Review of Is the Bible Reliable? by Focus on the Family


Genre: Multimedia/Apologetics

Series: True U

Highly Recommended!

Is the Bible Reliable? is a ten part DVD curriculum building the case for the reliability of the Bible as a historical document. It is the second in the line of Focus on the Family’s True U series, which take the viewer into the university classroom to explore various aspects of the biblical worldview.

These DVDs look specifically at whether archeological, historical, and anthropological evidence correspond with the events, persons, and places described in the Bible. The first six lessons look at the Old Testament: the documentary hypothesis, the validity of the Israelites as a distinctive people group that left Egypt for Canaan and took military conquest of the inhabitants of that land, the kingdoms of David and Solomon, and the Babylonian conquest of Judah. The next four sessions focused on the New Testament: the transmission of the Bible, evidence for the early composition of the synoptic gospels and Acts, and the significant corroboration of external evidence to the biblical account.

I was impressed with the amount of solid discussion in each 30 minute episode. This series offers a great jumping off point for further research and discussion into the historical aspects of the Bible. It was also well presented and easy to follow. I think it would be a great resource for an academically focused small group or college group, and would probably even benefit younger teens (depending on their interest and aptitude).

This set comes with two DVDs of ten 30 minute sessions and a discussion guide. The discussion guide has a fill-in-the-blank activity and a matching activity for every section to help solidify the main points, and has various blurbs and comics as well. If I was leading a small group of this study, I would try to get everyone their own discussion book.

I received a complimentary copy of this product as a part of the Tyndale Blog Network.


Review of A Reluctant Queen: The Love Story of Esther by Joan Wolf


Genre: Romantic Historical Fiction

Not Recommended.

Joan Wolf offers a fresh perspective on the story of Esther, and she gave me a lot to think about. But this story takes too many liberties with its historical account–let alone its biblical one. There were small errors, like Esther being called Esther before the contest to become queen, rather than by her Hebrew name, Hadassah, and Haman being portrayed as an Edomite when he was actually an Agagite, and the use of the Hebrew calendar in setting Persian decrees. But there were also larger issues: changes to the royal line, like with King Ahasuerus having a brother Xerxes (most scholars believe they are one in the same), and the Prophet Obadiah attempting to stir up unrest in Palestine (while the biblical Obadiah was not prophesying at the same time as Esther’s reign and the stories do not naturally fit together).

As a story, I also felt that many places–especially in the beginning and end–were a bit rough. The first few chapters were especially awkward as the historical setting was laid through the dialog rather than the narration. I was also hoping it would have a bit of a Jewish feel, which it did not. And the end was, unfortunately, anticlimactic–certain deviations from the original story took away from the drama and suspense of the plot. Frankly, I’m surprised that some of the best moments of Esther’s story were omitted!

Overall, I’m glad I read A Reluctant Queen because it did help me to think about Esther, and myself, in a new way. But I also can’t recommend it; it’s in need of some serious editing!

I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogging Program through