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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Book Review: "The Complete Visual Bible"

TITLE: The Complete Visual Bible
AUTHOR: Stephen M. Miller
PUBLISHER: Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour Publishing, 2011, (271pp).
[also published at my main blog: yapdates.blogspot.com]

This is one of those books that I fall in love at first sight. It is a visually appealing partial paraphrase of the Bible. It is a colourful rendition of the flow of the biblical story. It is a dynamic interplay of part atlas, part dictionary, part biblical history, and part retelling of the Old and New Testament Bible in narrative style. One simply will not get bored with this book.

Strengths of the Book
Clarity is the strongest point in this book. The tables, the illustrations, photographs and beautiful graphics, this book is perhaps one of the best 'photo albums' of the Bible I have seen. The author needs to be commended for the massive amount of research and painstaking details to highlight the biblical text. It brings to life even the obscure parts of the Bible. For example, for those of us who think that certain books of the Bible is 'boring,' try reading that particular book with the Visual Bible. It will give the reader a refreshing read indeed.

This book is also strong in guiding the reader through the Bible. It excites me so much that I WANT to read the Bible more. This is perhaps the biggest reason to want to buy this book.

Three Precautions to Note
There are three guidelines to take when reading this massive volume. Firstly, like any paraphrase, we need to be aware that this is a re-telling of the biblical story FROM THE PERSPECTIVE of the author. This means that we need to do our homework, to read the Bible for ourselves in the first place, and verify the contents. Secondly, because this book is a visual aid to reading the Bible, it is only a help, and not meant to substitute the actual reading of the texts. Remember that the Bible is originally meant to be heard, not seen. Thirdly, while the author attempts to be as accurate as possible, sometimes, the contexts may be a little too modern for ancient comfort. What this means is that the reader may risk reading the 21st Century into ancient contexts. This may unwittingly warp the reader's understanding of actual events in history.

In summary, this book gives a fresh look at the Bible. If you are a Bible teacher, or a student of the Bible, this is a huge aid for teaching learning, in a pedagogical world that is increasingly visual-dependent.


I receive this book free, courtesy of Barbour Publishing, without any form of financial compensation. I am under no obligation to give a positive review. All comments remain my own.

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