Exploring the Bible - Michael Owens' review


Exploring the Bible Review

FOR a number of years the Bible correspondence course published by The Christadelphian Scripture Study Service, called Exploring the Bible, has been extensively and successfully used to teach those learning the Truth. It has now been revised it the light of comments received and reissued in book form (as well as still being available in loose-leaf format. It provides a very helpful addition to the available range of preaching resources. Translations have already been completed into German, Chinese, French, and Mongolian and others are under way.

The "Learn to Read the Bible Effectively" seminars (and distance learning course) have taken account of the fact that so many people today know little about the Bible and need to be helped to find their way around it. Some of our courses assume that the recipients more or less know their way around the Bible and can therefore cope with the accumulation of Biblical references that support the doctrines beingexpounded. It is not unknown for students to complete courses and give all the right answers, without ever reading the Bible. It can be disconcerting to interview someone for baptism in a mission area, for example, and find that they know our doctrines, but mention the Passover lamb in connection with the Lord's sacrifice and they simply do not have the background knowledge and understanding.
Background Knowledge
One of the great merits of Exploring the Bibleis that it follows the Bible account from Genesis to Revelation. As a result those who complete the 26 lessons, or chapters, will have been taken on a journey through the Bible. This will help them to become familiar with its structure and with the underlying historical events it reflects as well as the doctrines that emerge on the way. The approach means that by chapter 11 we are still in Genesis; but then Genesis can teach us so much about God, the nature of man, sin and the principle of sacrifice leading to forgiveness, acceptable worship, God's covenants and the great promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob Moving on through the account of Israel in Egypt and the Exodus, more important principles of God's relationship with Israel are drawn out along with lessons from the wilderness journey. Subsequent chapters take us from the times of the Judges and the establishment of the kingdom under Saul, David and Solomon, through the division of the kingdom to the exile of Judah in Babylon and the return under Ezra and Nehemiah. As we would expect the promises to David receive good attention along with prophecies centring on Israel, including Daniel 2, 7, and 11 and the links across to Ezekiel 38. Chapters covering the New Testament take us through the life and teaching of Christ and the preaching of the Gospel, dealing with issues like baptism and the Holy Spirit gifts. The final chapters focus on our understanding of the devil and satan, the return of Christ and the coming kingdom of God. Some of the key practical aspects of Christian discipleship are well dealt with in a separate chapter.
Each section concludes with a summary and questions. Throughout there are helpful maps and charts, for example showing where the prophets fit into the reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah. The course begins with an overview of the Bible's message and ends with a summary review. Recommended for further reading is Brother Harry Tennant's book, What the Bible Teaches(to be available shortly; previously published as The Christadelphians: What they Believe and Teach).
This course has grown out of notes prepared for a first principles class run by Brother David Evans in Adelaide. As we might expect, he presents the Bible in a robust and uncompromising manner, reflecting those things that Christadelphians have believed, for exam­ple about prophecy, from the earliest days of our community. Those who read it will not only end up with a good understanding of the Gospel, but will have gained a feeling for the overall purpose of God and His dealings with man from creation to the day when the whole earth will be filled with His glory. Its 246 pages are packed with useful information that makes it a good revision course for those already baptized as well as providing a very good tool to teach serious students about the Bible's message of salvation.
MICHAEL OWEN, The Christadelphian vol. 138, page 350.

( This review was written about the 3rd edition. The fourth edition is now available as a soft cxovered book.)