Ray Stedman was one of those men with whom I grew as a young Christian. His home church, The Peninsula Bible Church, was only 90 miles away from my home, giving me the opportunity to visit on more than one occasion as a young believer. His book Body Life was a must read for those of us beginning our Christian walk in the early 70’s. It helped define much of what occurred in the way of discipleship for the church at that time.
This year, Discovery House has chosen to update and republish another important work by Ray Stedman, Adventuring Through the Bible. Earlier editions were published in 1997 and 2005, the most recent update being completed in 2012.
The book is a colorful introduction to scripture - a general introduction intended for a lay audience, but of use and interest to the men and women who find themselves in the pulpit week after week. Written as a series of essays, the book would appeal to the same audience as Henrietta Mears What the Bible Is All About. In addition to the main text, which focuses on the main sections of the Bible (Old Testament, Pentateuch, the Historical Books, the Writings, the Prophets, the New Testament, the Gospels, the Pauline Epistles, the General Epistles, and Revelation), it also includes a chapter on each book of the Bible, a large number of insets that explore topics of special interest to the Bible reader. Most chapters include a set of discussion questions allowing the book to be used as the basis for either personal or group Bible Study. Colorful pictures highlight much of the text, drawing the reader into the Biblical story - more so than some more scholarly introductions.
The book could certainly be used as a textbook for an undergraduate “Introduction to the Bible” course - it is too light to be the main text for a seminary or graduate school course, though it could be used as ancillary text in that context. Though I was provided an electronic version of this book for this review, this is one book that looks like it would be fun to have on the living room coffee table as a paper text. The book would also be of use to someone who has chosen to spend a year (or two or three) reading through the Bible.
It has been eleven years since Stedman has returned home, but his publishers continue to add value to his work if this book is evidence of what they are going to offer us.
This review is based on a free electronic copy of this book provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.