The book attempts to answer the most asked questions of WHAT (what is it or what happened) and WHY (why did it happen, why was it important and why is it relevant to us today). As the subtitle suggests, the entries range from people (such as Belshazzar, the Apostle Paul, the Moabites and the prophets) to places (Babylon, Canaan, the Red Sea and Mount Ararat) to terms and tools (such as diadem, ephod, persecution, and temperance). Most are only five to ten sentences long; the entry for Jesus Christ is the largest at five paragraphs.
Full-color illustrations appear throughout the book. While you'll not find one for every entry, there are usually one to three of various sizes for every other page. Some are modern illustrations and maps; others feature photographs of places, people, sculptures or creatures. The book even includes works by famous artists such as Raphael, Michelangelo and Francisco de Zurbaran.
What I Like: I love the solid biblical foundation, evidenced by ample Scripture references. This book offers thorough information, but avoids explicit details. For example, it clarifies that the Bible never says the "forbidden fruit" of Eden was an apple, but tells the truth of Bathsheba without mentioning nudity or adultery. The information is perfectly age-appropriate. I also really like that the book is more than just a reference tool; it challenges readers to internalize the information. The Gospel is clearly laid out in the entry for Jesus Christ. This is a fantastic volume!
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Overall Rating: Excellent!
Age Appeal: 8-12, but parents of younger children may also find it helpful. I recommend kindergarten and up.
Publisher Info: Barbour Publishing, 2009; ISBN: 1602602964; Paperback; $12.95
Special Info: This book presents a conservative Protestant perspective and may not align perfectly with all denominations.
Catholic parents should note that one entry (Priesthood of Believers) states: "Believers today don't have to go through a priest." The entry explains that Jesus Christ was the perfect priest and, by offering Himself as our sacrificial Lamb, provided a way for all believers to speak directly to God. Also the entry for "Sacrament" only includes baptism and communion. It does not say these are the only sacraments, but it does not mention any others.
Pentecostal parents should note that sign gifts are not included in the entry on "Spiritual Gifts." It lists these: "The greatest...is love. Some other gifts of the Spirit are preaching, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leading, and helping. Wisdom, knowledge, faith and knowing right from wrong are also His gifts." It also clarifies that not everyone gets all of God's gifts (a worthy note if you are of a denomination that believes specific gifts seal one's salvation).
Note also that the entry on "Tongues, Speaking in" does not specify whether or not this gift has ceased. It explains the day of Pentecost and references both Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14, then states: "Paul said that speaking in tongues is speaking to God, not to people."
If you have any specific doctrinal questions or concerns regarding the content of this book, please use the comments section or email me directly. I'd be more than happy to provide the details you require.