Every decade or so a new book will come out helping Christians understand the history of the transmission of the Bible from its original writings to today. Some have been very helpful and others simply words and little help. Arnold has given us wh at I believe is the best book ever done on the subject. This book lets pictures speak more loudly than words. Every page is filled with full color photos of everything from papyrus fragments to pictures of men like Bruce Metzger, who gave us the United Bible Societies’ most used Greek text.
The book begins with a description of early writing, alphabets, writing utensils, and writing surfaces. It goes on to explain all the different types of manuscripts and how they influenced the copies of the Bible found in different places throughout the early church world, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Greek Old Testament.
Arnold incorporates charts and outlines throughout to keep us up on the flow of history. He also gives us a breakdown of the characteristics of the major Bible versions used today. The publication year, reading grade level, approach of the translators, and distinctives are included in the breakdown.
This book can be used by an individual, but the book measures 8.5×11″and can also be held up in small classrooms. I have written to Zondervan to suggest they follow the book up with a Power Point presentation for teachers, or even a DVD going through the whole book. I will let you know what they say.