Unlocking the Bible: What It Is, How We Got It, and Why We Can Trust It
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Unlocking the Bible: What It Is, How We Got It, and Why We Can Trust It

Baker Books / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

Who decided which books should---and shouldn't---be in the Bible? Why isn't it in chronological order? Which translation is best? Believers and skeptics have questions, and Lasseigne provides clear answers. Discover the Bible's significance, origin, historical transmission, and trustworthiness; how to study and teach it to others; and more. (Some material appeared previously in Highway 66.) 320 pages, softcover from Baker.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Baker Books
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0801019176
ISBN-13: 9780801019173

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Publisher's Description

How We Got the Bible and Why It Is Reliable

The Bible is the bestselling, most read, most beloved, most criticized, most neglected, and most antagonizing book in history. It's also the most misunderstood--sometimes even by those who claim to follow its teachings. So what exactly is it? Who wrote it and how did those writings come together into what we now know as the Bible? And how do we know we can trust what it says?

For the curious reader, whether a lifelong Christian, a new believer, or an unconvinced skeptic, Unlocking the Bible provides the answers to these questions and more. In easy-to-understand language, it covers the Bible's origin, its transmission throughout history, its trustworthiness, and its significance. It also explains how to read this unique collection of religious texts and outlines how to study and teach it to others.

Author Bio

Jeff Lasseigne has been part of Harvest Christian Fellowship since 1980, and joined the pastoral staff in 1989. He teaches the midweek Bible study and, as one of the administrative pastors, assists with oversight of the church. Jeff has written two books, Highway 66 and Unlocking the Last Days, a verse-by-verse study through the book of Revelation. Jeff enjoys traveling, reading, and loves all things England. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in Riverside, California.

Product Reviews

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  1. Good Seed Sower
    Asheville, NC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Unlocking the Bible
    October 2, 2016
    Good Seed Sower
    Asheville, NC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Personally, I feel that Jeff L. did a fantastic job on this book. I own a ton of books about how to read & study the Bible. None of them provided the insight that this book provides. I have been studying the Bible for 30 years. Yet, in the first hundred pages, I have discovered so many treasures that have already provided me much clarity.

    We now live in an era where the text of the Bible is not taught much in far too many churches. Therefore, I feel that a resource such as this is sorely needed. We can not rely upon the church to provide all the knowledge that is necessary for true discernment of Bible scripture. While i know many stories of the Bible, Jeff has provided greatly needed information to really bring it all together for me.

    I will admit that I skipped the first few chapters & went straight for what was THE MEAT! ..... Understanding The Old Testament. I knew if I read this chapter and was able to come away with an inkling of a better understanding, then it was worth reading the book. And this was easily achieved for me.

    It has always been so stressful for me to not be able to make any sense of the O.T. I am not a "natural intellect ". I have to study & work at achieved intellect. And I was not raised in a Christian home; my story lines up closer to Greg Laurie's (Harvest.org) environment. When you have never had anyone to help with learning those basic fundamentals, well lets just say that I did the best I could. I own countless Bibles, all of which I have purchased along with study aids, study Bibles, reading aids, etc. (This is a pre-internet story folks! Just sayin .... It wasn't easy for me!! )

    Like another reviewer, I was not impressed with the section on how to teach the Bible. Regardless, even this chapter is worth perusing. I know many MANY .... (not a typo!) pastors who stand before congregations every week who would benefit just from reading the small section regarding the importance of teaching with accuracy!

    Bottomline folks: WELL WORTH THE 10 BUCKS. TEN STAR BOOK!

    I would challenge every person to read this and honestly say you didn't learn something.

    Jeff, for the culture & times that we presently live in, you hit a long homer in the bottom of the 10th inning of the 7th game in the World Series. Take your victory lap. For me, indeed a homer. And thank you so very much on so many levels, in so many distinct ways. Truly I am grateful.
  2. Clay
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Unlocking the Bible
    September 23, 2016
    Clay
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Having taught Bible introduction courses before, Im always interested in new resources to use in class. Lasseigne provides a new source that could easily be used in a church or undergraduate college course. He makes reading easy, laying the book out in a logical way. His inclusion of humor helps move the work along, although at times his use of humorous stories is a little overboard.

    The book is divided into two parts and begins with a general overview of how we got the Bible. From there, Lasseigne answers the question about trusting the Bible. The next three chapters give a quick overview of the Old Testament, the four hundred silent years between the testaments, and the New Testament.

    To finish the first part, two chapters on studying and teaching the Bible are included. Under teaching, Lasseigne intersperses suggestions for both teaching and preaching.

    The second part of the book consists of short chapters relating to each of the sixty-six books of the Bible. Each chapter follows the same format listing important information, fascinating facts, notable notes, and Christ-connections.

    The book will make a good addition to the list of resources that can be used to teach a basic biblical understanding.

    One minor quibble. On page ninety-six, the editors failed to catch that the book of Matthew is credited with providing both Josephs and Marys genealogy of Jesus. Im sure Luke would feel slighted.
  3. Steve
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    A solid introduction to the Bible for beginners
    September 19, 2016
    Steve
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    As in every age, there is a lot of interest in the Bible. Ask the average Christian and they will tell you that they know they should be reading the Bible more. People who are curious about Christianity understand that this is the book on which the faith is based. But for many people, wading into the Bible is a deep mystery. Where do you even start? Why are the different books in the Bible so different? What is the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament?

    For people who ask these questions, Jeff Lasseigne has written Unlocking the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2016). This book aims to give you an overview of the Bible, illustrating how the pieces fit together and giving some tools for how to understand where the Bible came from, where a given book fits into the Bibles story, how to study a passage and get as much as you can out of it, and even how to effectively teach the Bible to others. It's an ambitious target, and the results are hit-and-miss.

    It should be stated right up front that this is a book for somebody who is fairly new to the topic. There are nuggets in here that are helpful, but if you are generally familiar with the Bible, you would probably do better looking at a book that specializes in the area that interests you. The material is good, but it is definitely a beginner's level. There is only so much you can cover.

    Lasseigne writes from an unabashedly evangelical perspective (specifically dispensational premillennial, if those terms mean anything to you.) He is absolutely convinced that this is the word of God and he wants you to love it like he does. He does a solid job of bringing all of these ideas like where we got the Bible and can we trust that it has been transmitted through history accurately very well. His overview of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the often overlooked time between Malachi and Matthew is solid, but simple.

    Fully half of the book is giving an overview of each of the books of the Bible, including its theme, a dozen or so interesting facts about the book, and some famous quotes from people who have appreciated the book. It's a little different from the overview you get in a good study Bible -- this is more little nuggets designed to make you curious about the book, or little details you can bring up while you are teaching the book.

    This brings up one of my two major complaints about the book. Of the seven regular chapters of the book, one of them is dedicated to how to teach the Bible. What he says is true and good, but in general this book is a lot more basic than I would hope somebody who is looking to be a Bible teacher would be reading. That chapter felt a little out of place for the overall target audience of the book.

    My second complaint is the humor and stories included throughout. Now, I don't mind humor at all - for example, I think Matt Chandler and Alistair Begg are brilliant in including reverent humor in their messages. I think that is where Lasseigne is trying to go, but it misses. It's just trying to be funny for the sake of being funny. He has a two page illustration of funny quotes by flight attendants which was genuinely funny, but it served no purpose. This happens a lot in the book. It's a shame because he says himself:

    "When it comes to using stories and illustrations as seasonings, we don't want to overdo it by substituting stories for sermons or illustrations for illumination! Too much seasoning spoils the meal. I've heard messages made up of stories and silly jokes and very little Bible study. That dishonoring to the Lord and is a dereliction of duty (140)."

    I don't think his stories go to the extent of replacing content, but it was clear after a while that he was simply including these stories to lighten to the tone of the book rather than to advance the material, for the most part. After a while I was groaning as I came to another.

    Overall, I think this is a valuable book to somebody who is a new believer and who is trying to get an understanding of what all of these books in the Bible are. I think for that audience, this book succeeds very well. If you already have a basic understanding of that, I would suggest looking at other book that deal with the topics in more depth.
  4. Jen Pen
    Midwest
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great resource for understanding the Bible...
    September 16, 2016
    Jen Pen
    Midwest
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    SUMMARY:

    Hoping to make the Bible a bit less daunting and a lot more understandable, author and pastor, Jeff Lasseigne, sets out to meet those goals in his book, Unlocking the Bible. Broken into two main parts, Part 1 answers more general questions about the Bible while familiarizing readers with the history, trustworthiness, New and Old Testaments, studying and teaching of the Bible. Part 2 then delves into each book of the Bible, discovering the uniqueness and qualities found within. Easy to follow, interesting to browse, and referenced for use, this useful book couples nicely with the worlds best-selling book, the Bible.

    A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:

    Sometimes not knowing where to begin, other times plagued with unanswered questions, and yet other times of complacency, often leads the Bible to being overlooked and not studied. Leaning on his vast knowledge of the Bible, Jeff Lasseigne helps the Bible to become more user-friendly and understandable. While Part 1 was interesting, Part 2 was where I actually learned some new information about each book. As a compact reference guide, it would work well paired with a Bible and used in a Bible study, given to new believers, or studied in various ministry groups as a learning tool or review option. A copy belongs with each Bible to help unlock it and bring it to life.

    RATING:

    4.5 (out of 5) pennies

    *I received a complimentary copy of Unlocking the Bible from Baker Books for my honest review*
  5. Veronica
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Discover the Origin and History of the Holy Bible
    September 15, 2016
    Veronica
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    One of the most important things we as Christians can do to grow in our relationship with God is to read His Word, the Bible, and learn to hear His Voice. This book is a wonderful supplement to help believers grow to understand even more just how important and precious the Bible is in our everyday lives. I believe that both new and mature believers will find something to appreciate in this biblical reference guide, as it contains great insights along with heartening truths.

    The easy-to-understand writing, occasional bullet points, and encompassing conclusions greatly assist in allowing new knowledge to sink into the mind of readers and helps to retain information. I personally really appreciated how simply and cleanly written this book was. There was no getting bogged down from dry information, instead, I felt engaged and interested throughout the reading! This novel walks readers through the entire Bible, pointing out eye-opening themes and focusing entirely on God and His Word. Additionally, there were some excellent points and analogies made throughout Unlocking The Bible that truly crystallized the information I was learning. Although, some anecdotes and a bit of the humor fell flat at times to me, personally. But, overall, I'd definitely recommend this book to any Christian, and even to unbelievers, that would like to deepen their understanding of the history, background, and importance of the Bible.

    {Note: Obviously, as with any study guide of this nature, one must use critical thinking - along with research - and not simply take everything immediately as truth. Praying to God and asking Him to reveal His truths to you is such an important first step before beginning any study! }

    **My thanks to the Baker Publishing Group, who sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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