Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Story of the Bible by Larry Stone

Do not be deceived into thinking this 96-page book is lightweight - in size or content.   This beautiful oversized hardback book gives a broad, if not deep, overview of the history of the Bible.

The first part of the book is devoted to the history of the ancient manuscripts that supported the Hebrew scriptures in the time of Christ and explain why the authenticity of our current scriptures can be trusted.  The author does an admirable job of attempting to explain all of this to the lay reader, but going into much depth is, quite honestly, impossible in such a cursory overview. And I'll admit, it got confusing at times.

Next, the book covers the early church and the narrative tone flows more naturally.   It offers a chronological telling of many important persons and events and the impact scriptures had from early Christendom through the Reformation, all the way into the 20th Century. Again, coverage was not extremely deep, but it is an interesting read and admirable in its breadth. 

A wonderful component of this book is the additional 23 pull-out pages that are stored in strong vellum pockets throughout.  These  loose pages provide many examples of ancient Bibles and manuscripts.  As a home-educator, I can see that these would be a great aid to the student in seeing how painstaking it was to reproduce Bibles and manuscripts in long ago times.  These illustrations also provide beautiful examples of illuminated manuscripts.  The fact that these illustrations are loose and can be used separate from the book makes them a great resource that can be used for a variety of purposes.

A serious student of this subject will need something more academic and thorough to adequately cover the subject of the history of the Bible, but this is a lovely book to have available to read and browse at one's leisure.  It is a great resource to share with students if one is covering this topic or any of the time periods discussed in the book and wanting to discuss the relevancy of scripture to what was going on in the world at that time.  If this is one's first exposure to the history of the Bible, one will likely come away curious for more in-depth study; and that alone makes this a worthwhile read.

The Story of the Bible is not a difficult read, but it is not simple either.  How could it be simple to cover such a topic that spans several millennia and innumerable political upheavals and world events?  I recommend the book as a resource for educators of religious studies and also for someone wanting a cursory overview of the subject of the Bible and early church history in an attractive coffee-table type book.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.