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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

"The Bible from 30,000 Feet" (Skip Heitzig)

TITLE: The Bible from 30,000 Feet: Soaring Through the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation
AUTHOR: Skip Heitzig
PUBLISHER: Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2017, (640 pages).

The Bible is the world's bestselling book. It has been read and revered through the centuries. Instead of multiple books of disconnected stories, there is a general narrative from Genesis to Revelation. Trained Bible scholars will be able to do many connections from the Old Testament to the New Testament. For the rest of us, we have to rely on teachers to guide us. Author Skip Heitzig is one such teacher. Sharing his wealth of knowledge about the Bible, this book is a bird's eye view of the whole thrust of Scripture. It is free from difficult terminology or technical details. Heitzig makes the learning interesting by using the metaphor of a plane. He begins with a flight plan where the facts are first laid out. He gives short notes on who the author(s) was, when it was written, landmarks of the expedition, and an itinerary or outline of the chapter. Along with this initial flight plan is an overview of the gospel's relevance to that particular book and some historical background.

The "in-flight" segment is the main part of the book where it becomes a mini-commentary. Heitzig describes the key characters; main events; significant stories; major themes; concise messages; and practical examples for modern readers. The chapters appear like mini-sermons that double up as an overview of the Bible book. The strengths of this book include:

  • Ease of understanding with a creative metaphor
  • Modern use of language
  • Big Picture Overview to help readers keep to the main message
  • Stirs up imagination about how we can design our own flight plans
  • Convenient reference book 
Having said that, we need to go easy on any critiques because this book simply empowers readers on seeing a big picture of the Bible landscape. A lot of details are left out just like passengers on a plane could only see the terrains of the land instead of the trees; or the colour of the waters instead of the ships and fish. It is true that there are lots of summaries and reductionist language used here which may not do justice to the overall biblical theology. Thus, we need to see this book basically as a brief primer to the study of the Bible. It is not meant to be comprehensive. It is definitely not a verse-by-verse commentary. It takes the big ideas of the Bible and puts them into a convenient flight plan and path. Not all books have a chapter on their own. Some like the minor prophets (Joel, Amos, and Obadiah); (Micah, Nahum, and Habakkuk); (Zephaniah and Haggai); the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke); etc are combined. 

The preview copy I have does not contain any introduction, so I am left to guess at the author's intent and purpose of the book. I believe that the main thing is to stir one's appetite for the Bible, in order to motivate readers to go deeper into the richness of Scripture. Heitzig does the introduction for us to meet God in the Bible. The rest is up to us. 

Author Skip Heitzig is founder and senior pastor of Calvary Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He holds a B.A., M.A. and Doctor of Divinity, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy Biblical and Theological Studies from Trinity Southwest University. He has been awarded a doctor honoris causa from GFA Biblical Seminary. He currently serves on several Boards of Directors, including Samaritan's Purse.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of Harvest House Publishers and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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