Book Review: The Whole Bible Story by Dr. William H. Marty

The Whole Bible Story: Everything that Happens in the Bible in Plain English
  I was a bit leery of reading this book initially. I thought, "Why does the Bible need to be retold?" With so many translations of God's Word, I really didn't think it was necessary. What drew me in was part of the review on the back cover that states it is "A Bible story book for grown-ups." For some reason, that intrigued me, so I gave it a try.

In the table of contents, the author lists the Scriptural references for each story he retells. I think that is great, but could have been better placed within the text--just as a matter of convenience. Instead of turning back and forth to the table of contents, the reader would be able to see the Scriptural reference along with the text for easier comparison and study.

Upon reading this book, I must say that it is very easy to read, with very simple language use.  I also liked that it piqued my interest in things I had not noticed in the Bible before. In my mission to double check the author's accuracy in retelling the Bible, I picked up on interesting facts about people, places, and events. For example, I did not realize that part of the earth's flooding came from the oceans and seas being opened up, and not just from the rain from heaven. This book pointed out that fact. The Bible says:

"And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth.
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month,
on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up,
and the windows of heaven were opened." -Genesis 7:10-11

With that said, however, I did not like the author's inaccuracy of the sequence of events and historical facts. Not only is the Bible God's Word for our lives, but it also an amazing source of historical information and should be treated respectfully for both reasons. For example, the author states, "When Hagar gave birth to her son, Abraham named him Ishmael. Abraham was eighty" (p. 26). However, that is not completely correct. "Abraham" was still "Abram" at the time and the Bible says:

"So Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram named his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael.
Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram."
-Genesis 16:15-16.
For some, this may not be a deal-breaker. But for me, it is. Throughout the book, I found errors like this, and it just does not sit well with me.

Overall, I probably would not recommend this book. I do not think the author has any bad intentions whatsoever with retelling the story of the Bible. Honestly, I really do think he means well. However, we must be careful to be as accurate as possible when retelling any portion of the Bible, in whatever way we tell it. (Side note: this makes me rethink some of those colorful, children's story Bible's for my kiddos!)

The book was given to me by Bethany House in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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