I generally review indie books at the request of the author or publicist here on my blog, but I typically write at least a short review on Goodreads of everything I read. I’m posting this Goodreads review of Halley’s Bible Handbook because the book impacted me so much I think every Christian should read it.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I didn’t realize what I was getting into when I started this. I had given up secular reading for Lent and intended to read several Christian books during that time. But this overwhelmed me and kept me reading far beyond Lent. The other books I planned to read are still waiting.
Halley’s Bible Handbook began in 1922 as a 16-page hand-printed pamphlet that Henry Halley gave out to encourage people to read and understand the Bible. Halley started as a clergyman but was told by his doctor that he had to get outside and do hard physical work for his health. He gave up pastoral work and went into the construction business, but he never gave up his faith or his love of the Bible. He memorized and could quote Scripture from every book of the Bible for 25 hours. He gave recitations in churches, always beginning each one with a brief description of the book he was quoting from. When note-taking by the audience distracted him, he decided to print up the information in a leaflet. Over 80 years and 25 editions, that little leaflet grew into this nearly 500-page-book, edited by Halley’s great-granddaughter and her husband.
The book begins with explaining what the Bible is: “1) The Bible is God’s Word. 2) Christ is the heart and center of the Bible.” Halley gives background on the setting and time of the Bible, including archaeological discoveries and historical references.
He then goes through book by book and gives the main thought of each book. I intend to go through this the next time I read the Bible straight through. This year I’m following a chronological reading plan and since the year is half over, I will finish that plan. But next year, I’ll start over reading the Bible from the beginning, and I will use this handbook as I read. Although I have done a lot of Bible studies, this was more effective than anything else I’ve done in helping me understand how the Old Testament is part of Christ’s story. Many cross-references are very helpful.
There are a lot of maps and charts and information about places and people and events. But the most important message of this handbook is, in Henry Halley’s words, “that every Christian should be a Constant and Devoted Reader of the Bible; and that the primary business of the Church and Ministry is to lead, foster, and encourage their people in that habit.”
I purchased this book to read; no one asked me to review it. I wrote the review because it impacted me so greatly I wanted to share it with others. The Amazon link is an affiliate link.