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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 20, 2008
I've sometimes bought a commentary or other book just to get insight into a single passage. This book tackles many of the more difficult in a single book. What I like here is that you aren't just given the opinions of the authors, but will sometimes see other solutions they may not agree with. So you don't always feel like you're being force fed the authors position but instead given pertinent information to digest for yourself. With a page or less devoted to most passages you're not going to get in depth exegesis here, but you will find decisive insight that often clears things up. You can dig deeper elsewhere if necessary.

5 stars for being a handy study aid.
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65 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2008
I have not read enough of this book to give a fair opinion on it. I will say though, I bought this book thinking that it was a brand new Q/A book about bible difficulties and it ended up not being such. This book is a republication of an older book titled, When the critics ask, a popular hand book on bible difficulties by Norman L. Geisler and Thomas Howe - published in 1992. I checked and compared both books and it had the same information. (UPDATE: another reviewer wrote down that there are 12 new entries that weren't found in the older book that I'm referring to). The book does say on one of the beginning pages that it's a republication of the other book I mentioned but I felt misled because there was no way for me to check that on Amazon.com and the book was passed off as if it's brand new and not a republication. I was looking for a Q/A and commentary bible difficulties book that would present current issues that skeptics are using to discredit the bible, like about the stories of Jesus being a copy of other ancient myths, etc.

Maybe there's not that many newer criticisms of the bible or ones that are that different from the older criticisms but I still would rather look for more up-to-date book on objections to the Bible.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2011
Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe do a great job helping us all figure out the difficulties. It was a great idea to mix up a philosopher with a bible professor. There aren't that many books on this subject, and I've heard good things about Geisler so I choose him over Ron Rhodes and a few others who had also written books on this subject. I'd have to say I made the right choice here.

Genesis starts off with the basics, such as the who married Cain and so forth. Geisler and Howe get to the very bottom of everything and I am amazing on how they use their references in other parts of the bible to back up their claims. This book will sharpen your skills in regards to coming up with an exegesis for those tough questions. At first look people will see a "supposed" contradiction, but when you actually do some studying on it, you find out why the specific scripture or passage is what it is, and in the end how the scripture makes more sense after you read it again and compare with another part of the bible.

This book can be read at the Beginner or Intermediate level of apologetics, or you can simply use this to learn more about the bible itself. Perhaps you will come up with a different interpretation this time.

I highly recommend this, as a must have for this subject.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2012
This book pretty much assumes the reader accepts the Bible as the inspired word of God, or is hoping to find support for that belief in this apologetic tome. It attempts to answer common objections that are made that the Bible "contradicts itself" which often comes up in conversations between Christians and non-Christians. Therefore it seeks to be an apologetic resource for those wishing to defend the integrity of the Bible (and to the wider strategy of supporting the doctrine of "inerrancy" that the Bible, being an inspired text, is without error). It cannot possibly answer all objections one could imagine, but does deal with many of them, and it is not the only major book out there to do so (Gleason Archer's Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties is famous for having the same goal).

I recommended this book to some students of mine to help supplement their research (if they chose) on Old Testament books. On the other hand, I feel that the writer is often very fair-minded when dealing with differences between Protestant interpretations of different passages, normalizing these disagreements as options when one is reading the Biblical books. However, when it comes to something "Roman Catholics" say about a passage, the author(s) immediately attack that difference and do not present it as a possible option. So the Catholic reader may find themselves arguing with the writers of this book, since their beliefs are never given the option of being right, while differing Protestant views are usually treated much more charitably. And extensive works HAVE been written addressing the types of criticisms of Catholic biblical interpretation given by the writers (such as the rather amusing claim that the Catholic Church "added the Apocrypha" to the Bible at the Council of Trent to spite Luther and the Reformers, as if there was a clear consensus of what "The Bible" was before the Reformation, which the Church sought to suddenly change after the fact; the authors also misread 2 Esdras 7:105 to say that prayers for the dead are forbidden by this book and this proves that the RCC was being arbitrary in "adding books to the bible" to support their doctrine when the book clearly speaks against such prayers ON THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT, that is, at the end of the world, not on the day any individual person dies while the rest of us are still alive on earth, additionally this book is accepted by many in the Eastern Orthodox Church, who nevertheless freely follow the same practice as Catholics in prayers for the dead. The argument that the belief in "purgatory" is an "insult" to the "sufficiency" of Christ's sacrifice on the cross is of course from their point of view only. One might argue that it is an "insult" to the sufficiency to say that anyone Christ died for would end up in hell--yet the authors do not therefore declare the strict Calvinist viewpoint to be the only correct one. Nor do they see an "insult" to the sufficiency in the individual Christian needing to repent of their sins--even after their conversion--and continuing to need to do good works and maintain their faith throughout their life. So some of these arguments may frustrate or alienate readers who are familiar with the history of the Protestant-Catholic debate).

Despite this weakness, I would consider this a helpful book, even in the age of the internet, for reference on how evangelical Protestants respond to claims of "contradictions" in the Bible. Some of the material is more universal amongst Christians who consider the Bible to be Sacred Scripture, but some of it is needlessly sectarian as mentioned. Again, I would not recommend this book as a sole guide or final word on the subject of biblical interpretation, but it is one helpful resource to be in one's library, though much of the same type of information is also available in electronic format for free online.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2009
I have had this product for a few weeks and find it very helpful covering difficult questions on the Bible. You are given answers and Scripture verses to back up the answers. This is a great tool to use but the best place to find answers is the Bible itself. I still would recommend this book to anyone needing help with tough questions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2015
*** Potential buyers should be aware that this is a re-publication of Geisler and Howe’s 1972 book, When Critics Ask. This is the same exact book with a new name and a different cover! ***

The Big Book of Bible Difficulties offers any dedicated Bible scholar the answers they seek in order to work through the more difficult to understand or seemingly “erroneous” or “contradictory” Biblical ideas and scriptures.

This book is an offensive weapon for those seeking greater understanding by providing apologetic and critical Biblical commentary and highlighting cardinal doctrines. It is also a defensive shield against heresies and those who wish to discredit the Bible in a world that is often unwelcoming toward it.

After an introduction that discusses general errors in Biblical interpretation and defines the Scriptures as timeless and unquestionably authoritative, the book proceeds in linear fashion from Genesis to Revelation by giving well-developed answers to major problems. The answers are by no means cursory and even draw from secular fields (e.g. physics, philosophy, law, biology, linguistics, and ethics) in order to solve problems and prove its assertions. Admittedly, some of the answers are much, much more fulfilling than others, and I thought that a few of the answers lacked any persuasiveness at all. In fact, since many of the answers are intended to be used “when critics ask” I found that in many grey areas the authors tended to overreach in order to produce some answer without there necessarily being much Scriptural meat to bite into. The result of reading between the lines produces an answer that is difficult to see.

It also goes without saying that since the authors intended to address major Bible difficulties, there will be numerous (but more arcane) passages, ideas, concepts and themes that are not addressed in this volume.

In my mind one of the greatest benefits of this book is the organization and direction provided in the end matter. Appendix 1 details the system of transliteration between Hebrew, English and Greek. Appendix 2 goes into greater detail of the peculiarities of Hebrew. Appendix 3 discusses additional problem verses and is an elaboration of the main text. There is also an index of unorthodox religious doctrines arranged by topic (e.g. Evolutionism, On Mohammed, Process Theology, and Catholicism). The Topical Index (e.g. Abortion, Civil Disobedience, Prayer: Public or Private) and Scripture Index both make finding what you’re looking for very easy.

I would presume that The Big Book of Bible Difficulties is not the type of book that one reads cover to cover but uses as a reference for specific topics and/or verses. Regardless, anyone with an earnest interest in Bible study will find this information-packed resource worthwhile. The Big Book of Bible Difficulties should be in the libraries of those who lead, teach, preach, or wish to defend the inerrant Word of God in an environment where others tend to superficially criticize instead of actually learning the true depth, complexity, and intricacy of the Biblical text.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2011
Originally published as When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties, this classic is back in print. 800 some "difficult" verses are explained. As it turns out, most aren't that difficult if one stops and thinks or uses some basic reading comphrension skills. Both for believers with questions and those skeptics actually interested in hearing the answers to their claims. Should be part of ever scholar's, biblical student's, skeptic's or Christian's library. Make it part of your core reference collection aong with Handbook of Christian Apologetics,New Bible Commentary &NIV Archaeological Study Bible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2011
There is so much junk out there, this is definitely worth taking a look at. Some explanations are reaching IMO, and we don't have to give people an explanation to every verse but rather a reason for the hope that we have. Decide to serve the Lord no matter what and this will help you but if your loyalty to God only goes as far as your next question; this will only delay unbelief. Keep in mind the bible was written thousands of years ago so there are some things we will never fully understand but the very important things are clear to us.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2009
This is an execllent book which gives you a concise overview of some key verses in the Bible. It is a Must read for any serious Bible student.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2014
This is written to follow the Bible, book by book. It's an excellent reference, pointing out possible discrepancies and interpretations that I had not even noticed, then clearing them up quickly and concisely. Dr. Geisler is a renowned expert in this field and his insights are tremendously helpful.
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