Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Digging Up The Past: Genesis 3-11 by Kay Arthur & Janna Arndt

book cover

Digging Up The Past:
Genesis 3-11
by Kay Arthur & Janna Arndt

ISBN-13: 9780736903745
Trade Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Released: November 15, 2001

Source: Bought from my local Christian book store.

Book Description from Back Cover:
Join inductive dig team members Max, Molly, and archeologist Uncle Jake in their latest action-adventure as they uncover what happens after God creates a perfect world.

You'll sift through Genesis chapters 3-11, using tools like hieroglyphic decoders, pottery shard puzzles, and scientific experiments. Does the world stay perfect for long? Discover the truth about some of the world's big "firsts"--the first marriage, first sin, first murder, first civilization, and first genealogy. And have we seen the last of the dinosaurs? Come along for a second-to-none adventure!

Set your compass for site Genesis, where digging up the past holds the key to a future of growing in God's Word. Recommended for ages 9 to 12.

My Review:
Digging Up The Past is a Bible study of Genesis chapter 3 through 11 for tweens (ages 9 to 12). It has an archeology theme with an story involving Max and Molly running throughout. The child reads a chapter in Genesis (which is provided in the back of the book with plenty of space for marking important things) and then goes through a series of questions and puzzles that lead them to think over the important things that happen in that chapter. The authors also tied in related New Testament verses.

I thought the questions brought out good points, and I liked that the focus remained on discovering what the Bible says. The word scrambles, word finds, mazes, crosswords (with the word found by looking up a verse), and other puzzles were fun (even for me, an adult!). I think the skill level needed to solve the puzzles was just right for the age range, but I no longer have anyone that age to test this book on. The answers to the puzzles were in the back of the book.

The authors' treat Genesis 3-11 as an accurate record of historical events that really happened. Overall, I'd recommend this children's Bible study. I think it's one that children will actually enjoy doing, and I appreciate that they didn't lessen how much was learned in the process of making it fun.

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: Read an excerpt using Google Books.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Everyday Life in Bible Times, 3rd Edition by Arthur W. Klinck and Erich H. Kiehl

book cover

Everyday Life in Bible Times, Third Edition
by Arthur W. Klinck
and Erich H. Kiehl

ISBN: 057001543X
Trade Paperback: 174 pages
Publisher: Concordia Publishing House
Released: 1995

Source: Bought through

Book Description from Back Cover:
Have you ever wondered what life was like in the days of the Old and New Testaments? What were the predominant occupations and trades? What types of homes did the people of the Bible live in? What social customs prevailed? The answers to these questions and many more are found in Everyday Life in Bible Times. Readers will gain valuable insight and information about the culture, society, and everyday lives of God's Old and New Testament people.

Each chapter contains dozens of specific references to passages in the Bible. Simple sketches and illustrations help depict commonly used equipment, materials, structures, and raw goods.

My Review:
Everyday Life in Bible Times is a Bible background book about everyday life in Bible times. It covered the time period of the whole Bible and contained scripture references (usually just the chapter and verse so you can look it up) that might make more sense after reading that section. The book is a quick, easy read, but it contained a lot of information. The book covered many subjects and described the steps of how each activity was done (based on ancient literature, archeological findings, and how similar cultures still do it).

This book covered the topics of hunting, fishing, herding (including shepherding), grain growing from sowing to harvesting, vineyards, orchards, types of food and drink and it's preparation, different types of homes and how they were furnished, various trades (weaving, spinning, dying, carpenter, potter, metalworker, tanner, tent making, stonecutter, day laborer), writing, music, time keeping, traveling, weights and measures, how they dressed, marriage ceremony, child upbringing, toys, festivals, burials, and more.

There were black-and-white line drawings of what the various tools, foods, and such looked like. This is a good, informative book, especially if you're interested in the actual steps of how an activity was done (though this isn't a do-it-yourself guide) rather than simply learning which activities were done. I'd highly recommend it.

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 142
Travel by Foot. Bible people made very long journeys on foot. This meant that the travelers had to carry with them everything they needed on the way--staff, cloak for protection during the night, bag, food for the journey, and a jar or dried gourd filled with water (Genesis 21:14). The bag, made of leather, might contain dried fruit, nuts, parched wheat, and perhaps a little bread.

Thus equipped, whole companies traveled together on foot to attend the festivals of the Passover, the First Fruits (Pentecost), and the Feast of Booths (Harvest). Those coming from Galilee would normally walk down the east side of the Jordan Valley, which was much easier than walking through the hills and valleys of Samaria. By doing this they also avoided the enmity of the Samaritans. They probably camped out at night, and perhaps rested during the noon hours during the warmer season of the year. Perhaps some women and smaller children rode donkeys.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Parables of Jesus by David Wenham

book cover

The Parables of Jesus
by David Wenham

ISBN-13: 9780830812868
Trade Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Released: 1989

Source: Bought through

Book Description from Back Cover:
Good news for the needy. Bad news for the power brokers. Jesus came into the world announcing a new order where Satan is overthrown and broken relationships are restored. Jesus' most vivid portraits of this new kingdom are found in the parables.

David Wenham explores the splendor and subtleties of Jesus' world-changing message, offering a nontechnical but comprehensive look at dozens of Jesus' stories. Bringing them to life by explaining their first-century religious and social setting, Wenham never fails to illumine their significance for today.

My Review:
The Parables of Jesus looks at the cultural and historical background to Jesus' parables to help readers better understand what he was trying to convey. Each chapter discussed a group of similar parables (usually in the same groups as they're found in the gospels). The author gave the cultural background to the parable and how the people of Jesus' time would have understood the point he was making. He also referred to other verses in the Old and New Testaments that have the same theme or which help us to understand the meaning of the parable.

The tone was casual, and his points were easy to understand. This book did help me to better understand the parables, and I thought his points made sense and were insightful. At the end of the book, he had an appendix that contained articles on the reliability of the parables (i.e. how likely they accurately portray what Jesus really said and taught), what a parable actually is and the various ways they have been interpreted through history, and why Jesus taught using parables.

Overall, I'd highly recommend this book to those interested in better understanding the parables or in learning more Bible background information.

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: Amazon has a "Look Inside" preview for this book.