Foreword Review — Jan / Feb 1999
“The only way to study the Bible is to read it…To understand any part,” says Christian author Larry Richards, “we need to know what part it fits into THE BIG PICTURE. When you understand THE BIG PICTURE, you can open the Bible anywhere, and it will make sense to you.”
Richards takes the reader on a journey through the greatest book ever written in the popular style of the For Dummies books. If you do not understand anything at all about the Bible; if you do not know where anything is located in it, Richard’s study will make you less inept.
Richards is well known for his writing in the field of Christian Education and Spirituality. As is true in his other books, he is creative and interesting in this work as well. Though not entirely unique in format it has great appeal in presentation. Graphic designer Dennis Hengeveld (also known as Revered Fun) provides enjoyable graphics and illustrations, making this study book highly user-friendly.
The author has gathered charts, graphs, historical data, anecdotes, dates, quotes and examples from extensive sources, which makes the Bible study a rich and valuable resource for small group studies, yet in-depth and beneficial for the individual. The format resembles a computer screen in that icons run in columns beside the written text and direct the reader to carry out certain activities using such phrases as “Check It Out, Remember This” and other directive statements located beside or above a symbol. Occasionally there are so many icons that the pages look overcrowded. Each section includes study questions and a chapter wrap-up. (For those who are uncertain of the “right” answers to study questions, Richards has conveniently included them in Appendix B.)
Those most likely to enjoy this book will probably be of the evangelical Christian persuasion. Quotes, examples and interpretations are taken from conservative Christianity and a literal Biblical hermeneutic is used throughout.
People who are either searching to know the Bible from this point of view or those who are new Christians will find this book invaluable. Anyone approaching the Bible from the liberal Christian position will find a tremendous volume of information that would require a library and hours of research to accumulate. Richards has already done the work.
The reader may be Biblically inept at the beginning, but will be well informed by the end. Hopefully the material will do more than increase head knowledge, but will have some lasting and transforming benefit in the lives of those who take the year or so it will require getting through it.