Here is a helpful book for new Christians, Bible teachers, and preachers. I thought Michael Green was overstating the book’s value when he said, “If I had only one book to help me understand the Bible, this is the one I would go for.” After I got into the book, I could see exactly what he means. This is a book that will communicate both with the non-specialist and the professional Bible teacher. There are 12 chapters in the book, divided into two categories. As Johnston states in the introduction, one section is comprised of chapters 1, 2, 7, 8 and deals with the overall background issues of the testaments. The second section, chapters 3-6 and 9-12, covers the main sections of the Bible and each biblical book in turn.
As I read through the first two chapters, I thought they alone made it worthwhile to read and purchase this book. Chapter 1, written by Mark Strauss, deals with “Introducing the Bible.” He explains very clearly things such as inspiration and authority, biblical criticism, textual criticism and the canon, translations and languages of the Bible. Chapter 2, by other authors, focuses on “Introducing the Old Testament.” It contains a good survey of the background of the Old Testament, which makes this chapter a valuable resource. One statement underscores this importance. “This is why Old Testament laws address each area of human life and societal existence. One key idea of Israelite society was to live in the ‘fear of the Lord.’ Basically this means that Yahweh made a claim on every aspect of his people’s lives and they should respond by seeking to please God in all of life. “In chapter 2 there is also a helpful section on how to read and interpret the Old Testament. Of course to rightly interpret the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, you must be aware of the cultural and historical setting of each book. This book will be extremely helpful to that end.
The same description applies to the New Testament as well. Chapter 8, “Introducing the New Testament,” deals with such themes as background, theology, and interpretation. From there the New Testament is presented in sections: the Gospels, Acts, Letters, and Revelation. The book concludes with a brief section on reading the Bible and different ways to make reading the Bible meaningful.
This will be a good and helpful edition to your library; and you will use it as you study, teach, and preach the Word.