After the intro to reading guides last week, I would like to introduce my two favorite reading guides (so far, it might change in the future). Disclaimer: I personally own both of these books, and literally do not receive anything for this brief review.
Number One: Unlocking the Bible, by David Pawson.
David Pawson is a British bible teacher with a lifetime of ministry and teaching experience. The speaks at conferences and has written over 30 books.
This 1300 page long book features detailed introductions and simple outline of all the books of the Bible. Pawson breaks up each book into topical sections trying to help his readers find access to each of the 66 books of the Bible. In doing so, he does not follow a certain layout. Rather, he addresses each book by outlining the chapter according to the unique features he observes in it. It’s written in a very easy-to-read and warm style.
Pawson manages to provide scholarly insight with pastoral care and thus leaves the reader with more than just a head full of knowledge. Although I don’t agree with all of his theological positions, or how he applies the books to modern life, I have benefited greatly from the historical, cultural and textual insights he compiled after having studied the Bible for several decades.
The best part is, for all those who are not that much into reading or who can’t afford to spend 10-15 bucks, you can watch the content of the book on youtube for free.
Number Two: Reading the Bible Book by Book, by Stuart and Fee.
Douglas Stuart, professor of Old Testament, and Gordon Fee, professor of New Testament, specifically call their book a guided tour. They have also written the well-known book “Reading the bible for all its worth”.
In this 450 page tour, the authors provide both the specs of each book as well as a summary of the sections of each book. Each chapter follows the same layout and they focus on highlighting things to watch out for when reading the text.
This book is an excellent resource if you want to grasp the gist of each book of the Bible and it is a safeguard against getting lost in the many details of the text – not that that’s bad per se, but it can distract you from getting to know the book as a whole. It’s also a valuable resource because you can jump in anywhere in the book and look up what they say on a certain text of the Bible.
So, if you have been reading the Bible and you feel like you’re having a hard time, maybe give one of these reads a shot. Also, if you know other reading guides or have questions about these books, please do leave a comment, I’m always interested in expanding my library!