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The Bible - A Review

Today, it occurred to me that, of all the books I have reviewed, or seen reviews of, I have never done a review of the Bible. A complete synopsis of this book is impossible in this short of space, but most people know the contents, so I will skip that part and go straight to the review.

The Bible can't be put into a specific genre. Part history, part self-help, part-inspiration, part fantasy-with an element of poetry and reference thrown in--this book stands by itself in that respect. Like life itself, no artificial box can hold this book.

The first half of the Bible contains a great deal of history. As with all history books, it is subject to flaws. Having been written years after the events taken place, memories can become dim and the author or author does his best to fill in the empty spaces. In all, however, we get a pretty good picture of what life was like in that long-ago time period. Some of the details have been verified to date, but more still remain a mystery yet to be solved.

The second half of the book contains wonderful poetry, fable and self-help lessons. I found numerous cases where quotes can be used as positive affirmations to help keep one on a true, enlightened spiritual journey. The language is often difficult to read and I find some of it a bit "flowery" in the manner of Shakespeare. I was, however, entranced in many instances and had quite a few "ah-ha" moments.

The authors obviously did not take the time to collaborate on the various sections, and there is discrepancy in the plot line in more than one place. The message of love, peace and do unto others is evident throughout, however, and remains the major theme pulling the various threads together.

Characters range from pure light to pure dark. Many appear only briefly, while others reappear throughout the entire book. The main character, God, does not appear at all physically, but He makes his will known in many ways that can't be ignored. You get the impression from reading this book that the main character is vengeful, accepts only His viewpoint and has a nasty temper. His son, however, speaks of peace and love and reminds us that, regardless of first impressions, his Father, is also forgiving and compassionate.

This book contains elements of so many genres that there is something for everyone. It is not a book to sit down and read in one sitting, but is quite suitable for a daily reading of a section or two. The Bible will make you think. It will provide you with as many questions to ponder as it does answers. The style is more matter-of-fact than emotional, it is even somewhat preachy at times, but all in all, it is a book I would recommend without hesitation.



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14 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Actually, part self-help is the perfect category!

L. Diane Wolfe
www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
www.spunkonastick.net
www.thecircleoffriends.net

Marvin D. Wilson said...

What a great idea for a review. I thought you did a very good job of it, too. :)

ALL THINGS THAT MATTER PRESS said...

How many stars do you give it? I heard there is also a lot of sex and violence, begetting and smiting-would it be suitable for young adults?

JanetElaineSmith said...

Very clever idea, Joyce. It also is encouraging to me to see how many genres are included in the Bible, since several of my books are also multi-genre. Now I don't feel so alone.

Joyce Anthony said...

I'd have to give it 5 colors-the language throws one off and the content makes it unsuitable for those under 16. However, cleaned up versions would be appropriate for those under that age!

Harley Rose said...

I never thought of the Bible containing so many genres, but upon reflection, I can say that you are right. It is a book that can fit on every book shelf with any kind of genre and still be right in place. It is a book that holds answers and questions for every one to ponder. One passage can mean one thing to one person and hold another completely different meaning for another.

The Belle in Blue said...

My favorite character is Jesus! I was so glad the author decided to bring him back after killing him off. It really made all the difference in the world for me!

:-)

Kristie Leigh Maguire said...

Actually I guess the Bible is an anthology written by several different authors.

Many other authors wrote books (chapters) that were ultimately not included in the final official version of the Bible. Many of those books (chapters)that were left out have been lost over time but some have been found.

One of the books that has been found is the Book of Judas which casts Judas in a different light than the chapters that were ultimately included in the official Bible told about him. Perhaps Judas isn't the villian that the others portray him as.

There is even a Book of Mary Magdeline that was lost but has recently been found which casts Mary in a whole new light ...perhaps even as the wife of Jesus.

The Bible is a book full of contradictions and impossiblities. It is a book that must be taken on faith and the belief that miracles can happen.

Joyce Anthony said...

Kristie: Very insightful comment-and so very true. It isn't so much the Bible itself I have faith in--for what man creates is often flawed-it is the ultimate message of love and peace. My faith in God is a strong one!

unwriter said...

I've read a lot of reviews, but I have never seen one of the Bible. You did a fantastic job and didn't make it religious in nature. You pulled out the essence, the heart of the book by mentioning the genres and various topics covered. This is the best review I've ever read.

You have done the world a favor with this review because you show it as a multicultural, multigenre collection of history and literature and styles.

NotMyGod said...

Great idea for a review. I've had a similar idea myself: what if the bible were written for the first time today? It would probably never get published or sell.
I will say, though, that God is the most cartoonishly evil supervillain in all of fiction.
Not My God,
www.sarahtrachtenberg.com
Happy Vernal Equinox!
Sarah

Nina M. Osier said...

Great idea, Joyce! I started reading my own King James Version Bible at age 7, so I guess I have a different "take" than most people do about its appropriateness for younger readers. There was much in it that just went straight over my head at that age - the sex and violence, in large part, made little impression. But I read the parts I could understand, as soon as I was given my own copy, and read it through from cover to cover at around age 11.

I love the way you've commented on it as you would when reviewing any other book!

Karen and Robyn - Writing for Children said...

Joyce,

What an interesting idea. I've read both the King James version and the New World Translation which is easier to read - same content with modern English.

A number of religious denominations have children's versions of the Bible - telling the well known stories. This is an excellent way for a child to become familiar with the Bible and its teachings.

One scripture I think fits well here is at 2 Timothy 3:16,17: "All scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work."

Karen Cioffi

conarnold said...

First time I've ever read a review of the Bible! Very original, Joyce!

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