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Book Review: The Whole Bible Story: Everything That Happens in the Bible in Plain English by Dr. William H. Marty

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Every once in a while one finds a Christian nonfiction book that simply charms one’s socks off. The Whole Bible Story is just utterly and totally fun. And it gets the job done.

The Bible is the Christian’s holy book, and among its Scriptures are poems, stories, letters, proverbs, histories, and even plays such as the Book of Job, and Song of Solomon.

I really wouldn’t recommend not reading the Bible because the language, the stories, and the wisdom found in its verses are truly life-changing, but for anyone who ever wants to know what is in the book without having to actually read it, this is a great find. I’ve read several books that attempted to distil Bible stories. When I read them I felt I was wading through historical tomes and footnotes, Sunday school first grade material, or something that felt like Cliff Notes or a similar kind of school cheat. Dr Marty’s accomplishment is simply amazing. Moms should send it to their kids in college. Even those who have read the Bible and never quite comprehended how to put everything properly and solidly in order will love this book.

From the beginning of the book, the reader sees the conflicts, plots, settings, and characters of the Bible. The style is conversational without being gossipy and historical without sounding academic. The politics, spirituality, and culture of the people are shown clearly and interestingly — because the author is a writer of textbooks — here is no editorializing or attempt to evangelize or explain the Book. Yet his personality is on every page of the book.

The only failing of the book is that the author is so intent on showing the historical flow of the story of Israel that certain characters are left out. Where is Job? Perhaps the author ignored him because he couldn’t think of where to include him in the chronology. And of course the Psalms are missing, and the Psalms are the heart of the Bible.

Still, I really do love this book and recommend it to anyone — atheist, Christian, non-Christian, young or old — who might want to know what happens in the Christian’s Holy Book.

Rating:  Excellent.

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  • I also have read The Bible Story by Arthur Maxwell. It’s pretty amazing.