Monday, August 19, 2013

Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus by David Bivin & Roy Blizzards, Jr.

book cover
Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus,
Revised Edition
by David Bivin &
Roy Blizzards, Jr.

ISBN-13: 9781560435501
Trade Paperback: 130 pages
Publisher: Destiny Image Publishing
Released: October 1, 1994

Source: Bought online.

Book Description, My Take:
We've been told that Jesus would have spoken Greek and Aramaic and that the gospels were originally written in Greek. But there is strong evidence that Jesus taught mainly in Hebrew, that Hebrew was the common language of the people, and that some of the gospels are actually Greek translations of teachings originally written down in Hebrew.

Hebrew idioms were translated word-for-word into the Greek--which doesn't use these idioms--and then into English. They now confuse modern audiences. Many of Jesus seemingly obscure sayings suddenly make sense when you realize the meaning behind these Hebrew idioms and phrases.

My Review:
Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus is a Bible study or Bible backgrounds book. The main part of the book was an argument that Hebrew, not Aramaic, was the "common language" of the Jewish people and the language that Jesus mainly taught in. The authors examined the problems with the Aramaic and Greek theories. They then talked about modern linguistic research and evidence outside the Bible and in the gospels for Hebrew being the everyday language of Jews in Israel.

Then they discussed some passages in the gospels where understanding the original meaning of the Hebrew idiom helps us to understand what Jesus meant. Many of these examples gave new or deeper insight into the passages. Others, I could see that their suggestions could be correct, but I wasn't completely convinced that their interpretations were more likely or enlightening than the usual ones. In any case, I found these sections very interesting and well worth reading.

The entire book was easy-to-read and -follow. I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy word studies or Bible background books.

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: A link to Amazon so you can use the Look Inside feature.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

All the Apostles of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer

book cover
All the Apostles of the Bible
by Herbert Lockyer

ISBN: 0-310-28011-7
Trade Paperback: 284 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: 1972

Source: Bought through

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
All the Apostles of the Bible includes the twelve apostles of Jesus, Jesus himself as the 'Chief Apostle,' Paul, James the Lord's brother, Matthias, Andronicus, Barnabas, Epaphroditus, Silas, Timothy, Junias, and Apollos. Dr. Herbert Lockyer examines the biblical record to uncover fascinating truths about each apostle's family, character, personality, ministry, the unique aspect of his service to God, and his call into the ministry.

My Review:
All the Apostles of the Bible is a Bible reference book focused on the apostles of the New Testament. The whole book reads a lot like a sermon, with quotes from songs and other people and with attempts to find "how to apply this to our lives" points in addition to the basic information.

The first 33 pages were a general overview of the type of person that Jesus chose and the time they spent with him. Next came the in-depth looks at each apostle using the information found in the Bible along with some speculation about those whom little was said. You could get this information by reading the gospels and Acts. It included anyone referred to as apostles, not just "the 12 disciples." The last 14 pages were brief overviews of the more likely legends about each apostle's work and death after the Biblical record about them ends. It covered about 2 people on each page, so the information in this section was pretty limited.

If you're looking for a quick reference book to see what the Bible says about the different apostles, then this book will work. Personally, I don't think I'll find it highly useful, though, since I'll have to sift through the sermon to find the facts.

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 Preview.