Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review: Ryken's Bible Handbook

Ryken's Bible Handbook
Book Details:
Ryken's Bible Handbook
by Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken, and James Wilhoit
Genre: Bible Reference
Published 2005, Tyndale House
Hardback, 660 pages
ISBN: 0842384014

"This book gives students of the Bible a quick overview of every book in the Bible. Leland Ryken's distinctive trait is a literary approach to the Bible--understanding the Bible as literature. The three authors help shed light on understanding the Bible as the inspired Word of God and as literature by looking at the Bible's different literary genres: poetry, narrative, wisdom literature, story, parables, and more."

I had trouble deciding how to review this book, since it's not necessarily meant to be read cover-to-cover, but used alongside the Bible as a study guide. Flipping through the pages, it's apparent that nearly every aspect that I can think of regarding the Bible is addressed in the text, such as format, author, audience, theme, writing style, timeline, purpose, cast of characters, both general and specific topics highlighted in the Bible, flow, places, definitions, historical references, and even tips for reading and studying the Bible. Each book is addressed separately, quotes from other sources are scattered across the pages, and interesting factoids are made mention of in the margins. A One Year Bible Reading Plan is also found at the end of the handbook, followed by multiple maps and charts that correspond to information addressed in the handbook.
It is important to note that the Bible version that the writers use when quoting scripture is the English Standard Version (ESV), which I think is poor form. Bible versions now adays are a dime-a-dozen, and everyone thinks that their version is the best and easiest to understand. If a person is going to put out something of this nature, that claims a certain authority in the interpretation of Biblical scripture, they should either be willing to use a wide variety of Bible versions or stick with the version that servived centuries before this modern era of multiple Bible versions - the King James Version (KJV). Bible versions is a hot topic, so I'm not going to dwell on this.
I have been studying the Bible for most of my life, so anything that puts a fresh perspective on the text, I appreciate. I especially like the quotes and fact tidbits, since these are things that I won't get from the Bible alone. I will definitely be using this handbook alongside my Bible reading and study, as well as taking advantage of the One Year Bible Reading Plan, though I won't consider this my only source of Bible reference.

The Cover: Pictured with the title is a desk lamp pictured with a young man looking at an open book, though I can't tell if the book is supposed to be a Bible or not, which I doubt. It's a nice cover and lets the reader get the general idea of study.

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*


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