Bible Background, Survey, Authenticity & Introduction

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Subsections

Old Testament Background, Survey, Authenticity & Introduction  45+

New Testament Background, Survey, Authenticity & Introduction  65+

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Order of Contents

Authenticity of the Whole Bible  4
Bible Background, Survey & General Introduction  6
Special Introduction to, & Authenticity of, each Book  3
Manners & Customs  1
Bible History  3
Chronology  46+
Geography & Topography  10
Archaeology  7
Coins  2

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Authenticity of the Whole Bible

See also our sections on the authenticity of the whole Old & New Testaments and on each book thereof on our Old Testament Commentaries and New Testament Commentaries pages

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1800’s

Rawlinson, George – The Historical Evidences of the Truth of the Scripture Records Stated Anew, with Special Reference to the Doubts and Discoveries of Modern Times, in 8 Lectures  1860  460 pp.

Rawlinson (1812–1902) was a leading ancient historian of his day and goes through the confirmatory evidences of history to the truthfulness of the Old Testament books in Lectures 2-5.  He does the same for the New Testament in the last 3 Lectures.

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Mid-1900’s

Bruce, F.F. Bruce – The Books and the Parchments: Some Chapters on the Transmission of the Bible  Buy  1st ed. 1950  265 pp.

Broomall, Wick – Biblical Criticism  Buy  1957  316 pp.

Broomall was the student of Dr. Robert Dick Wilson of old Princeton and was a professor of Hebrew and Systematic Theology at Erskine Theological Seminary in South Carolina.  The content is at an intermediate level, though is easy to read.

“The present volume is naturally a defense of what is no known as the conservative (which is often generally equated with the traditional or historic) view of the Bible.  The author is thoroughly persuaded that this position is defensible–in fact, that it is the only view that will stand up under the scrutiny of historical research and investigation.” – Preface

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Late-1900’s

Linnemann, Eta – Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology  Reflections of a Bultmannian Turned Evangelical  Buy  1990  159 pp.  See the ‘Look Inside’ link through the Buy link for the Table of Contents

Linnemann (1926-2009) was a high-ranking, liberal, German professor of New Testament who became converted to the Savior.  She here exposes, from the inside, the secular ‘historical criticism’ of the Bible for what it is.

“As a student of Rudolph Bultmann and Earnst Fuchs… I had the best professors which historical-critical theology could offer to me…  My first book turned out to be a best-seller…  I was awarded the title of honorary professor of New Testament in the theology faculty of Philipps University, Marburg, West Germany…  I became enslaved to watching television and fell into an increasing state of alcohol dependence…  At that point God led me to vibrant Christians who knew Jesus personally as their Lord and Savior… He immediately took my life into his saving grasp…  Suddenly it was clear to me that my teaching was a case of the blind leading the blind…  I regard everything that I taught and wrote before I entrusted my life to Jesus as refuse.  I wish to mention that I have pitched my two books… along with my contributions to journals, anthologies and Festschriften.  Whatever of these writings I had in my possession I threw into the trash with my own hands in 1978.” – Author’s Introduction

Robert Yarbrough, who translated the work, was a professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary.  See his article on Linnemann’s life and post-conversion literary works.

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Bible Background, Survey & General Introduction

See also our pages on Old Testament Background, Survey, Authenticity & Introduction and New Testament Background, Survey, Authenticity & Introduction

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1800’s

Horne, Thomas Hartwell – An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, vol. 1, 2, 3, 4  1854   Vols. 1-3 contain General Introduction to the Bible, vol. 4 contains Special Introduction on each book of the Bible

Horne (1780–1862) was a Church of England minister, a bibliographer and on staff at the British museum.  This evangelical Introduction was used at Old Princeton for a time.

“Of great value to the Bible expositor.  Provides a comprehensive compendium of Biblical knowledge covering hermeneutics, history and geography, and apologetics.” – Cyril J. Barber

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1900’s

Boyd, James & Machen, J. Gresham – A Brief Bible History: A Survey of the Old and New Testaments  1922  135 pp.

Hendriksen, William – Survey of the Bible: A Treasury of Bible Information  Buy  1st ed. 1947  470 pp.

Hendricksen (1900–1982) was a minister in the Christian Reformed Church and is well known for his commentary with Simon Kistemaker on the New Testament.

“Most helpful at a simple level [is] William Hendricksen, Survey of the Bible, which is reliable and short…” – Joel Beeke

Geisler, Norman & William Nix – A General Introduction to the Bible  Buy  1968

Geisler is not Reformed, but is an evangelical author and teacher.

“Covers the inspiration, canonicity of the text, and translation of the entire Bible from an evangelical point of view.” – Cyril J. Barber

Deal, William – Pictorial Introduction to the Bible  Buy  1982  Baker

“Most helpful at a simple level [is]…  William Deal, Pictorial Introduction to the Bible, which excels in practical lessons to be gleaned from each Bible book.” – Joel Beeke

Richards, Lawrence O. – Teacher’s Commentary  Buy  1987  See the ‘Look Inside’ link at the Buy link for the Table of Contents

“Richards, Teacher’s Commentary… is weak on theology but excels as a practical guide for Sunday school teachers, Christian educators, and leaders of Bible-group studies.” – Joel Beeke

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Liberal

Briggs, Charles – A General Introduction to the Study of Holy Scripture: the Principles, Methods, History and Results of its Several Departments and of the Whole  1899  720 pp.

Briggs was a renowned, liberal, presbyterian professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, who got defrocked and excommunicated by the Northern Presbyterian Church in 1893.  This work is not recommended, but is here as a historical example of what liberals were then saying, from their own mouth.

“Liberal.  A classic treatment by a leading nineteenth-century theologian.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Special Introduction to, and the Authenticity of, each Book of the Bible

Horne, Thomas Hartwell – An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, vol. 4  1854   Vol. 4 contains Special Introduction on each book of the Bible

This Introduction was used at Old Princeton for a time, and defends the authenticity of each book of the Bible.

Fraser, Donald – Synoptical Lectures on the Books of Holy Scripture, vol. 1 (Gen-Hab), 2 (Zeph-Rev)  1885

Fraser was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland.  He wrote the Life of, and edited the Diary of, Ebenezer Erskine.

Jamieson, Robert, Andrew Fausset & David Brown – Commentary on the Whole Bible  1871

This is one of the best, generally reformed commentaries available.  Jamieson was of the Church of Scotland, Fausset of the Church of England, and Brown of the Free Church of Scotland.

‘Preface’ & ‘General Introduction to the Pentateuch’  2 & 32 pp.

Genesis  6 pp.
Exodus  4 pp.
Leviticus  3 pp.
Numbers  2 pp.
Deuteronomy  6 pp.

The Historical Books

Joshua  5 pp.                          1 & 2 Kings  3 pp.
Judges  6 pp.                          1 & 2 Chronicles  4 pp.
Ruth  3 pp.                             Ezra  3 pp.
1 & 2 Samuel  3 pp.              Nehemiah  1 p.
.                                                 Esther  1 p.

‘Preface’ & ‘Introduction to the Poetical Books’  2 & 4 pp.

Job  3 pp.
Psalms  3 pp.
Proverbs  2 pp.
Ecclesiastes  2 pp.
The Song of Solomon  3 pp.

‘Introductions to the Prophetical Books’  2 pp.

Isaiah  4 pp.                            Amos  1 p.
Jeremiah  3 pp.                      Obadiah  1 p.
Lamentations  1 p.                Jonah  1 p.
Ezekiel  2 pp.                          Micah  1 p.
Daniel  4 pp.                           Nahum  1 p.
Hosea  1 p.                               Habakkuk  1 p.
Joel  1 p.                                    Zephaniah  1 p.

‘Introduction to Prophets of the Restoration’  3 pp.

Haggai  1 p.
Zechariah  1 p.
Malachi  1 p.  

‘Introduction to the Gospels’  24 pp.

Matthew  6 pp.
Mark  2 pp.
Luke  2 pp.
John  3 pp.

Acts  10 pp.

The Epistles

Romans                                         Titus
1 Corinthians                               Philemon
2 Corinthians                              Hebrews
Galatians                                      James
Ephesians                                     1 Peter
Philippians                                   2 Peter
Colossians                                     1 John
1 Thessalonians                           2 & 3 John
2 Thessalonians                          Jude
1 Timothy                                      Revelation
2 Timothy

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Manners & Customs

Mackie, G.M. – Bible Manners & Customs  1898

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Bible History

Blaikie, William G. – A Manual of Bible History, in Connection with the General History of the World   n.d.  530 pp.

Blaikie was a minister in the Free Church of Scotland.

Lewis, Jack Pearl – Historical Backgrounds of Bible History  Buy  1971  Baker

“Presents in readable form the material from archaeological discoveries which highlights events during the lives of leading Biblical personalities.  Greatly facilitates sermon preparation.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Chronology

Bible Chronology

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Geography & Topography

1800’s

Thomson, William – The Land and the Book, or Biblical Illustrations Drawn from the Manners and Customs, the Scenes and Scenery of the Holy Land, vol. 1 (Southern Palestine & Jerusalem), 2 (Central Palestine & Phoenicia), 3 (Lebanon, Damascus & Beyond Jordan)  1880

“Thompson spent 30 years as a missionary in Bible lands, and this work is the result of his observations and travels in the Near East.” – Cyril J. Barber

Geikie, John Cunningham – The Holy Land and the Bible: a Book of Scripture Illustrations Gathered in Palestine, vol. 1 (Southern Israel to Jerusalem), 2 (Around Jerusalem to Northern Israel)

Geikie (1824 – 1906)

‘One of the best religious writers of the age.’ – Spurgeon

‘We can never know too much of that literature which throws side-lights on the Bible, and which unfolds the customs of the people, difficult allusions,historical coincidences, geographical details.  Geikie’s Hours with the Bible; Kitto’s Daily Illustrations, edited by Dr. Porter; Dr. Smith’s Bible Dictionary; books like these are invaluable….’ – F.B. Meyer

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Early 1900’s

Sanday, William – Sacred Sites of the Gospels  1903  270 pp.

Sanday was an Oxford professor.

“An old, moderately helpful survey of sights made famous by Christ during his earthly life and ministry.” – Cyril Barber

Smith, George Adam

Historical Geography of the Holy Land, Especially in Relation to the History of Israel and of the Early Church  1910  760 pp.  See below for the companion Atlas

Smith was a liberal.

“A classic study by a renowned scholar of the past century.” – Cyril J. Barber

Jerusalem: the Topography, Economics and History from the Earliest Times to A.D. 70, vol. 1 (Topography, Economics, Politics), 2 (History)

“Provides considerable detail on the topography, economics, and history of Jerusalem from the earliest times to A.D. 70.” – Cyril J. Barber

Dalman, Gustav – Sacred Sites and Ways  Buy  1935  Here is a review.

“One of the best modern works on the geography of Palestine.” – Cyril Barber

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Mid-Late 1900’s

Bruin, Paul & Phillip Giegel – Jesus Lived Here: a Modern Pilgrimage through the Holy Land  Buy  1958  240 pp.

“A pictorial study of the places referred to in the Gospels.  Clear illustrations chosen with taste and distinction.  Enhanced by color as well as black and white prints.” – Cyril Barber

Adams, J. McKee – Biblical Backgrounds: a Geographical Survey of Bible Lands in the Light of the Scriptures and Recent Research  Buy  1934 & 1965  475 pp.

Adams was a professor of Biblical Introduction at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

“A well-illustrated, up-to-date [ed. 1965] work on the geography of the Ancient Near East.” – Cyril J. Barber

Pfeiffer, Charles & Howard Vos – Wycliff Historical Geography of Bible Lands  Buy  1967

“A modern, evangelical treatment of the ten areas of the Near Eastern and Mediterranean world.  Blends the historical, geographical, Biblical, and archaeological material to form a factual, informative reference tool.  Enhanced with 459 excellent illustrations, 45 black-and-white maps, 16 pages of color maps, and helpful diagrams of local areas and many ancient cities.” – Cyril J. Barber

Smick, Elmer – Archaeology of the Jordan Valley  Buy  1973  Baker

Turner, George Allen – Historical Geography of the Holy Land  Buy  1973  Baker 

“A well outlined, beautifully illustrated and admirably executed volume.  Deserves a place on every Bible student’s book shelf.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Atlases

Smith, George Adam – Atlas of the Historical Geography of the Holy Land  1915  180 pp.

Pfeiffer, Charles – Baker’s Bible Atlas  Buy  1961, 1973, 2003

“An important work incorporating a geographical gazetteer to assist the reader in identifying Biblical places with present-day name.” – Cyril J. Barber


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Archaeology

See also our separate sections on ‘Archaeology on the Old Testament’ and ‘Archaeology on the New Testament’

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Introductory Article

Climer, Phillip – ‘Archaeology and the Bible’  1999  originally published in the Trinity Review, and reprinted as an appendix to Ussher’s Annals of the World

This is an excellent introduction as to how the Bible (God’s truth) is related to the inferential and always inconclusive methodology of archaeology.  Climer is a reformed Christian.

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Intermediate

Berkhof, Louis – Biblical Archaeology  1928  200 pp.

Berkhof was a noted American-Dutch, reformed theologian.

Free, Joseph – Archaeology and Bible History  Buy  rev. 1992  320 pp.

Free was chairman of the department of archaeology at Wheaton College, IL.

“Shows how archaeology confirms Bible history and illuminates the events of the OT and NT.  An introductory work.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Advanced

Kitchen, K.A. – The Bible in its World: the Bible and Archaeology Today  Buy  2004

See the ‘Buy’ link for a review.

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Reference

ed. Avi-Yonah, M. – Encyclopedia of Archeological Excavations in the Holy Land, 4 vols.  Buy  1975-8  Prentice-Hall

These volumes, at times, are running dirt cheap on Amazon, and are worth picking up.

“This encyclopedia covers all the significant archeological activity in Palestine up to the time of publication.  The information is given alphabetically by site.  It is a wonderful reference work and covers all periods of antiquity.” – Tremper Longman, 5 out of 5 stars

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Cities

Pfeiffer, Charles – Jerusalem through the Ages  Buy  1967  94 pp.

“A brief treatment of the history of Jerusalem through the centuries.  Incorporates a survey of both sacred and secular history and includes the significant archaeological findings and their bearing upon thee Biblical text.” – Cyril J. Barber

DeVries, LaMoine – Cities of the Biblical World  Buy  1997  385 pp.  Hendrickson

This work is helpfully arranged according to Old and New Testament, and the major nations therein, with their significant cities listed and discussed.

Unfortunately the work walks a middle, broad path, being at ease with, and coming from the perspective of, status quo secular archaeology.  Thus, it has numerous liberal concessions/assumptions which are not on par with the Biblical timeline.  Likewise, the author’s writing, while providing some helpful information, is the opposite of invigorating and is not very engaging.  But the work fills a void.


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Coins

Jewish

Madden, Frederic William – History of Jewish Coinage and Money in the Old and New Testaments and Supplement 1864, 1875

“An extensive treatment of the history of currency and monetary exchange in the Ancient Near East, together with many illustrations of coins from the period of the Maccabean, Idumean, and Roman periods.  Chapters include Arabic coins, Greek and Roman money, weights and measures, Talmudic writings on coinage, and ancient methods of counterfeiting.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Roman

Mattingly, Harold – Roman Coins: From the Earliest Times to the Fall of the Western Empire  Buy  2nd ed. 1960  300 pp.

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Related Pages

Whole Bible Commentaries

Biblical Theology

Old Testament Theology

New Testament Theology