Sunday, September 17, 2006

The How-To Book of the Bible, a review

The How-To Book of the Bible by Karl A. Schultz

Paperback, 351 pages. OUR SUNDAY VISITOR (September 30, 2004)

ISBN: 1592760953

I was pleasantly surprised when I sat down with this book—actually, I was hooked! And another thing: I wish this book was available during my years of Bible study.... If you think the subtitle—Everything You Need To Know But No One Ever Taught You—is a little pretentious, it isn't. This book really does live up to its claim: it answers all of those questions you may have had about the Bible. Which translation is best? Why? Protestant Vs. Catholic Bible? And what about the Old Testament? How to understand puzzling passages? And more, much more. If you are a curious person and are always willing to learn something new, chances are you will love this approach to understanding and tackling the Bible. Furthermore, even if you have participated in Bible study for many years, I believe you will find something in this friendly volume that you didn’t know before!

The book is divided into three sections following an explanatory introduction, presenting to the reader the way the book works. It is in the introduction for instance that the first question appears: Why read the Bible? A solid argument for the importance of the most influential book of Western Culture follows, along with spiritual reasons. Here we also become familiar with the format of the book and icons used throughout, along with several considerations to be made.

The three sections are entitled "How to read the Bible", "How to read the New Testament", and "How to read the Old testament". Each section contains from six to eleven chapters. It would be smart to read the book in the order presented, but it is also possible to fully enjoy it by just picking it up and reading a page chosen at random. There is a useful bibliography of sources, but I would have liked to see an index. It would have been more useful to those using this book as an aid to a Bible study. Yet, the book is so well and clearly sectioned that the table of contents should serve a similar function.

Editorial Review:
Perhaps you know very little about the Bible … or enough to realize there’s so much more to discover! Maybe your previous attempts to read the Bible have not been fruitful, and you don’t get much out of the readings at Mass. You observe the role the Bible plays in the lives of others and feel that you’re missing something. The How-To Book of the Bible, by Karl A. Schultz, is your key to unlocking this treasure. Unlike other Bible-related books, this one not only introduces you to the Scriptures but also helps you develop a deep, fulfilling, and lasting bond with the Bible.

I believe this would make a fantastic choice for a high school homeschool student who needs a year of Bible. The format and language will appeal to the young student and in comparison with the dryness of the texts available to homeschoolers, this will shine. I would love to see a workbook companion for this, complete with tests and an answer key!

Reviewed by Ana Braga-Henebry, M.A.


Karl A Schultz said...

Dear Ana:

Thank you for your gracious and insightful review of the How-To Book of the Bible. Your articulation, perceptions, and sensitivity to practical applications were better than most professional journal reviews I have read. I get many requests for workbooks, so you were definitely on target.

Your request for an index was also justified. With all the material in the book, it would come in handy.

I have had 4 books on biblical spirituality published this year. You might enjoy "How to Pray with the Bible" (OSV), Pope Paul VI: Christian Virtues and Values (Crossroad), Becoming Community (New City Press), and Bearing the Unbearable: Coping with Infertility and Other Profound Suffering (Nimble Books).

I think you will particularly like the structure and table of contents of "How to Pray with the Bible".

More information on these books is available on my website, I just completed an hour long program on lectio divina (prayerful reading of the Bible) for public television. It is available on DVD. I'll be on EWTN Live! on March 12, 2008.

Feel free to contact me at if you have any questions. Peace, Karl

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

Dear Karl,
I am glad you enjoyed my review. Thank you for your words. Perhaps I will help you and write a workbook for it!