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Ryken's Bible Handbook [Hardcover]

By Leland Ryken (Author), Philip Ryken (Author) & James Wilhoit (Author)
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Item description for Ryken's Bible Handbook by Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken & James Wilhoit...

Three authors help shed light on understanding the Bible, not just as the inspired work of God, but also looking at the different genres that make up the Bible's books--poetry, historical narrative, wisdom literature, story, parables, and more.

Publishers Description
This book gives students of the Bible a quick overview of every book in the Bible. Leland Ryken's distinctive trait is a literary approach to the Bible--understanding the Bible as literature. The three authors help shed light on understanding the Bible as the inspired Word of God and as literature by looking at the Bible's different literary genres: poetry, narrative, wisdom literature, story, parables, and more.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Pages   660
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.42" Width: 6.34" Height: 1.42"
Weight:   1.7 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2005
Publisher   Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN  0842384014  
ISBN13  9780842384018  

Availability  8 units.
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More About Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken & James Wilhoit

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Leland Ryken (PhD, University of Oregon) served as professor of English at Wheaton College for nearly 50 years. He has authored or edited over fifty books, including The Word of God in English and A Complete Handbook of Literary Forms in the Bible. He is a frequent speaker at the Evangelical Theological Society's annual meetings and served as literary stylist for the English Standard Version Bible.

Todd Wilson (PhD, Cambridge University) serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Illinois. Todd has spent over a decade in pastoral ministry, previously serving on staff at College Church in Wheaton, Illinois, and Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the cofounder and chairman of the Center for Pastor Theologians, a ministry dedicated to resourcing pastor theologians. Todd and his wife, Katie, have seven children.

David Jackman (MA, Cambridge University) is a renowned Christian speaker and author. In addition to serving as a visiting lecturer at London's Oak Hill Theological College, he is also a former president of The Proclamation Trust, a ministry dedicated to encouraging and equipping Bible teachers around the world.

D. A. Carson (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is a cofounder of the Gospel Coalition and has written or edited nearly 120 books. He and his wife, Joy, have two children and live in the north suburbs of Chicago.

Paul R. House (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. He has been a pastor or teacher in churches, Christian colleges, and seminaries for over thirty years. He is a past president of the Evangelical Theological Society, an active member of the Society of Biblical Literature, and a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version Bible. House is the author of numerous books, including Bonhoeffer's Seminary Vision.

Wayne Grudem (PhD, University of Cambridge; DD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, having previously taught for 20 years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible, the general editor of the ESV Study Bible, and has published over 20 books.

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, where he has served since 1969. He is known around the world for his verse-by-verse expository preaching and his pulpit ministry via his daily radio program, Grace to You. He has also written or edited nearly four hundred books and study guides. MacArthur serves as the president of the Master's College and Seminary. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Southern California and have four grown children.

Bruce William Winter (PhD, Macquarie University) is the director of the Institute for Early Christianity in the Graeco-Roman World. Winter was previously the warden of Tyndale House at Cambridge and is currently a part-time lecturer at Queensland Theological College in Australia.

J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.

Duane Litfin (DPhil, University of Oxford; PhD, Purdue University) is president emeritus of Wheaton College where he served for seventeen years. He is the author of numerous articles and books.

Phillip D. Jensen is an evangelist, a Bible teacher, and the director of Two Ways Ministries.

Philip Graham Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford) is the eighth president of Wheaton College. Formerly, he served as senior minister of Philadelphia's historic Tenth Presbyterian Church. He has written or edited more than 40 books, including the popular title Loving the Way Jesus Loves, and has lectured and preached at universities and seminaries worldwide.

Peter Jensen is a retired Australian Anglican bishop, theologian and academic. From 1985 to 2001, he was principal of Moore Theological College. From 2001 to 2013, he was the archbishop of Sydney and Metropolitan of the Province of New South Wales in the Anglican Church of Australia.

Jon M. Dennis (MDiv, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; MLA, University of Chicago) is the founding pastor and senior pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago, Illinois. He has helped to establish the church's four congregations and various ministries including Hope for Chicago, the Charles Simeon Trust, and the Chicago Partnership for Church Planting. He is the author of several books and is currently working to complete his doctorate of ministry at Westminster Theological Seminary. Jon and his wife, Amy, have five children.

David R. Helm (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) serves as lead pastor of the Hyde Park congregation of Holy Trinity Church in Chicago. He also serves as Chairman of The Charles Simeon Trust, an organization which promotes practical instruction in preaching. He is the co-author of The Genesis Factor (with Jon Dennis), a contributor to Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching, and the author of The Big Picture Story Bible and 1 and 2 Peter and Jude in the Preaching the Word commentary series.

Leland Ryken currently resides in the state of Illinois.

Leland Ryken has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Christian Guides to the Classics
  2. Reading the Bible as Literature
  3. Writers' Palette Book

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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible Study > General
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Reviews - What do customers think about Ryken's Bible Handbook?

Wonderful tool to study the Bible with!  May 2, 2010
I love this! Now, obviously I haven't gotten through the whole Bible since I got the Ryken's Bible Handbook because I have only had it about a month. But I have loved what I have read. The Bible can be a hard read. Especially the old testament, at least for me. The new testament has always been easier for me to read and comprehend.

I love how the Ryken's Bible Handbook goes through the whole Bible. It starts out each book with the format - ie: Genesis has 50 chapters and 1,533 verses. Then it goes into the author's perspective, the implied audience, what unifies the book, special features (ie: Genesis tells us about Adam and Eve, noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.). It goes on to explian challenges that the reader might face in the book and how to meet those challenges. Then it goes into a timeline if you will of what you will find in the certain chapters, the history, the form of the book, key places and characters, unifying elements, , tips for reading, and then a quick overview of the book. It also tells you how to apply the book. I love this! It's in an easy to read and understand format.

I've looked at a lot of how to understand or read through the bible books and they all either are too challenging for me or too simplistic. This one is right in the middle. I think it's fabulous and I look forward to getting through the entire Bible with it's help. That's actually on my bucket list. Read the entire Bible. I will get it done.

Thank you to Tyndale Publishing for providing me with a copy of Ryken's Bible Handbook
Handy & Compact, Yet Extremely Helpful  Apr 24, 2010
Resources for studying the Bible are a dime a dozen, today. Every popular pastor or gifted teacher has his own study Bible or commentary set. Teacher's handbooks, small group study guides, commentaries of all kinds, and big thick dictionaries abound. Many of these resource tools aren't all that helpful, and some are outdated. Others are too bulky to be accessible, or too compact to be worth one's time.

Enter, Ryken's Bible Handbook (Tyndale). This handy, manageable volume stands apart in both its convenience and its worth. A wide variety of helpful material is arranged and presented in an attractive and accessible format.

Following the Bible handbook pattern, the information is arranged book by book through all 66 books of the Bible. The stress is on how best to read and understand the content of each particular book. Articles on Bible narratives, wisdom literature, prophecy, parables and more are placed at important positions throughout the handbook. And the book also cross-references these helpful articles often enough to ensure they remain useful (and not forgotten).

A fact sheet with information about the author, audience and special features of each book sets the stage. This is followed by an outline and a discussion of literary forms, key characters, doctrines and themes, and tips for reading or teaching the book. Next the flow of the book is traced so one can catch a sense of the whole. Interspersed throughout are helpful charts and a collection of quotes from Bible teachers and pastors. A discussion of the challenges to reading the book, and a guide to applying it are also included.

The handbook excels at keeping things simple yet providing real help. It manages to remain neutral on most theological controversies, aiming to equip one to read the Biblical book rather than actually teaching a theological position drawn from specific passages.

I found the article on parables to be particularly well done. That section makes the point that parables hint at something "alongside". "It is untrue that you can find only one theme or `point' in a parable. Most parables employ multiple themes or ideas." (pg. 447) This emphasis for me is especially important as I've seen other books on reading the Bible stress the opposite, which seems to contradict Christ's own interpretation of parables and leans to heavily on rationalistic scholarship.

Even if you disagree in a few places with the book, that won't take away from it's overall usefulness. Sunday school teachers, Bible students of all ages, pastors and parents will find this book very helpful. I heartily recommend it.

This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for review. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
Excellent Literary Analysis.  Apr 18, 2010
While there are plenty of people who do not know about the Bible and do not care to know, there are many who really want to read the Bible and understand what it is saying. Many such persons experience difficulty when trying to make sense of the Bible-- it seems to be a foreign book to people in the twenty-first century. Many others labor under misunderstandings and misapprehensions about the nature of the Bible and the various books contained therein.

There is value, therefore, in having resources available that are easily accessible and yet clear about the nature of the Bible and the individual books that comprise it. Ryken's Bible Handbook, written by Leland Ryken, Philip Ryken, and James Wilhoit, is one such resource. The work presents an introduction to the Bible, a discussion of each individual book of the Bible, articles on issues related to the message of the Bible, a one year Bible reading plan, and many helpful maps.

Bible handbooks are nothing new, but Ryken's Bible Handbook is especially valuable because it focuses on the literary aspects of the Bible. The introduction explores how we got the Bible, why it was written, its form, its characters, and its overarching story. The discussion of each book features a general outline of the book, a fact sheet about the book, points of overview of the book, a short description of the substance or events of the book and how they flow and work together, suggestions on how to read, apply, and teach the book, and "perspectives" on the book-- quotes from various people regarding the book.

Thus, Ryken's Bible Handbook is a helpful accessory for Bible study-- it does present historical and contextual material, like other Bible handbooks, but the literary analysis and approach is rather unique and extremely beneficial for proper understanding of the various books of the Bible, how they are to be understood, and how they all work together.

The book suffers from some challenges. The authors promote Protestant and Calvinistic doctrines-- faith only, Augustinian-Calvinist views on predestination and election, and a lack of clarity about covenant distinction. Leland Ryken worked on the translation of the English Standard Version (ESV), and it is quoted in many places, but the main translation that is used is the New Living Translation because it is published by Tyndale. The ESV is preferable for its greater fidelity to the original Hebrew and Greek.

Yet there are other praiseworthy elements of the book. The authors recognize the dual nature of fulfillment of prophecies in the Old Testament, and advocate and practice contextual interpretation before finding Christological or soteriological interpretations of passages. The Psalms are recognized as presenting a range of human emotions that may go beyond what God specifically wills. While the authors promote the "Olivet Discourse" of Matthew 24-25/Mark 13/Luke 21 as referring to the "end times," their discussion of Revelation is bereft of dispensational premillenialism, instead focusing on the symbolic nature of the work and the use of the symbols therein, and declaring that at least part if not most of what John saw in the vision has taken place and/or continues to take place in cyclical patterns.

Ryken's Bible Handbook is a useful resource in working to interpret the Bible, and has value for students, teachers, and preachers. As long as one is mindful of the Protestant perspective of the authors, one can find a lot of structures and ideas that make the message of the Bible make sense. If you have found it challenging to understand the nature, purpose, structure, and literary methods of the Bible, or find it challenging to teach regarding such matters, Ryken's Bible Handbook will be of great value to you!

*- book received from Tyndale as part of an early review program.

Very Useful Bible reference  Apr 13, 2010
I had trouble deciding how to review this book, since it's not necessarily meant to be read cover-to-cover, but used alongside the Bible as a study guide. Flipping through the pages, it's apparent that nearly every aspect that I can think of regarding the Bible is addressed in the text, such as format, author, audience, theme, writing style, timeline, purpose, cast of characters, both general and specific topics highlighted in the Bible, flow, places, definitions, historical references, and even tips for reading and studying the Bible. Each book is addressed separately, quotes from other sources are scattered across the pages, and interesting factoids are made mention of in the margins. A One Year Bible Reading Plan is also found at the end of the handbook, followed by multiple maps and charts that correspond to information addressed in the handbook.
It is important to note that the Bible version that the writers use when quoting scripture is the English Standard Version (ESV), which I think is poor form. Bible versions now adays are a dime-a-dozen, and everyone thinks that their version is the best and easiest to understand. If a person is going to put out something of this nature, that claims a certain authority in the interpretation of Biblical scripture, they should either be willing to use a wide variety of Bible versions or stick with the version that servived centuries before this modern era of multiple Bible versions - the King James Version (KJV). Bible versions is a hot topic, so I'm not going to dwell on this.
I have been studying the Bible for most of my life, so anything that puts a fresh perspective on the text, I appreciate. I especially like the quotes and fact tidbits, since these are things that I won't get from the Bible alone. I will definitely be using this handbook alongside my Bible reading and study, as well as taking advantage of the One Year Bible Reading Plan, though I won't consider this my only source of Bible reference.
Recommended for New to Maturing Christians  Apr 13, 2010
You will eventually figure out that , I enjoy discovering new ways to read and come to understand the Bible. For me, not just reading the Bible, but learning to unearth the layers upon layers of comfort, encouragement and coming closer to our Heavenly Father, is part of the joy and exercise of spending daily time reading the Bible.

It is like exercising, when you stop reading the Bible, you notice be it gradually or immediately, the effects and when you start reading the Bible, its about learning good habits and overcoming bad habits that may have happen.

One of the most popular reasons for not reading the Bible is the average person expresses a lack of understanding how, and Leland Ryken's book, "Ryken's Bible Handbook" is an encouraging and in depth but written at layman's terms, that provide the needed guide map to reading the Bible.

No handbook is ever meant to be a subsitute, and different styles of handbook, may appeal to different people, but this particularly handbook, has a very comforting, conversational style, filled with helpful side notes and maps at the ends, to help both new and maturing Christians in their walk.

It's often hard to find cons in Bible handbooks, because like travel guides, different people are looking for different things, but like all guides, "Ryken's Bible Handbook" provides a very indepth look at each individual book of the Bible.

Another plus about this, is that it is very compact, so it wouldn't take much space in your backpack or tote bag or even say a medium purse (hey these things are important when you're on the go).

This is something I strongly recommend for the newbie to the growing Christian to have one hand, both for the compactness of the book to the in depth, but conversational and easy to understand reading.

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