I found this book at my local used book store several months ago. It immediately grabbed my attention when I saw it. I enjoy history – just about any type of history. I can’t understand the aversion some people have towards it. I suppose history can be presented in a dry way, but history helps us understand the world around us and ourselves too. We are all products of the past. So many light bulbs have turned on for me as I have learned history.
The Bible in World History, Putting Scripture Into a Global Context by Stephen Leston. Barbour Publishing, 2011.
When I looked up this book on amazon, it appears to be out of print – as there are only used copies selling for a high price. Sad. And puzzling. This is an exceptional book, and it has 57 amazon reviews. **Update – I contacted Barbour through twitter. It is out of print, but a new edition will release in January 2017.
The events of the Bible did not happen in a vacuum. I think one reason some people find the Bible hard to understand is that they have no clue about the other nations and people who intersect with the biblical story. It is all so foreign. Some of the countries or people groups ceased to exist long ago.
The author of this book brings the Bible to life by educating the reader about what was happening in the world as the biblical events unfolded. Special focus is given to nations that directly intersect with the biblical narrative (Assyria, Persia, Rome, etc) but other nations are included as well (China, India, South America, etc). The book goes in chronological order from the book of Genesis all the way to early church history after New Testament times.
I truly found this book a “page-turner” and read it quickly. It has a variety of photos, pictures, and maps that relate to the presented material. While it is educational and touches on facts that would more typically be included in academic works, it is most definitely written for the lay person. It assumes the reader lacks familiarity with certain things, yet it should also be helpful to the more informed. I found it a great review, learned some new tidbits, and appreciated the approach the author took in explaining things.
The author emphasizes that a sovereign God is moving all of history to His appointed end. Our lives are not lost in a meaningless cycle of historical repetition that is going nowhere. History is going somewhere, and we can trust that God is at work in this world.
Leston states that connecting “the events of world history with the events of the Bible gives us the clarity necessary to make sense of the world and world history.”
Further he states: “I would suggest that only a Christian view of history truly addresses the issues that drive mankind, and thus only a Christian worldview can give us what we need to understand the world around us.”
I highly recommend this book. It should not only inform you and help the Bible make more sense – but give you HOPE.
*If you are local and want to borrow my copy, let me know.