A Quick Overview of the Bible
by Douglas A. Jacoby, Harvest House Publishers, ©2012
264 pages, $12.99 (paperback), ISBN-13: 978-0-7369-4424-3
We have recommended several books by Dr. Jacoby in the past, and have had considerable amounts of mail indicating that people appreciated the practical, academically solid approach that he makes to apologetics and the Bible. This book is a “tool book,” meaning a book that can help in our own personal attempts to understand God and the Bible as his word. We hear religious people talking about how hard the Bible is to understand, and we hear atheists talk about how the God of the Old Testament is a different God than the God of the New Testament. Both of these erroneous statements are rooted in a failure to understand the background of what we are reading. The publisher gives the analogy of doing a jigsaw puzzle. If you do not see the picture on the cover of the box, the puzzle is much harder to solve than if you do see it. This book is designed to do the same thing the cover of the jigsaw puzzle box is designed to do. We feel it does that job well.
The book is divided into three sections. The first 32 pages deal with the mechanics of the Bible — translations, the canon, the overall theme, and the cultural setting of the Bible. The second section deals with the Old Testament starting with the history, purpose, demographics, authorship, and writings of the Old Testament. The third section deals with the New Testament and does the same thing, including extra-biblical sources, the Apocalypse, and claimed discrepancies.
Dr. Jacoby knows his field and has advanced degrees from Duke University, Harvard Divinity School, and Drew University. He writes well and has a very readable style. We recommend this book to all readers including Bible teachers and ministers. There are many charts and direct answers to skeptics that make it useful for everyone.