A Brief Book Notice from Books At a Glance
by Fred G. Zaspel
The claims of our faith are rooted in real history. God has revealed himself through actual events in actual places and real people of the past. We know all this just from reading our Bibles, and the Spirit’s confirmation of his Word is convincing to us. And so we are not surprised when ancient historians and archaeologists uncover “evidence” for the Bible. It has been said that with each next turn of the spade the archaeologist uncovers new corroboration of the Scriptures, and with each new detail they provide we say, “but of course!”
Yet somehow it is always delightful to see such “external confirmation” accumulate, and that’s the value of Daniel Hays’ most recent book, A Christian Guide to Evidence for the Bible. I will admit that I enjoy having such evidence at hand to show the skeptic – again, our faith is grounded in real history, and it’s important that we be able to demonstrate that fact. But to my mind the value of this book is not just apologetic but illustrative – I wish I had this book years ago to illuminate biblical passages as I have taught or preached through them.
Hays selects 101 people, events, and places from biblical antiquity and provides for each a brief, crisp summary of historical findings corresponding to the biblical references. From Ahab (chapter 1) to Herodias (chapter 70) or Quirinius (chapter 75), from the Assyrian Campaign against the Philistine City of Ashdod (chapter 31) to Paul’s Sailing to Rome on Alexandrian Grain Ships (chapter 83), and from Damascus, Capital City of Aram (chapter 44) to the cities of the book of Acts, such as Thessalonica, the City Officials, and the Via Egnatia (chapter 101), Hays illuminates the biblical record quickly and accessibly.
An excellent resource, rich with apologetic and illustrative help to the teacher and preacher.