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on April 19, 2011
The Complete Visual Bible

There is nothing more wonderful than to take a long trip with your closest friend and discover wonderful places and memories -- well that is how one feels when one reads a Stephen Miller book for the first time. The Complete Visual Bible is Miller's latest and greatest of all his books on many levels - certainly in the area of graphics, charts, maps, illustrations, photos, and research. If you have a short attention span and you are looking for a visually stunning overview through the Bible -- this book will not disappoint. This is a reference book and not a devotional book and it is written for all regardless of what one believes. The introduction at the beginning of the book proves this point -- Miller received a letter from an atheist (who gave him permission to use one of his photos) and this person commented how much he enjoyed how this book was put together and the care to detail with this subject matter. Stephen Miller writes his books on the Bible to get his readers excited to discover the "Book," not because it is his living only -- and he has many books under his belt -- but because he enjoys the thrill of bringing the novice explorer through the greatest book ever written.

If you are looking for a quick tour with lavish pictures and charts with very little commentary - then this is your book. If you want something more detailed, then I would recommend his earlier book called The Complete Guide to the Bible which had a more detailed overview of each book of the Bible with highlighted portions. What Miller has done, with this latest work, is to combine three of his best books (Complete Guide to the Bible, The Jesus of the Bible, and The Complete Guide to Bible Prophecy) -- taking all the charts and illustrations and making a more complete visual presentation, but all new and exciting. Each book of the Bible is presented with what is called "The Big Scene" - a beautiful illustration in artwork representing a major event in that book. The "Story Line" gives an overview of that book including Location, Time, and Author. On that spread you are given a "Time Line" which describes Bible History and World History. The dates or approximations are accepted by most scholars -- he even gives two dates for the exodus either 1440 BC or 1290 BC -- both dates have strong evidence of support by Bible scholars. Miller than does a "visual" commentary on the major chapters in each book.

This is a 542 page book that is reasonably priced at $19.99 and well worth it. There is even a web site where you can down load the index at [...]. I enjoyed this book very much and had just a few reservations. I wanted to comment on some of the criticisms that I read online by other reviewers. It was brought up that Miller downplays the supernatural accounts of miracles by using explanations of natural law. Miller simply presents commonly held explanations, for example, the plagues of Egypt were one natural disaster that brought on the next. Actually this view is pretty much held by most conservative scholars and is well presented in Moses and the Gods of Egypt: Studies in Exodus by John J. Davis. It is also fascinating how each plague was a slap in the face to the so-called gods of Egypt at that time. One book reviewer was upset that Miller had said that the "Jews buried Moses instead of God doing the job." The truth of the matter is that some manuscripts say "God buried Moses" and some say "He was buried," which Miller points out implies that he was buried by someone other than God. Remember Miller never gives his views -- he only presents the views of others. I found Miller's humor appropriate, in the right places, and very witty -- this is a joyful tour and not the "Book of Common Prayer!" Examples of his wit involved the Baker in prison with Joseph who "became toast" and the Apostle Paul becoming "Ballistic against the Judaizers in Galatia and suggesting castration." That comment had we rolling on the floor with a slight twinge! One criticism that is very noticeable is the use of personal paraphrasing. I don't know who the PR man is for Eugene Petersen (he probably could sell ice in Greenland) and the constant use of the Message Bible, but it takes away from Miller's work. The NKJV, NIV, TNIV, and NRSV are clearly cogent and respected enough translations. This is my little pet peeve: You don't paraphrase Shakespeare with modern lingo - leave the Scripture alone!

Let me all urge you to purchase this book about the "Book of Books" -- let Stephen Miller, as a trusted friend, take you on a visual journey through God's Word. Whatever happens on this extraordinary trip could just change your life!
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on May 18, 2011
This book is definitely a great resource. It is not and should not be considered a bible-replacement, but it is a great tool to use to help understand the stories in the bible. It is one of the best bible study tools I've seen to date. It has incredible pictures and easy to follow text. What really sells me on the book though is the amount of stunning photos, maps, and paintings this book offers. Just the pictures alone were incredibly engaging. If you are looking for a big-picture view of ALL of the major stories in the bible, look no further than this book full of big pictures!
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on April 4, 2011
Steve Miller's new book, The Visual Bible, will build confidence in anyone who seeks a clearer overall understanding of the Bible. The writing is friendly and inviting; the explanations are informative and clear. The direct writing welcomes the novice Bible reader; the research underneath the writing satisfies the experienced Bible student. The photos are dazzling. It's a beautiful and engaging book and I am recommending it to all who want to better understand the Bible.
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VINE VOICEon September 2, 2011
First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt "Thank you" to Stephen Miller and his publisher for sending me an electronic copy of "The Complete Visual Bible" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and their generosity.

"The Complete Visual Bible" by Stephen M. Miller is a feast for the eyes. This visually stunning book offers quite a bit of information about Bible times, culture and references. It didn't include everything I was hoping to find within its pages, but what one book can include everything? Especially considering how many photographs and illustrations are included within these pages.

I was overcome by the rich and vibrant colors that stimulated my eyes as I perused this volume. The variety of information in "The Complete Visual Bible" makes it a good addition to your Bible study library. Especially for people who are visual learners, this book is truly an optical marvel.
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This book is a summary of the Bible with some full-color pictures of paintings and maps related to the events as well as some illustrative photos (like of a mandrake, a goat, household idols, etc.). There were a few sidebars with cultural background information about the described event, but it's the quality of information you'd find in a study Bible. I didn't find that it really added any deep insight into the Bible and none of the information was new to me.

Also, while this book did briefly mention traditional views of the Bible (like that the Torah was written by Moses), the author presented these views in a dismissive way and included much more information on Bible-critical views (like the view that the Old Testament wasn't put down in written form--beyond the law--until King David's time). I felt like the author didn't believe in the supernatural events described in the Bible. For example, he included one sentence on the traditional view of the plagues in Exodus but gave a paragraph plus a large sidebar to explain the view that the plagues were simply typical natural disasters for Egypt (and he doesn't point out that the Egyptians would hardly be impressed with Moses if this was just a natural disaster cycle they experienced every year). He also has a "Bible History" timeline set next to a secular world history timeline so that it's obvious that the two don't agree for much of the Old Testament.

Since this book is dismissive toward my views of the Bible, I didn't particularly enjoy it. While easy to read, I also don't quite see the point of this book. You'd get more out of reading a study Bible and looking at a Bible atlas or Bible handbook. If that's too much reading, "The Essential Bible Guide" by Menashe Har-El, Paul Wright, and Baruch Sarel gives a reader a much greater depth of information in half the pages of this book. Personally, I wouldn't recommend "The Complete Visual Bible."

I received this book as a eBook review copy from the publisher.
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This is one of those books that I fall in love at first sight. It is a visually appealing partial paraphrase of the Bible. It is a colourful rendition of the flow of the biblical story. It is a dynamic interplay of part atlas, part dictionary, part biblical history, and part retelling of the Old and New Testament Bible in narrative style. One simply will not get bored with this book.

Clarity is the strongest point in this book. The tables, the illustrations, photographs and beautiful graphics, this book is perhaps one of the best 'photo albums' of the Bible I have seen. The author needs to be commended for the massive amount of research and painstaking details to highlight the biblical text. It brings to life even the obscure parts of the Bible. For example, for those of us who think that certain books of the Bible is 'boring,' try reading that particular book with the Visual Bible. It will give the reader a refreshing read indeed.

This book is also strong in guiding the reader through the Bible. It excites me so much that I WANT to read the Bible more. This is perhaps the biggest reason to want to buy this book.

Three Precautions to Note
There are three guidelines to take when reading this massive volume. Firstly, like any paraphrase, we need to be aware that this is a re-telling of the biblical story FROM THE PERSPECTIVE of the author. This means that we need to do our homework, to read the Bible for ourselves in the first place, and verify the contents. Secondly, because this book is a visual aid to reading the Bible, it is only a help, and not meant to substitute the actual reading of the texts. Remember that the Bible is originally meant to be heard, not seen. Thirdly, while the author attempts to be as accurate as possible, sometimes, the contexts may be a little too modern for ancient comfort. What this means is that the reader may risk reading the 21st Century into ancient contexts. This may unwittingly warp the reader's understanding of actual events in history.

In summary, this book gives a fresh look at the Bible. If you are a Bible teacher, or a student of the Bible, this is a huge aid for teaching learning, in a pedagogical world that is increasingly visual-dependent.

conrade

I receive this book free, courtesy of Barbour Publishing, without any form of financial compensation. I am under no obligation to give a positive review. All comments remain my own.
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on March 29, 2011
What a wonderfully designed book to aid in Bible study. Organized for easy navigation to the desired book and chapter, The Complete Visual Bible offers a summary of the Biblical text with helpful charts, maps and photos. The visual learner will really appreciate the graphics used to inform and aid in the understanding of Biblical texts and time-lines.
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on June 26, 2013
In the introduction, the author points out how deeply encouraged he was when an atheist read his manuscript and found the book acceptable. I would say this seems to set the tone for much of the book.

The author seems to try to explain away scriptural topics (such as women's issues, creationist views, etc.). There seems to be a lot of occasions where this book lays a fair amount of doubt on what scripture plainly says. The author presents quite a few 'alternate theories' or weird speculations which only seem to complicate or confuse things that are plainly revealed in scripture. He seems to use so many qualifiers such as 'Christian students say' or 'some experts say' to present things that are apparently uncomfortable for the author to accept, or to present some other funky alternative ideas outside normative Christian beliefs.

As others have mentioned, this book seems to have quite a bit of 'critical' content (or might I even say 'hostile' views) against traditionally held elements of the Judeo-Christian faith. He makes some contradicting points, proposing that Paul may not have even wrote the epistles to Timothy and Titus. He proposes that the Star of Bethlehem (as he calls it) was not a star. He questions whether the book of Jonah was based on an actual event (even though Jesus himself asserted that Jonah spent three days in the belly of a fish). The author doesn't seem to understand the story of Cain and Abel. Of course, the author also seems to cast doubt on Noah's flood and whether the Israelites crossed the Red Sea (same old tired assertions). There seems to be a lot of other 'weirdness' in the book that does not make sense. It seems to make a point to doubt scripture on many occasions in this way.

I didn't want to write a scathing review on this. It has a lot of pretty pictures and a nice layout. There is some decent information and timelines in there. But for my taste, there is too much subtle bible-bashing and undermining of the faith.

If you are an atheist who doesn't really want to believe the scriptures, this might be a good book for you. But if you love Christ and believe what God has revealed in scripture, then I would suggest something that more reliably supports the faith. I am okay with a fair challenge against scripture, but this book seems to masquerade as something that is true to the faith, when it instead seems to undermine the faith. Sorry to say this, but that is the way I read this material.
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on April 20, 2011
What can I say about Stephen M. Miller's new book. It is GREAT. This is the perfect book to visualize the Bible. I know I'm a visual person and this book has helped me retain the information that is set before me. Great Job Stephen. This is the perfect book to give as gifts I plan to buy more.
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on November 8, 2014
Excellent down and dirty but not the Bible. Make no mistake. For what its worth, I highly recommend all Stephen Millers books of this nature as complimentary to the Word of God given to us in the Bible.
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