That has certainly been my experience in the nursing home where I’ve been serving for nearly two decades. In this environment, it’s rare to talk with someone who has even read the entire Bible, let alone studied it in any depth. Most residents’ familiarity with Scripture is limited to hearing a few passages read aloud in church each week (and even that is becoming increasingly uncommon).
So how exactly can one convey the Bible’s unrivaled significance as the inspired and inerrant Word of God—the only book that, as the Gideons so lovingly describe it, “contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers”?
Here’s a great new solution: A Visual Theology Guide to the Bible by pastors Tim Challies and Josh Byers (Zondervan, 2019). If that title sounds a little heavy, check out the subtitle: Seeing and Knowing God’s Word. Then take a gander at the book’s inviting cover and flip through its lively content. You’ll discover that there’s nothing imposing or forbidding about this beautifully organized and illustrated volume.
And oh, the content!
“Part 1: Trusting the Bible” sets the stage, describing everything from what the Bible is and how it was written to how we know that we can trust it.
“Part 2: Studying the Bible” explains why we should study this book, and how best to go about it.
“Part 3: Seeing the Bible” goes through the Word of God section by section. The authors take the reader from creation, the fall of man and the flood through Israel’s history, from Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection through the birth of the church and, of course, the end of the story.
Throughout, the authors have captured key points in irresistible infographics that were surely designed to aid both understanding and memory.
Perhaps my favorite example, perfect for anyone who fears that the Bible has changed over the millennia: a three-page section entitled “Has the Bible Really Been Preserved for Us Today?” (pages 32-34). With very few words but arresting artwork, they compare the New Testament to other ancient works from Tacitus’s Annals to Plato’s Tetralogies and Homer’s Iliad. The only logical conclusion? “[T]here is overwhelming evidence that the text of the New Testament we have today is the same as the original.”
I’ve been using excerpts from this book at the nursing home, both in one-on-one visits and during our weekly Bible Discussions, with uniformly happy results. Challies and Byers have explained these critical concepts much more concisely and compellingly than I ever could have.
In the process, I’ve also learned a lot from them—even though as a former skeptic who fought mightily against embracing the Bible, I did extensive research into most of these subjects many years ago.
Bottom line: I recommend this book highly.
Intrigued? You can take a closer look here, or order a copy for yourself here.