Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, New and Enhanced Edition

book cover
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

General Editor:
Ronald F. Youngblood Contributors:
F. F. Bruce and
R. K. Harrison

ISBN-13: 978-0529106223
Hardcover: 1280 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: June 5, 2012

Source: Review copy from the publisher through BookLook.

Book Description from BookLook:
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary is the most comprehensive and up-to-date Bible dictionary available. With a fresh new look and updated photographs, this new and enhanced edition is a wealth of basic study information with more than 7,000 entries plus more than 500 full-color photographs, maps, and pronunciation guides.

Features include:
*Cross-references to major translations
*More than 7,000 up-to-date entries
*More than 500 full-color photographs and maps
*Enlarged type size for easier reading
*Visual Survey of the Bible from The Open Bible

My Review:
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary is a Bible reference book intended to help you study your Bible. They suggest that you read a passage in the Bible and then read the entries in the dictionary for the names, places, and things mentioned in the passage. The entry briefly explained that word and pointed out where it's mentioned in the Bible. While the entries did give enough information to help you better understand a passage, it usually just gave information that you could pick up from reading the whole Bible on a regular basis.

Some entries did have more detail, especially those that contained controversial topics. They'd give their take on the issue but didn't usually explain the other positions. For example, under "Chronology, New Testament," they gave a couple popular dates for Jesus birth and death but only give some brief supporting reasons for their own choices.

Under Genesis, they tried to side-step controversy by saying that Genesis 1 is mainly theological and is highly poetical rather than giving scientific details. Under the Flood entry, they acknowledge that the Flood was "not simply a downpour of ordinary rain," yet under "Chronology, Old Testament" they suggest the Flood happened at a time where it couldn't have been a world-wide flood. They suggest that Genesis was heavily influenced by Sumer rather than Sumer being influenced by the earlier, real history that is recorded in the Bible. They suggest that the years given in the genealogies in Genesis can't be taken at face value. Basically, they have their biases but it shows up more in implied assumptions than by taking a hardline stance on an issue.

There were full-color pictures on about every other page--a picture of some coins near the entry for money, for example, or someone playing a flute for "flute." There were charts and maps for certain events. If you don't have a study Bible and want help understanding who various people are and what is going on (what is a tent maker? a shekel?), then you will probably find this Bible dictionary fairly useful.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.