Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review: Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index

book cover

Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index:
The Best Bible Subject Index Ever
by Thomas Nelson

ISBN-13: 978-1-4185-4374-7
Paperback: 540 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Released: June 1, 2010

Source: Booksneeze provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Nelson’s Biblical Cyclopedic Index offers more word listings than any other Bible resource available. Designed for use with any Bible and originating from the best-selling and trusted The Open Bible, it combines the best features of a concordance, topical Bible, and Bible dictionary into one unique reference book.

Nelson’s Biblical Cyclopedic Index will help you easily pull together a thorough and comprehensive Bible study, lesson, or sermon with more than 8,000 subjects, names, places, things, concepts, events, and doctrines of the Bible, plus 300 word studies!

My Review:
Nelson's Biblical Cyclopedic Index is a Bible reference tool. I usually use free, online resources to study the Bible. However, sometimes I don't have the internet available or don't want to do my studying in front of a screen. I also have friends who don't have internet access, so I was interested in this Cyclopedic Index.

The index words (including names, places, concepts, and more) were listed in English alphabetical order. The English word was listed, then the definition or meaning of the word, then the type of reference in the Bible with the verse it's in. (For example, Love, Christian -> Toward others -> Commanded by Christ....John 13:34.) The listings were based on the English word, so, for example, the Hebrew and Greek words usually translated as "dog" were mixed together under the "Dogs" listing.

However, the listings aren't exhaustive. For example, under the "Love" listings, Galatians 5:23 wasn't referred to though the verse contains the word "love." (Note: This verse was listed under "Fruit of the Spirit" under "defined.") Also, the listings for Love (under categories "Christian," "of Christ", and "of God") didn't give a single Old Testament reference, even when referring to the First and Second Commandments.

There were some sporadic word studies throughout the book. In each word study, we're given the English word, a transliteration of the chosen "original language" word it's translated from, how to pronounce that word, the definition of the word, examples of where the word is used in the Bible, and the Strong's number for the word. Which words got word studies seemed almost random. For example, under the "Love" listing, only one (Greek) word for love was studied. The word study sections also didn't tell if the original word was Hebrew, Greek, or what, though it's easy enough to figure out. Also, sometimes all of the possible definitions of the word were listed together rather than separated (by 1., 2., 3., like in dictionaries) by possible meanings based on context. This could potentially be confusing.

The book is a nice, easy-to-hold size. This also means that the font is small, but it's clear and easy-to-see. I do think this book will quickly and effectively help a person create a topical sermon or Bible study. Just keep in mind that this index isn't exhaustive.

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.

Excerpt from page 304:
Word Study: Love, agape (ag-ah-pay). Noun meaning "love." It can be used to denote a person's love for God (John 5:42; 1 John 2:15), God's love for humanity (Rom. 5:8), and God's love for Jesus (John 15:10; 17:26). Jesus reveals His love for believers by laying down His life, and He commands that believers love each other (John 15:9-13). A cornerstone of the NT teachings about God is that "God is love" (1 John 4:8, 16; cf. 2 Cor. 13:11). (Strong's #26)

Love, Christian
Toward God:
First commandment.............Matt.22:37,38
With all the heart...................Matt. 22:37
More important than ritual....Mark 12:31-33
Gives boldness....................1 John 4:17-19
Must love his brother............1 John 4:20,21

B. Toward Christ:
Sign of true faith....................John 8:42
Manifested in obedience.....John 14:15,21,23
Leads to service...................2 Cor. 5:14

C. Toward others:
Second command...............Matt. 22:37-39
Commanded by Christ.......John 13:34
Described in detail.............1 Cor. 13:1-13

Read more, from the A's.

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