The Old Testament: Bible Stories

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I have read several books on the Old Testament, but never one so comprehensive and easy to follow as I Will Make of Thee a Great Nation by Val D. Greenwood. This collection of 219 stories from the Old Testament includes within its pages some of the well-known stories, such as Daniel in the Lions’ Den, and a few lesser-known tales, making the book something other than just a conventional collection of Bible stories. It is a skillfully woven account of the chronological history of the nation of Israel, beginning at Creation and ending with the work of Nehemiah. Mr. Greenwood expressed that he wanted to make the Old Testament stories available in a straightforward, easily understood style for adult study. Through his chronological account, he makes the Old Testament less daunting and easier to understand, thus succeeding in his stated goal.

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The author includes a study chart listing the kings of Judah and Israel, the approximate time they ruled, and where their accounts are given in the Bible. He also includes illustrations, maps, a pronunciation guide, and indexes to aid the reader in studying. Throughout the book are helpful end notes, which can be easily accessed in the e-book by simply clicking the number.

What I appreciate most about this book is how simple it is to read and understand. It is an uncomplicated retelling of the Old Testament stories, which makes study enjoyable. However, I do not agree with all of Mr. Greenwood’s interpretations — particularly his take on the Genesis account of creation. He argues that the days of creation were an unimaginably long period of time, whereas I, as a creationist, believe each day was a literal day. He also says that God simply arranged materials that already existed in the universe, whereas I, along with many others, believe God created the earth from nothing. I mention this highly disputable point, not to partake in a philosophical discussion, but because it will narrow the readership of the book.

This book would be a great source of discussion for an adult Sunday school class or Bible study, as well as a fantastic addition to the required reading list for a college class. I wish I had owned a copy of this book when I was sharing the stories of the Old Testament with a group of young children. Though I would not have read it to them verbatim, it would have been helpful in keeping me on track. I do not recommend children read this book without the guidance of a trusted adult. It contains the scenes of incest and rape depicted in the Bible.

This book was well-researched and appears to have been edited by professionals, though there were a few mechanical, grammatical, and typographical errors. There were also some formatting issues, possibly only in the Kindle version, which included large spaces in the middle of a few paragraphs and several blank locations. This drew my attention away from the content. For this reason, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.

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