Book Review: New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason L. Archer Jr.

The author – Gleason L. Archer Jr., (1916-2004 – B.A., M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University; B.D., Princeton Theological Seminary; L.L.B., Suffolk Law School) was a biblical scholar, theologian, educator, and author. He served as an assistant pastor of Park Street Church in Boston from 1945 to 1948. He was a Professor at Fuller Theological Seminary for 16 years, teaching New Testament, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic. From 1965 to 1986 he served as a Professor of Old Testament and Semitics at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois. He became an emeritus faculty member in 1989. He also served for many years as a minister of the Evangelical Free Church of America. The remainder of his life was spent researching, writing, and lecturing.

Legend has it, (I have not been able to verify whether this is 100% true or not) that he was so gifted in languages that for fun (and as a challenge) he would study the Bible in a different language every year to continue to grow and develop mentally.

Archer served as one of the 50 original translators of the NASB published in 1971. He also worked on the team which translated the NIV Bible published in 1978. I give this introduction, because many people are not familiar with Archer (unfortunately), but he was a brilliant Christian scholar who could have excelled as a lawyer (his father was the founder and president of Suffolk Law School), and chose to use his exceptional gifts to defend the inerrancy and integrity of the Scriptures over the span of his entire adult life. I would say that along with Bruce Waltke and Walter Kaiser Jr., he was one of the most elite and influential Old Testament Evangelical Scholars at the end of the Twentieth Century.

As for this book – it’s simply outstanding. It covers all the thorny issues from Genesis to Revelation in biblical order, and considers questions from the cultural, linguistic, and authorial intent of each passage considered. Of all the books I have on questions, and Bible answers, this is the one I turn to the most. It is extremely thorough and will increase anyone’s’ belief in the supernatural authorship of the sixty-six books in the Protestant Canon. It is definitely a “must have” for any interpreter/student/teacher of the Bible, or an apologist for the Christian faith.

Book Review: Max on Life by Max Lucado

In this resource, popular pastor and writer, Max Lucado responds to some of the letters he has received from people pursuing answers to some of life’s more important questions. Max answers close to two hundred practical questions based on these letters. The questions along with his subsequent answers – supported by the Scriptures – are handled in the following categories:

 1) Hope: God, Grace, and “Why am I here?” – pages 1-36.

2) Hurt: Conflicts, Calamities, and “Why me?” – pages 37-74.

3) Help: Prayer, Scripture, and “Why church?” – pages 75-118.

4) Him/Her: Sex, Romance, and “Any chance of a second chance?” – pages 119-150.

5) Home: Diapers, Disagreements, and “Any hope for prodigals?” – pages 151-176.

6) Haves/Have-Nots: Work, Money, and “Where’s the lifeline?”  – pages 177-196.

7) Hereafter: Cemeteries, Heaven, Hell, and “Who goes where?” – pages 197-230.

8) Addendum: The Write Suff – helpful and brief advice on: how to write, when to write, who can publish, who can edit. – pages 231-235.

9) Notes – pages 236-238.

10) Topical Index – a helpful index for quick access to the topics addressed in the book beginning with “abortion” and ending with “worship.” – pages 239-245.

Overall, the answers to the questions are gracious, practical, clear, and concise. I’m sure I will consult his answers again as they come up in my own ministries of counseling and life coaching. I think his book is definitely worth having and consulting – especially for new believers in Christ.

I think Max does an adequate job in his answers to these questions, but Max represents what I would deem a “Generic Christianity.” I would prefer to see the questions answered within the framework of a robust Biblical Theology with Christ at the center. I would love to see Tim Keller or D.A. Carson write a book answering the same questions. For those who would prefer a more Theological approach (considering Biblical and Systematic Theology) to frequently asked questions I would recommend R.C. Sproul’s, “Now That’s a Good Question” as a much better resource with more depth of insight into the Christo-centric emphasis of the Scriptures and their connection to life in the 21st century.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”