The Bible in World History: Putting Scripture into a Global Context
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Number of Pages: 288
Publication Date: 2011
|Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 X 0.50 (inches)|
Availability: Expected to ship on or about 05/04/15.
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Dr. Stephen Leston is pastor of Kishwaukee Bible Church in DeKalb, Illinois. He is passionate about training people for ministry and has served as a pastor at Grace Church of DuPage (Warrenville, Illinois) and Petersburg Bible Church (Petersburg, Alaska).
Dr. Leston uses two things to support his theory. He frequently uses Bible verses, connecting them accurately to historical events, and then he uses those connections to show how God shapes the world to fulfill his divine will. Leston writes in a style similar to the stereotypical history textbook. Thankfully, he does make clear points and explains his thoughts better than some textbooks. But, overall, his style is rather academic. The book has many illustrations, though sometimes they do not correspond directly with the content of the page and can be distracting. Dr. Leston is qualified to write this book because he is a pastor, holds a doctorate, and has contributed to several Bible commentary books.
The author steps through biblical and world events from Creation to the downfall of the Roman Empire. Throughout these events, Leston uses Bible verses to connect world events with biblical references. One particular example of this is how he shows how one Babylonian king corresponds to a king mentioned in the Bible, even though they are known by different names. He emphasizes how God seems to balance world powers, by observing how the empires of the ancient world rose and declined. Leston says that "one thing we learn from scriptures is that God is ultimately the one who elevates and deposes kings and kingdoms" (see Daniel 2:21). He uses these things to aim the reader toward a realization that someday Jesus will replace the governments of the world.
Though well researched and illuminating in some areas, I was expecting the author to tie in Bible predictions to the entire globe; when he leaves his area of expertise (the ancient Middle East), he fails to connect other worldwide events to theology. Still, he does manage to make his points convincing, and his use of the Bible is clever in the fact that he manages to balance his own opinions with support from the Bible verses. Leston's strengths are in his knowledge of history and the Bible, not in his writing delivery. I think this book would be fitting for a church library and for adults interested specifically in biblical history. It's accurate and deep, but very slow reading. Joshua Spotts, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
TerryClinton Twp . MIAge: Over 65Gender: female1 Stars Out Of 5May 15, 2013TerryClinton Twp . MIAge: Over 65Gender: femaleQuality: 1Value: 1Meets Expectations: 1It gave me a greater understaning of the time line of
events. Very informative and well written.
phillandAustin, TXAge: Over 65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Excellent resource for seekers & Bible studiesApril 25, 2013phillandAustin, TXAge: Over 65Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5The material in this book is well researched and documented extensively. It is presented in easily understood terminology and you won't need a PhD to appreciate the content. The way the author was able to relate other historical cultures and activities to the timeline with the unfolding events of the Bible is enjoyable and impressive.
ScottSpencer, TNAge: 45-54Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Christian bird's eye view of History w/illust.January 28, 2013ScottSpencer, TNAge: 45-54Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Short enough to read in 2-3 hours. Very informative highlighting 6,000 years, while grouping logical periods of time together. A mix of History, Bible, and Archaeology through words, photos, and timelines. A keeper for me, and I'm purchasing other copies to share.
bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5for new Christians, lots of picturesAugust 27, 2011bookwomanjoanOak Harbor, WAAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 3"This book focuses on events that took place in world history while the events of the Bible unfolded." (5) "...[T]he events of the world are not separate from the events recorded in Scripture." (9) The author does not intend to solve all the historical mysteries (such as issues of dates) but to connect the events of world history to the events of the Bible.
An underlying assumption is that "God is the God of all history." (6) "As we study the fulness of history unfolding before us, we can see God at work in the world, carrying out His plan for the ages." (8)
Abraham's rejection of a polytheistic religion in Ur sets the stage for the creation account. That all mankind was created in the image of God and is descended from one couple has important ramifications. The first sin gives us important insight into the condition of society today. (The murder of Able murder could have been later in Cain's life. There might have been 120,000 people on the earth in 800 years.) Industry, trade, language, writing and the development of religion are addressed. The authors continue with the violent nature of civilization at the time of Noah, then the implications of the Tower of Babel.
The developed culture or Ur, from which Abram came, is shown as is the society in Egypt. Next is the sophisticated culture of Canaan during the Bronze Age, the time of Abraham's migration, and the contemporary Code of Hammurabi.
Archaeological discoveries revealing information about the conquest era are covered, including the religion of the Canaanites. The rule in Egypt during the Israelite enslavement is briefly considered, as are changes in India and Greece.
The shifts in world powers during the existence of the nation of Israel are examined "to see how God interacted in the midst of them with the nation of Israel for His redemptive purpose." (95) During the time of David was the Mayan civilization in the Americas and the rise of the Zhou dynasty in China. The Assyrians and Babylonians, were influential during the divided kingdom. Sparta, Athens, Pythagoras, the development of Buddhism, the Medes and Persians (with added emphasis on the Persian empire and the story of Esther), Confucius, Sun Tzu, the influence of Greek thought, the transition from Greeks to Romans and the inter-testamental history, and the expansion of the church are all explored.
This is not a scholarly work. Do not expect discussions on details, such as the date of the Exodus. This book records the overall work of God in history. It is aimed, I think, at the relatively new Christian. It will make a nice coffee table book but is not suitable for intense study on any particular aspect of the Bible and world history.
There are lots of full page color pictures, maps, and time lines. (I am not sure of the purpose for some pictures, as a full page spread on The Art of War by SunTzu, or the full page photo of a statue of Aristotle, or the full page photo of the bust of Pericles, or the full page photo of the bronze doors in the Roman senate, or Hannibal.)
At the end of each major section is a reflection as to the relevance of the previous information to Christians and how they live in the world today.
Leston's prayer is that we would have a bigger view of God after reading this book. His encouragement: "Therefore, let us take hope in the power of our God and the promise that history is moving toward the establishment of His King." (91)
I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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