We were recently asked to review Books of the Bible At-A-Glance, a book with a one-page synopsis of each of the books of the Bible from Teach Sunday School.
We received the document as a PDF and printed it out. There is a brief introduction, outlining what is included, as well as ways to use the document.
Each book of the Protestant Bible (not the Catholic Bible) is presented on a single sheet.
- Book Title
- Order in the Bible
- Date Written
- Time Period Covered
- Claims to Fame
- Famous Stories Included (mainly Old Testament)
- Problems or Issues Addressed in Book (mainly New Testament)
- Most Famous Verses (no mention of what version of the Bible was used)
- Important Points About the Book
Ways to Use It
There are many different ways this could be used. You could print out and then read over the book before you start a particular study. You could use the most famous Bible verses as memorization.
With the time-frame to review, we decided just to dive right in and read everything. The boys are on a schedule to read through the Bible during their four years of high school, so they have already read many of these books of the Bible.
I liked the one-page format. It provided everything in a handy sheet that could be used in any setting. It was interesting to see some of the time periods that the book of the Bible covered compared to when it was written.
The facts provided were insightful and highlighted many of the famous stories in each book. Having the different sections made it easy to read.
Our favorite section was the famous scripture verses.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of inconsistencies throughout the document. There were numerous typographical, grammatical, and formatting errors.
The dates provided for when the books were written aren’t always accurate. There was a comment in the introduction to use the word “approximately,” but it would have been better to add that to each of the pages.
For example, by tradition, Moses died in 1407 BC at the age of 120. This would mean he was born around 1527 BC (but the note in Exodus says he was born 1426 BC). The first five books have a variety of dates written: 1430, 1400, 1445, 1400, and 1400, respectively. Traditionally there is a given range of dates for when these books could have been written: 1445-1405 BC.
Another example would be 2 Chronicles. The document has it written “Around 340 BC,” but it is traditionally written 450-430 BC (around the same time as 1 Chronicles).
There are some books that the author is unknown (traditionally). However, some of the sheets include an author (e.g., Joshua, Judges, Ruth).
Some of the dates for the time periods covered were also misleading. For example, in Leviticus, the document states that it covered the period 1445 BC – 70 AD, yet it was written in 1445 BC. I think it might be saying that the laws from the book were applied during this time, but the book of the Bible itself does not cover this timeframe.
Some of the “Important Points About the Book” include a list of chapters and summaries, whereas others do not. Also, a lot of the information in this section seems to be the same as in the “Famous Stories Include” section. There doesn’t seem to be any consistency.
For the prophets, instead of the “Famous Stories Included” section with “no stories in the prophetic book,” it would have been nice to see “Prophesies Foretold” or something like that.
For some of the pages, the font type was small to squeeze everything on the page. Yet there is a lot of free space at the top of each of the pages that could have been condensed to allow more room.
Some of the famous stories were confusing as written or incomplete. For example, in Deuteronomy, the only “famous story” was the death of Moses. What about the Ten Commandments? Moses’ blessings on the children of Israel?
There was also inaccurate information provided. For example in Esther, it mentions that King Xerxes canceled the plot to kill the Jews. This isn’t true. The law could not be canceled; it had to be written that the Jews were allowed to defend themselves and kill anyone that would kill them based on the previous law. Also in this book, the document mentions a “man” named Mordecai but doesn’t mention that it was Esther’s cousin. This is an important part of the story.
Most of the information provided on each page is included as introductory material in many Bibles. Or it can be easily found on the Internet.
The one-page format is a nice way to present information and could be used before studying a specific book of the Bible.
I think this would be more beneficial for younger audiences or someone that doesn’t have much knowledge of the Bible to provide a brief synopsis. It also may be more suited for teaching Sunday School than in a homeschool setting.