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Everything You Want to Know about the Bible: Well...Maybe Not Everything but Enough to Get You Started

Everything You Want to Know about the Bible: Well...Maybe Not Everything but Enough to Get You Started

by Peter Douglas Downey, Ben James Shaw

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It’s the bestselling book ever. It’s been translated into more than 2,000 languages. It’s changed people’s lives around the world. No, it’s not Thin Thighs in 30 Days . . . it’s the Bible! Yet the Bible remains about as well-understood to many people as your typical software license agreement—and about as exciting. That’


It’s the bestselling book ever. It’s been translated into more than 2,000 languages. It’s changed people’s lives around the world. No, it’s not Thin Thighs in 30 Days . . . it’s the Bible! Yet the Bible remains about as well-understood to many people as your typical software license agreement—and about as exciting. That’s too bad, because the Bible is exciting, and it doesn’t have to be a mystery. Whether you’re new to the Bible and think the book of Job is a guide to finding the perfect career, or your rusty Bible knowledge needs a spit-and-polish, or you just want a fresh look at the book you’ve read so many times, this is the book for you. No dry theological treatise, it’s written in an engaging, humorous style you will enjoy. In short, readable chapters, the authors first answer some basic questions: Who wrote the Bible? Is it accurate? How do you find your way around it? And how did Noah fit all those animals into the ark anyway? (Well, maybe not that, but there’s still plenty of trivia in there.) Then they take you on a guided tour from Genesis to Revelation, summarizing important people, events, and themes. You’ll get a good foundation for understanding and an excitement for reading this most important of books, the Bible. “The title says it all! It’s an inspiring trailer for the Best Book in the World. Read it front to back or just dip in—either way it does the biz.” —Rob Lacey, author of the word on the street, actor and broadcaster

Product Details

Publication date:
Sold by:
Zondervan Publishing
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Everything You Want to Know about the Bible
Try this quick quiz.
What Is It?
* It is a book, a best seller that most people on the planet have at one time read or at least casually glanced at.
* It has touched countless people with its insights and information.
* The English-language version is now distributed in over seventy countries.
* It opens doorways and tells us a lot about ourselves and our world.
* It is to be found in pretty well every library on the planet.
* It is available in thirty-seven foreign-language translations.
* Sales of this book are phenomenal, totalling somewhere up near the 100-
million mark worldwide.
And the name of the book?
What was that you said? The Bible? Sorry, no. Wrong. Do not pass Go.
Do not collect two hundred dollars.
It is actually Guinness World Records. Now, the Guinness is a good read and has some pretty impressive sales figures. And it also contains life-changing information, like the fact that in 1998 some guy blasted a strand of spaghetti nineteen centimetres* from one nostril. On every measurable scale, however,
Guinness is chicken feed when compared to the world's best-selling book, which is, as you already know . . . wait for it . . . trumpet fanfare, please! (bup-duddabup,
bup-bup-bup-baaaa) . . . the Bible.
It has been translated into over 2,200 languages and dialects. As a point of comparison, the works of William Shakespeare have been translated into only 50 languages. Bible Societies are currently working in over 200 countries producing translations in almost 500 new languages. They distribute over 500
million Bibles and Bible portions annually.
In the past twenty years, over 100 million copies of the Good News Bible have been printed. In China alone, almost 2.5 million Bibles are distributed each year. Despite its 'thees' and 'thous' from the seventeenth century, 13
million copies of the King James Bible are sold every year -- to say nothing of the umpteen other versions that are walking out of bookshops around the globe every second of every day.
In the past two centuries, an estimated 5 billion (yes folks, not thousand,
not even million, but billion, with a B* -- that's 5 with nine 0s after it) Bibles have been printed. Wouldn't you just love to be the publisher who signed up the contract for that print run!
These figures are pretty staggering. In fact, they are so big it almost defies comprehension. So think of it like this: for about the past two hundred years,
a Bible has been sold every few seconds of every minute of every hour of every day. At the same sales rate, the Guinness World Records would have sold out after only a few years.
If you were to stack these Bibles one on top of each other, you would have a tower 78,000 kilometres** tall. It would take the space shuttle travelling at full tilt over two hours to get to the top of the tower, and if the tower ever fell over, it would knock the earth out of orbit and start another ice age.
Or think of it like this: if you were to lay all these Bibles end to end in a single line, they would . . . well, let's just say they would go lots and lots of times around the world and then make a three-lane bible-paved expressway up Mount Everest just because it was there. But the awesomeness of the Bible goes beyond simple sales figures. It is an awesome book that has had a critical impact on the shape of our world. For almost two thousand years, billions of people have been influenced by it, whether indirectly as the basis of law and morality in their country or directly as their personal guidebook to life, both physical and spiritual.
Half the people you know were probably named after someone in the
Bible -- like Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Ringo . . . Dan, Sarah, Eve,
Adam, Mary, Jesus (if you live in South America), Rachel, Liz, Becky, Debbie,
Mike, Zac, Joe, Josh, and on top of that, who doesn't know at least one Maher-
* No other book even comes close to it.
* No other book is held in such high regard.
* No other book has been smuggled in so many car boots across dangerous borders.
* No other book has appeared so often in the top drawer of hotel bedside tables.
* No other book has been so widely studied (except maybe Pride and Prejudice).
* No other book has caused so much debate and controversy.
* No other book has been 'sworn' over so much in courtrooms.
* No other book is so misunderstood by people who've never read it.
* No other book has had so many people living their life by it.
* No other book has had so many people who died for it.
Which leaves us with only one question: Why? Why is the Bible so popular,
so translated, so widely read and so massively published? Because the pages make good cigarette paper? Don't think so. Because of the illustrations?
No, because everyone knows Phantom comics have the best illustrations.
It is because the Bible tells us about God. If you were to put the Bible into a nutshell (you'd need a really big magnifying glass to read it), if you were to mortar and pestle it down into a single definition, it would be this:
The Bible shows us how to be in relationship with God.
Which is the biggest and most exciting topic of all time. But more of that in the chapters to come.

Meet the Author

Peter Downey is on executive staff at a Christian school in Sydney, Australia. The author of three marriage and parenting books, including So You're Going to be a Dad, he was listed in The Bulletin magazine as one of Australia's Top Ten parenting authors. He is also author of Everything You Want to Know about the Bible (co-authored with Ben Shaw), a book about Jesus for the Bible Society, and has written for a range of journals and publications. Although he has a Bachelor, Masters, and Doctoral degrees in Arts and Education and a diploma in Biblical Studies, he feels like a guy writing a book about automotive engineering when all he’s done is worked part-time in a carwash. He and his wife have three daughters.
Ben Shaw is a curate at Emmanuel Church in Wimbledon, London. He studied theology and went on to receive his MA in ancient history. A former rock singer and guitarist with the Australian-based Christian rock band In the Silence, he does a lot of speaking and continues to perform musically. His greatest love is his wife, Karen.

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