unfortunately, Martin Luther actually repudiated this view, but, for whatever reasons, those outside Lutheranism continue to use this label to describe the Lutheran view. You cant winem all, I suppose.
Overall, this dictionary is worth the price and a great tool to aid any student of the Bible.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Beautiful, vast, but could still benefit from revision
October 21, 2014
Nelsons Illustrated Bible Dictionary (New and Enhanced Edition), edited by Ronald F. Youngblood, is Thomas Nelsons thoroughly revised and updated edition to the original 1986 publication. This is a hefty tome (5 lbs.!) with all full-color pages and a font size that is typical of any normal reading material, which is larger than most other dictionary and encyclopedic texts. It is thorough, containing entries for virtually every person, place, thing, idea, and action explicitly stated in the Bible (the list of plants and animals alone are quite lengthy) regardless of the brevity of mention in Scripture. (Do you remember Arphaxad? No? Well, hes in there.) It also includes important topics that are necessary to Bible study (e.g., literary genre, historical entries, etc.), a great number of charts and graphs, and the like. A brief Study and Teaching Outline and important theological themes is provided for each book of the Bible.
What I appreciate:
1) The sheer number of entries, references, and its 2) readability are quite wonderful, but its also 3) a beautiful, well put together volume.
4) There is a brief, charted history of Bible events and themes that comprises roughly twenty-five pages of the introduction.
5) For those new to more in depth Bible study, the text begins with a step-by-step approach to using this resource, one I believe many will find quite helpful so as to discourage simply finding an entry, reading it, and assuming thats the end of the matter.
What I dont appreciate as much:
1) When much interpretation is necessary, this dictionary leans heavily on a dispensational, premillennial perspective (if that means anything to the reader of this review), not to the utter exclusion of other perspectives (there is sometimes a sentence or phrase nodding to others, or the mere mention of there being other more complex understandings without noting them), but also not very helpful for those who are interested in serious inquiry. However, though they are often of considerable importance to those looking for a study reference, considering the number of these related entries to those not so related, they are miniscule in number and may not sway one in whether or not to pick up this resource. (I should include a positive note here, in that if particular words are not explicitly found in the Bible, they are likely not to have an entry in the text. Relevant to my complaint about the given perspectival leaning, there is surprisingly and encouragingly no entry for the dispensationalists definition of Rapturethere is simply no such entry.)
2) Though this is an illustrated dictionary, one may not be so impressed by the way in which it is so. Many (certainly not all) of the pictures found within seem to be haphazardly placed without consideration of context. Its as if those in charge of design layout thought, What if people read a dictionary like they would a book, from page to page, and we wanted them to serendipitously discover something new or just see a pretty picture about a place or thing that really has nothing to do with its origin? We have all these pictures available to us, so lets use them! A thorough revision of the use and placement of such illustrations would be helpful. A number of maps and charts fall into this category, as well.
3) Due to the aforementioned, a separate index of illustrations (pictures, maps, charts, etc.) would prove to be helpful so one may find them.
When considering acquisition of a study resource, one must consider the need and depth to which one wants to go. This is a single volume meant (I believe) for just give me some answers and references kind of study. This is not an exhaustive, nor exhausting, set that can get the non-scholar bogged down in weighty detail. For those looking for the former, the text at hand may suffice. For those looking for the latter, this is not that resource. (For the latter, I recommend looking into a larger set like the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary.)
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.