Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Review - Resource Guide

An Annotated Guide to Biblical Resources
by David R. Bauer (Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, 327pp, pb)

A great student of the word does well to invest in a great library of study tools. But finding a great book full of wisdom can be a bit like finding gold – an awful lot of dirt has to be moved to find just one nugget of gold. That’s why I’m thankful for wise guides who can point me toward wise counsel; people who can tell me the difference between fool’s gold and the real deal.

David Bauer is just such a guide and his Annotated Guide of Bible Resources will go a very long way in steering any serious student of the Bible – particularly preachers and teachers - toward books that can truly assist a healthy understanding and application of Scripture. Mind you, this is not a book for the average Joe or Sue in the pew. There are other good books which will serve a similar task for them (for example, Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart’s How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth). But for those familiar with Frederick Danker’s fine (but getting a bit long in the tooth) work Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study (Fortress Press, 1993, revised), think of Bauer’s book as Danker’s “what to get” suggestions without most of Danker’s “how to study” sections. Bauer’s is simply a high-quality “what to buy” guide – and simply the best I’ve ever worked through of this type (and I've worked through several through the years).

This book steers preachers and teachers toward roughly 2,200 industrial strength resources by 1,300 different scholars. Something close to 600 of these entries have a one paragraph assessment of them by Bauer. His work is current (having been in publication only one year), comprehensive (everything across the theological spectrum and across the history of interpretation is given fair consideration) and relatively cheap for a quality paperback of its size.

I’ll be recommending this book to those I know who are just beginning their Bible training for ministry and will be sharpening my own ministry with it, too. It will definitely help any preacher/teacher make sure they spend their money on gold, not dirt.