Monday, January 10, 2011
Review: The Almighty Bible - Exodus
A few weeks back I got into a somewhat heated discussion with the folks over at Crosstalk Blog concerning a new, illustrated edition of the Bible known as “The Almighty Bible.” The publishers of this work are printing it in books, and currently have Genesis and Exodus available. The warden of Crosstalk, Ingrid Schlueter, whom I greatly respect for her discernment ministry, made a unilateral condemnation of The Almighty Bible because it is an “edited” text and features colorful illustrations to appeal to a tween-teen demographic. After exploring the publication’s website, I found nothing objectionable and after posting as much on Crosstalk found myself under friendly fire from some of my fellow discerners.
Shortly after the exchange I received a personal note on my facebook page from The Almighty Bible’s PR man Dan Cordie:
I would like to thank you for taking supportive approach towards The Almighty Bible's goal of connecting with a new generation of Bible readers on the CrossTalk Blog.
Exodus just arrived in our office this past Tuesday. If you will send me your address I would love to send out a copy to you.
Thanks again ,
I promplty replied that I’d love a copy and a few days later I receved a fresh new copy of Exodus in the mail. I set out to closely examine the book and also to see how Hannah, my 5 year old, reacted to it. She is well under the targeted age, but she is a sharp girl and I thought she would be a good judge of how appealing it was.
First let me confess this. As I sit here on my couch typing this, enjoying a day off because of 5 ½ inches of snow we received over the last day, my daughter is perusing Exodus. When I pulled it out to get ready to write this review she said, “Oh wow Dad, Exodus! Can I look at it? I loved that book.” After flipping through it, she returned it to me and asked, “When are we going to order Genesis?” I had told her we would get it when we finished Exodus. She loved it.
Of course Hannah is not capable of discerning the Biblical accuracy of the book. I just wanted to share her kid level gut response. We read it at bedtime over a couple of weeks and she looked forwared to it each day.
My purpose in exploring the book was to determine if it was a watering down of God’s word and a heretical insult to the Holy Scriptures. In brief, I found it to be nothing of the sort. I give it my highest recommendation for the reasons I’ll detail below.
First, The Almighty Bible is based on the WEB (World English Bible) translation. This is a non-copyrighted modern translation of the Scriptures that sticks to a literal interpretation. One of its distinguishing characteristics is that it renders the tetragrammatron (YHWH) as Yahweh rather than the all caps LORD found in most Bible translations. The official website ( webbible.net ) is a wonderful Bible study resource. I’m assuming the publishers chose this particular translation for two reasons: (1) as previously stated it is not copyrighted so no royalties would have to be paid keeping production costs lower, and (2) it is a reliable and accurate modern English translation.
Each page offers colorful illustrations that are good quality (as good if not a little better than that in a typical graphic novel) with a condensed text at the bottom of each page. The condensed text accurately portrays the material that is summarized. The actual scripture reference is listed in case you want to explore further details on that particular section.
One of my favorite things is that at the end of the book detailed illustrations are included of the route of the Exodus, of the Tabernacle and all the items contained inside the Tabernacle. These are great tools not just for young people, but for the more mature as well.
Reading through a particular section was especially suited to Hannah’s attention span, and the illustrations held her attention while I read the text. We were even able to work on her “sight words” from school in several areas as she helped me read (she is a kindergartener). Another particular highlight was the section on the Ten Commandments and how they were simply explained.
Hannah learned a great deal, with key points being the title of the book and it’s meaning, who Moses was, who Pharaoh was, God’s name Yahweh, the Ten Commandments and about other things such as manna. Again I offer it my highest recommendation, adding only that I feel it has broader appeal beyond the particular demographic that the publishers shot for. I believe it generates interest in the Bible, builds a great foundation of Biblical teaching and is a strong visual tool for communicating the power of God’s Word.
Does it denigrate or dishonor the Holy Scriptures in any way? Absolutely not! After thoroughly studying the book I find it constructed with a high regard for the authority, infallibility, inspiration and love of God’s word. It clocks in at 150 pages, is divided into eleven chapters, each averaging about 20 pages. Each page features several colorful illustrations and the condensed text in a large font at the bottom averaging about 25 words per page. Hannah and I read one section per night which took around 5 minutes but could be more depending on how much discussion ensued.
This book is a gateway into the truths and wonder of the greatest book ever written. I commend the publishers for their work. Please check out their website at TheAlmightyBible.com . I think you will be impressed as well.