Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Book: The Wayfinding Bible

One question I am asked, from time to time, is "How do I get started reading the Bible?" After all, the Bible is a collection of writings that span 1600 years of composition, various human authors, and a single Divine Author. Where do you start?

For years, I have suggested the book of 1 John (the First Epistle of John) as a starting point to learn of the love of God and basic truths of Christianity. However, it's always been a challenge of where to go next. There are various aids to that, and into the scene of study Bibles comes The Wayfinding Bible. Rather than being a Study Bible like many that are out there already, The Wayfinding Bible takes a different approach.

First, there are basic introductions to each book of the Bible. These are not in-depth, so if you are a long-time Bible student, you may notice some lack there. However, these are adequate to the first time reader, whether teenaged or older. These are presented in color, which helps with interest and clarity.

Second, there's a timeline. I love timelines, and they help place the story of Scripture in historical context. Of course, using a line shows an assumption that time is a linear progression from cause to effect, but one typically thinks so.

Then, there are the wibbly-wobbly lines at the top of the pages. These are the real hallmark of The Wayfinding Bible. These lines mark three paths to explore Scripture without trying to read the whole thing, which ought to be the long-term goal. However, these look at a quick look (Flyover), a straight-through look (Direct), and a slow path (Scenic). The labels could not be better chosen--you miss a great deal in Flyover, but you get from A to B quickly. You also get a quick look at many topics.

Direct and Scenic are also good, clear labels. For those of you who take long drives, you probably know the difference. Direct is like getting from here to there on an Interstate. You see some things and then you get to the end. Scenic is taking those two-lane state highways. It takes longer, you see more, and yet you still don't see everything.

I'm a Bible nerd, so I'm not sure I really like the Flyover approach, but I see it has value. I also might have chosen differently and included more of the stories from Old Testament narrative, but that's my preferences as well. Really, the main improvement I would make is a few additional flyover paths to touch other areas.

I did especially like the "Finding Jesus" sections in the book introductions.

NLT is not quite my favorite Bible translation, but it works well for new readers, so I'm okay with it.

I did receive a copy of this book from Tyndale House, the publishers.

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