Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken, James Wilhoit , Hardcover, 672 pages, Trim Size 5 1/4 x 8
One of the fun things for me in reviewing faith based books is finding out things my husband knows and never mentions! Yes, my husband went to Wheaton and I love asking his opinion.
When I received this book my husband picked it up and mentioned that Philip Ryken is currently the President of Wheaton College.
I found it interesting, that one of the authors of this Bible Handbook is the president of Wheaton. (although, psst, he was not yet when this book published)
I became curious about Ryken’s history. Turns out, Ryken’s father is Christian literary scholar and Wheaton professor, Leland Ryken, and Philip Ryken graduated from Wheaton College with a double major in English literature and philosophy. He also received a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1992, and a Ph.D. in historical theology from Oxford in 1995.
After learning all this about the authors, I understand better why they would write such a Bible handbook, a Biblical reference that looks at each individual book in the Bible as literature, while also looking at the Bible as a whole, complex piece of literature full of literary genres, from the poetry of the psalms to the story parables.
This is a reference book that is extremely detailed, yet somehow fun to read! The reference goes through each book of the Bible, all 66. It is very easy to pick it up as you are studying a particular book of the Bible and just glean a little bit more about what you are reading. You also can just read the entire book as a book, it is so fascinating. I like how the authors break everything down into bits of information.
The beginning portion looks at how the Bible functions as a whole piece of literature. What the main storylines and themes are. You’ll look at the big characters. For example, God is the chief protagonist. (no surprise there, right?)
The main section is where you will go through the Bible book by book. For example, in looking at the Book of Esther, you will see an explanation on how Esther is a unified narrative, with a single main plot.
You will see the structure and unity of the story in (of) the Book of Esther. Little sidebar extras mention the “numbers” that are important in the story of Esther (i.e. 10 banquets). You get a rundown of the key places and characters, key doctrines and themes, tips for teaching the book, a quick overall overview and a lesson in what a “Hero” story is. As you finish up, there is a portion that describes the “Contribution of this Book to the Bible’s Story of Salvation in Christ.” This is a great bit of wrap-up, I think. Finally there is a bit on applying the book and some quotes that offer other’s perspectives on this book. In about eight pages, you can learn so much about what to look for in the book of Esther.
This is done for each book of the Bible. Some are, understandably much longer than the Book of Esther, yet still not ever boring.
In the back, you’ll find a one year Bible reading plan and about 15 pages of colorful maps.
I really recommend adding this book to your library. Five stars from me.
*I received a copy of this book to review from Tyndale House Publishers.