Unlocking the Bible

In a world of Christian literature that can boast a multitude of volumes on bibliology, you might think to yourself, “What? Another one?” And from the title of this volume – Unlocking the Bible: What It is, How We Got It, and Why We Can Trust It – you might think that this is just another rehash of material in defense of the Bible. And, in a way, it is a bit of that. But, it is more than that. Yes, there is a chapter on “How We Got the Bible” and one on “Why We Can Trust the Bible,” the obligatory chapters. However, there are also chapters on “Understanding the Old Testament and New Testament.” And then there’s still more. (More on that in a minute.)unlocking-the-bible

The book is written by Jeff Lasseigne, an administrative pastor with Harvest Christian Fellowship who teaches the midweek Bible Study. It is published by Baker Books. The book has two main sections: “The Big Picture” and “Books of the Bible.”

Included in “The Big Picture” and, as mentioned previously, he has included separate chapters on “Understanding the Old Testament and New Testament.” Interestingly, in between these two chapters he has inserted a chapter on “The Sounds of Silence” which gives historical background on the 400 silent years. It contains excellent historical background leading to the New Testament providing an excellent segue. This is a welcome chapter which is usually not found in books of this category.

The big surprise comes in Part 2: “Books of the Bible.” It contains a very short study of each book of the Bible. The studies are brief yet informative. These studies are a product of his midweek Bible study class.

When you put these elements together, this book is the perfect introductory volume to the Bible. It is ideal for new Christians. Lasseigne has skillfully written the material in a manner that will give new believer a firm grasp on not only what the Bible is, but also what the Bible contains. It is the perfect Bible primer.

I highly recommend this book as an entry level volume to the world of bibliology. Pastors, if you’re leading a new believer’s class, this would be a first-rate text.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by Baker Books for a fair and honest review

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The Message of the Twelve

Okay, so, if you just saw the title of this book, what do you think the subject matter concerns? Come on now, be honest! How many thought it dealt with the twelve apostles? I’ll bet a very high percentage. If you went with the twelve apostles, you were mistaken.the-message-of-the-twelve

Now the full title: The Message of the Twelve: Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets. It’s all about the last twelve books of the Old Testament. The book is written by Richard Alan Fuhr, Jr. and Gary E. Yates. Both are professors at Liberty University School of Divinity. Fuhr deals in biblical studies and Yates in Old Testament studies. The book is published by B&H Academic.

If you have never applied yourself to a study of the minor prophets (as I suspect many have not) and you have a desire to do so, but don’t know where to begin, this is definitely a volume, if not THE volume, with which to begin. Although it’s been written by two scholars, it is designed for pastors, teachers and even personal study.

The book has two major sections although they are not designated as such in the Table of Contents. Chapters one through four comprise introductory matter familiarizing us with the twelve minor prophets and their world. Then in chapters five through sixteen Fuhr and Yates take us through a book-by-book study of each of the prophets in biblical order. Each of these twelve chapters follows a similar arrangement – Introduction, Structure, Exposition and Theological Message and Application. Scattered throughout the volume are diagnostic charts to assist in the understanding of the prophet. There is an extensive bibliography at the end for those who wish to dig in even deeper.

To gain the maximum understanding, my suggestion for using this book is to read and digest chapters 1-4 and then systematically study chapters 5-16. Have your favorite Bible and a notepad beside you when you commence. While this is not the be-all, end-all commentary on the minor prophets, it is comprehensive and you will leave this book feeling like a “minor scholar” on the minor prophets.

Pastors and teachers should rush to procure this volume especially if the minor prophets are in their near future.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by B&H Publishing for a fair and honest review.