If you’re interested in the main themes of the story of the Bible, but don’t feel up to reading the bible, this may be the book for you. Dr William H. Marty’s The Whole Bible Story: Everything that Happens in the Bible in Plain English (Illustrated Edition) (Baker Books, 2017) was originally published several years ago (2011) and this edition adds illustrations. Some of the illustrations, by the way, were enjoyable to look at and even enlightening. I also enjoyed the brief intro to each chapter which presented the setting, and the main characters. The chapter conclusion was also as helpful or more helpful than the chapter itself.
It certainly is in “Plain English” which might be a good thing for some people; but the way it’s written concerns me. Nothing is out of place, the themes are not misrepresented, but I didn’t get enough of a sense that this is not a bible—it’s a condensed version of the metanarrative. Yes, it might be good for the beginner, but unless there is someone to disciple that beginner and lead him or her to the complete Bible there are bound to be some serious misunderstandings down the road.
This seems to be a fairly basic and elementary rendering if it is used with college students. I might have enjoyed it while in release time religious education when I was in 5th or 6th grade) many years ago) but by High School, much less college, I don’t think I would have appreciated it.
Another concern I have is that much of the New Testament don’t seem to be adequately covered. The gospels and ACTS have sections dedicated to them, but much of Paul’s theology, found in the epistles, not to mention the Revelation, get pretty short shrift.
Quite frequently I can pinpoint a specific target audience to whom I would recommend a book. Not the case with this one. My best advice, if you’re having trouble with some of the more literal translations of the Bible, get a paraphrase, or a translation that slants towards thought-for-thought rather than word-for-word. I’m not even sure what to do with this book. I guess it will sit on the bookshelf until I find someone who might be able to use it.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a written review. There was no expectation that I would be required to post a positive review.