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The Whole Bible Story Review by Krystin Corneilson

By Dr. William H. Marty
Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, MN 55438

The Whole Bible Story is best summed up by its subtitle: "Everything that Happens in the Bible in Plain English." In the book's introduction, Dr. Marty explains that the concept for this easy-to-read paperback came from a desire to share the Gospel with someone who was interested in learning about the Bible but was intimidated at the very thought of trying to read it. His ultimate purpose, then, is to tell the story of the Bible in chronological order. He clearly states, however, that the book is not meant to replace Bible reading. He says, "My hope is that it will motivate people to read the Bible."

The book is divided into 19 chapters and an epilogue (which is actually a retelling of Revelation). In the table of contents, the chapters are further divided into sections of significant people, events, and topics, and they include the Scripture references for each. Each chapter begins with the title of the time period covered and then lists the main characters and the setting, just like a movie script. The chapter ends with a recap and a sentence or two of transition for the next segment.

Although intended for adults, The Whole Bible Story is also suitable for teens to read on their own or in a small group or for a family to read aloud for story time or Bible time. The language is contemporary, and the stories and lessons come alive in a new way.

Pro's: Beth Moore calls The Whole Bible Story a "vivid storybook," and I can't disagree. We have used it as a way to start our day. As the kids eat breakfast, I will read a section. Many times, we've already studied at least part of what the chapter covers, so it's good review. Other times, they can see how a story they know fits into the grand plan of the Holy Word. It's always a beautiful experience.

Con's: It might be helpful to have more resources offered at the end of the book. Although the goal is to encourage the reader to pick up the Bible, he or she may have more questions about the reading material and may again be intimidated by trying to find answers. The flip side is that the book may be more universally useful by not getting into resources that could be construed as denominational.

The Whole Bible Story will likely become dog-eared in our library, as its pages will remind us again and again of God's love and plans for His children.

Product review by Krystin Corneilson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC , July 2011