Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 24:0 (NA 1992)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

John F. Balchin, David H. Field, Tremper Longman III, edd.: The Complete Bible Study Tool Kit. Downers Grove: InterVarsity. 1991; 384 pp.; $24.95

This volume describes itself as being written “for ordinary people,” in order to provide them with a “user-friendly guide to Bible study.” It seems well-suited for just that aim. The average church member would be intimidated by all of the resources available in a seminary library, and even a Christian bookstore can present a bewildering array of works on so many topics using so many approaches that one doesn’t know where to begin. Here we have a good beginning not only for high-school or college students, but for all students who want to start getting into “the Book.”

The three editors, two British and one American, are assisted by one other American and eleven Britishers to provide a book which is accessible and visually interesting. It is divided into six unequal sections, each with its own visual symbol. For eample, the “welcome” introduction is symbolized by a coffee cup and is color-coded gold on a strip at the top of each page. In other sections where a topic is introduced which has been touched upon in the first section, there is a gold coffee cup cross-reference, and so on within each section. The others are: “studying the plans” (light blue with a magnifying glass), “cutting out the sections” (pink with scissors), “putting the parts together” (light green with a bolt), “key to progress” (darker green with a key) and “indexes” (gray and a pile of books).

The first section begins with a “reading programme” (note the British influence), directing you to one of a number of sections within the work depending upon what question you might have, whether it is “Where do I start?” or “How does it apply to me today?” There then follows a two-page table directing readers to the biblical locations for material they might know about but don’t know where to go to find, such as the crossing of the Jordan or Jesus’s crucifixion, or if there are particular needs, pain or temptation. There is then a three-page flow chart of readings from about 25 biblical chapters to provide a three-week bird’s eye view of basic biblical knowledge.

Part two gives brief introductions to the geography, history, culture, environment, etc. of the two testaments, as well as an introduction to hermeneutics, though it doesn’t use such technical terms within the text itself. Throughout there are useful and colorful illustrations, maps, diagrams and flow-charts easing the task of Bible knowledge acquisition. Part three explores the Bible section by section, starting with a diagram showing the various subsections within it and the pages on which each is covered in...

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