on November 2, 2003
This reviewer had no plans to read this inanely titled book, but fleetingly glanced at it over coffee. About an hour or so later, I finished a most entertaining biblical reference guide that is aimed at the younger set, but adults will enjoy it as testified by my spouse and adult son who subsequently read J. Stephen Lang's terrific work. The eighty-six stories come from the Old and New testaments and provide an intriguing looks at people and events that hook the audience. How can one not be curious about the raven who fed Elijah, Cain's wife, the link between food and religion, and Jacob falling for a similar switcheroo to that he and his mother pulled on his father. The collection is easy to read, and quite entertaining while educating. Perhaps the only objection by this reviewer is portrayal of Isaac as possibly not being impacted by his near death experience as a sacrifice. Of the three founding Fathers, he is the sole introvert needing his wealthy dad to find him a woman and then it was his cousin. TALKING DONKEYS AND WHEELS ON FIRE: BIBLE STORIES THAT ARE TRULY BIZARRE is fun for the whole family.
on October 8, 2004
I pastor a church and my wife teaches the teens' Sunday school, so we are always on the lookout for sources of "ice-breakers" for sermons and Sunday school classes. This collection of odd (but also inspiring) stories from the Bible has proved to be a rich treasury for both of us. I started off a sermon recently by asking the congregation if they'd heard of the Maltese Viper. I based my sermon on this book's chapter with the same title, and I had the people on the edge of their seats. Aside from helping me in my church work, I just found these stories to be pleasant to read, leading me back into stories I'd long forgotten--Balaam's talking donkey, the "pep rally" for the goddess Artemis, the original scapegoat, the seven-day king who committed suicide by burning down his own palace... well, the list goes on, and I think people of any age will enjoy these well-told stories as much as I did. Most of these chapters are 3 pages or less, so they are perfect for some quickie reading.
on December 22, 2004
If you're wondering about the book's title, yes, there really was a talking donkey in the Bible, one of the strangest stories ever told and one I wasn't familiar with till I read this book. The Bible has a reputation for being dull, but I don't think the reputation is deserved, as this book shows that the Bible is filled with fascinating people and events. Some of the stories I knew pretty well (the prophet Elijah was taken into heaven in a 'fiery chariot', which is the source of the other half of the book's title), others I didn't. If you think of the Bible as a book of dull rules, read this book, it focuses on the most intersting (not always inspiring) portions of the Book. I guess the best thing about it is that the chapters are short and easy to read, so if you know people with short attention spans (and you probably know lots of them), this book is very easy and fun to read.
on March 14, 2004
J. Stephen Lang, author of The Complete Book of Bible Trivia has put together a collection of bible stories that he describes as "truly bizarre". The author has chosen stories that entertain and in some instances, horrify the reader. The main purpose of this book is to "put to rest" the idea the bible is a boring book of history. After each story Lang summarizes the spiritual lessons that can be obtained as a result of strange events, situations or an individual's downfall. In our "crazy" world today it is good to look back at the human experience historically, as Lang often states, there are lessons to be learned.
This book is great reading material for those who have either read or heard these stories from Sunday School or personal bible study. For stories that maybe unfamiliar, this humourous book may motivate a reader to view the facts from the bible him/herself.
--- reviewed by Tyora Moody for Christian Bookshelf