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IVP Introduction to the Bible: Story, Themes and Interpretation Hardcover – 20 Oct 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: IVP (20 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844741540
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844741540
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 2.7 x 16.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 909,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


The IVP Introduction to the Bible will prove especially valuable to novice to intermediate biblical students and scholars. Highly recommended as a solid religious studies reference for public and college library shelves.--Wisconsin Bookwatch, September 2007

This concise, compact distillation of the intended teachings of ancient writers of books of the Bible is very well done. Various knowledgeable contributors make this a valuable tool for anyone interested in understanding the Bible.--Libraries Alive, Fall 2007

Gathers an impressive group of scholars writing brief introductions and overviews for each section of the Bible as well as an overall introduction to the Bible and a section on the history between the two testaments. There is much helpful material here nicely, Bible and Bible Reference Survey 2007

"Both the Bible itself and the field of biblical studies are large and complex. But they are also immensely rich and rewarding. Here is a clear introduction by evangelical scholars who know what they're talking about. It is substantial enough to deliver what it promises without being ponderous and technical. A good introduction for the interested nonspecialist. I warmly recommend it."--Dr. Barry Webb, Research Fellow in Old Testament, Moore College, Sydney, Australia

"Anyone who makes a serious effort at reading the Bible soon finds that it is not easy. This book is designed to help by providing both specific information and general perspective for today's readers. It does not assume much prior knowledge, but nor does it 'talk down.' Be prepared for some demanding reading, as acknowledged experts distill their specialist knowledge into an accessible text. And be prepared too to be led, gently but firmly, out of your 'comfort zone': the Bible is not a comfortable book, and this volume does not disguise the fact. But if you are ready to be stretched, welcome to an exciting voyage of discovery that will last a lifetime."--Dr. Dick France, former Principal, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford

"This splendid book provides a clear, structured and accessible overview of the whole Bible. Its genius is in blending qualities that might easily cancel each other out. For instance, it provides the essential tools and information to make Bible study illuminating and productive, but does so without readers realizing they are being taught a wide range of literary, historical and theological issues. Some recent Bible overviews have provided a major motif running like a motorway from Genesis to Revelation, but haven't shown the reader how to navigate the minor roads with profit. This work, by contrast, gives enough detail to explore, and sufficient direction not to get lost. Finally and perhaps most importantly, it blends an academic rigor with a godly humility--essential to hearing God's Word. Brian Rosner conveys this well in his essay on interpretation: 'The biggest obstacle to right reading is not a dull mind, nor the absence of specialized knowledge, but a hard heart. As God's word to the world the message of the NT is accessible to all who come to it in faith.' I warmly commend this timely book."--Richard Cunningham, Director, Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship

"If I had only one book to help me understand the Bible, this is the one I would go for. Skillfully edited by Dr. Philip Johnston, a group of orthodox scholars not only give a comprehensive survey of all the books in the Bible, but also provide four chapters introducing both the Old and New Testaments (Story, Background, Theology, Interpretation) along with an important chapter 'Between the Testaments.' The style is clear and accessible, requires no specialist knowledge, and combines sound scholarship with an evident love for the Bible. Students and church members alike will find it invaluable. I commend it wholeheartedly."--Dr. Michael Green, former Principal of St. John's College, Nottingham, Professor of Evangelism, Regent College, Vancouver, and Archbishops' Advisor on Evangelism --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

A concise introduction to the Bible, as a whole and in its
various parts.

See all Product Description

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very helpful book for my biblical stories module has great insights and covers the biblical story very well in my own opinion. A good book for anyone who wants to get really deep into their bible.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very good book, easy to read, and lots of valuable information in it. Helpful for bible study. I like it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended as a solid religious studies reference for public and college library shelves. 2 Sept. 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The IVP Introduction to the Bible is an anthology of essays by learned biblical studies teachers written to help Christian readers of all walks of life better understand both the Old and New Testaments. Offering historical and other background information for each Testament and the Bible as a whole, plus a thoughtful introduction of each biblical book in turn, The IVP Introduction to the Bible will prove especially valuable to novice to intermediate biblical students and scholars. Highly recommended as a solid religious studies reference for public and college library shelves.
5.0 out of 5 stars If you could only have one book to go with the Bible, this is an excellent choice 18 Dec. 2011
By Michael Dalton - Published on
Format: Paperback
If background and context are crucial to understanding the meaning of Scripture, The IVP Introduction to the Bible is an excellent quick reference for discovering it. Various contributors from the US and UK provide overviews of all the major sections and all the individual books. Among the scholars are Desmond Alexander, Tremper Longman, Howard Marshall, Brian Rosner and Mark Strauss. Each writes in their field of expertise.

Their work is equal to or greater than the notes found in the best study Bibles. There you have space constraints, which require smaller text and abbreviated subject matter. One thing you do not get is detail on individual verses, which is where study Bibles have an advantage in that they do provide some commentary. However, the best source for exposition of individual verses remains one-volume or multi-volume commentaries.

This book provides clear and concise presentations that contain a wealth of distilled scholarship for anyone wanting to grasp themes and subject matter. The insights are highly relevant. On the inspiration of Scripture, Mark Strauss writes, "Though the Holy Spirit who inspired Scripture may be perfect and precise, the vehicle of transmission (human language) is subject to ambiguity and imprecision. Our comprehension of divine revelation is therefore always partial and incomplete (1 Cor. 13:12)" (3).

The views are current and conservative, avoiding controversy, though readers may disagree with some conclusions. Traditionally, the author of Revelation has been identified as John the son of Zebedee, one of the twelve apostles. Carl Mosser writes, "John the son of Zebedee became an apostle, but little in Revelation supports identifying its author with one of the apostles. He never calls himself an apostle, and gives no indication that he is among the twelve apostles written on the New Jerusalem's foundations (21:14), or is among the twenty-four enthroned elders, probably the twelve patriarchs and twelve apostles (4:4, 10; 5:8; 11:16; 19:4). So it seems unlikely that the author was John the son of Zebedee but we cannot determine his identity more than that" (265-266).

Returning to the beginning of the book, Mark Strauss' definition of terms is valuable. He explains the difference between plenary and verbal inspiration, "Plenary means `full' and refers to the fact that all Scripture is equally inspired. Verbal means that the words themselves, not just the ideas, are inspired by God. Here we must be cautious, however, since words are arbitrary signs which indicate conceptual content. It is the meaning of these words ¯ the message which they convey -- which is ultimately inspired by God. In this way a translation of Scripture which accurately represents the meaning of that text remains God's Word" (3). Some may disagree with that last thought, but this careful, reasoned analysis of every aspect of Scripture is found throughout, which makes this a great addition to any personal or institutional library. Ministers and teachers will find it helpful in sermon or lesson preparation.

Every section is interesting, but because it is less familiar to me, I especially enjoyed reading "Between the Testaments." Carl Mosser takes readers through a fascinating account of the 400 year period between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament.

Two of the best features come at the end of each section. There is a short synopsis that discusses each book's relevance for Christians. This is especially helpful in the Old Testament, where believers sometimes wonder what applies. This highlights the importance of context, which this book consistently provides. In "Introducing the Old Testament," we find this apt summary statement, "The basic rule of thumb for Christian interpreters of the OT is that the moral law, governing ethical behavior, continues in effect for the Christian, not as a means of salvation, but as a code -- based in God's character -- by which to live. By contrast, while we can learn from the civil and ceremonial laws, we are not directed by them in the same way" (45).

The other helpful feature is a further reading section, which shows where to turn for more detail. The list provides the best scholarship on the subject with short comments from the author.

The layout is pleasant to the eyes and the text easy to read.

Do you need help in understanding and applying the Bible? Maybe you just want a reliable reference to keep you on track. Look no further. If you could only have one book to go with the Bible, this is an excellent choice.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Helpful Resource 30 Jun. 2011
By Jacob Sweeney - Published on
Format: Paperback
Sometimes the best education focuses on the fundamentals. As a seminary student it is easy for me to fall into detail obsession. We are trained to care about details. Make no mistake, details matter. But, sometimes I need someone to pull me back and get a birds-eye view. That's why I love survey texts.

My only contention with a other introductory texts is that I don't always care about the different theories of who authored what, when. There's a time and place for that, but not always. Sometimes I need an introductory text that focuses on the books of the Bible and what they have to do with one another.

InterVarsity Press has recently published their IVP Introduction to the Bible in paperback. This is an excellent introductory text for anyone from inquisitive seekers to seminarians looking for a refresher course. Each chapter is precise without being technical. Bryan Chapel instructs students in his preaching courses at Covenant Theological Seminary that every preacher must forget ninety percent of what he knows when he preaches. Sometimes the best teaching "forgets" ninety percent of what could be said. I appreciate the appropriate simplicity of these chapters. Just because I understand Biblical Hebrew doesn't mean I always need to read explorations in the technical uses of Hebrew particles in the Pentateuch. Simplicity can be profound.

With excellent chapters written by T. Desmond Alexander and Mark Strauss - among many others - the IVP Introduction to the Bible will be a reference text I turn to often.

Note: In accordance with the regulations provided by the Federal Trade Commission I would like to state that I have received this title free as compensation for my review. I was not required to provide a positive review.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic introduction to the Bible 26 Jan. 2013
By Initials - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is really a great introduction to the Bible. It is especially useful for reading and understanding the Bible better. It is evangelical in its approach, which in my opinion is huge plus. It has a very easy to use layout. There are sections that give basic overviews and background material that are both useful and informative, and it does so without being dull or boring. The authors do very well in giving important information without going overboard and making it difficult to use. In my opinion, this is one of THE big benefits of the book. They balance useful material with length so well that for this reason alone it is highly recommended. There are also sections that go book by book over the whole Bible. They are very balanced in their discussion and once again do well with giving the important information.

This is not a commentary, and it does not try to be. I actually like this about the book. It sticks to its task of being an introduction, one that anyone could pick up and use. It does give suggested resources for each section which point to places where people can go to dig deeper. One of the (actually THE) biggest success of this book is that it encourages one to go pick up their Bible and read.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 stars 1 April 2007
By AK - Published on
Format: Hardcover
**** Reading the Bible is at once simple and complex. To help you understand the structure of the Bible, having a book like this one can be useful and facilitate your reading plan, especially if you have signed onto a speed Bible reading program, ie, The Bible In Ninety Days or similar plans. However, this book can also be a useful tool for those who are already quite comfortable with the Holy Word. Detailed charts and outlines breaking down the books of the Bible and clarifying where things fit on a timeline are almost worth the price of this volume alone. ****
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