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Bible: An Owner's Manual Book Review

Updated on February 22, 2009

Book by Robert R. Hann

The Bible: An Owner’s Manual Book Review

Given the turmoil found in many parts of the world, some of which are linked directly to the Bible (as the struggle for land and resources in Israel), this thin book, subtitled “What You Need to Know Before You Buy and Read Your Bible,” is well described on its cover, as it lists many aspects that readers of the Bible should be aware of. For this is also of great importance for proper interpretation of the Holy Book used by all 3 of the great monotheistic religions of the world.

Sadly, there is little proper understanding of this ancient text. For instance, the difference between the many different translations, the subject of the second chapter, seems to be a point that is growing in Biblical readings for the lay person and preachers and priests without the proper expertise in reading the holy book in the original. In fact, without offering mere opinion, the author shows his methodology as to why he follows certain trains of thought: “But what if I were to be sent to that desert island, and could take only one version with me: which Bible would it be? …It would be the Revised Standard Version…[or any other detailed,] (other than the King James, Confraternity, and Living Bible versions)” (p. 52). He even goes so the extreme of splitting hairs –yet necessarily. For example, the origin of the original King James Version of the Bible. This was an important English translation for numerous reasons, least of which was that it sought to avoid the sectarian translations from before. Yet despite the ecumenical, diplomatic thoughts that went into the making of the King James Bible, one important problem remained. First, the translation was impeccably done. However, “the Greek text from which they worked contained many errors, and was not a reliable representative of the words of the original biblical authors” (p.31).

Other points of matter include the many footnotes that have found their way not merely into modern printings of the Bible, but since the medieval age. Unfortunately, these footnotes sometimes became more than mere commentary, being incorporated into the text itself, as exemplified by the probable addition of the phrase “who do not walk in the manner of the flesh but in the manner of the Spirit” at the end of I Corinthians 12:13. Quite the addition! Yet, again, the author, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and Temple University, explains the views he holds –standard, accepted views of Christian and Jewish scholars.

Not only to the points of rational make sense, they are written in a succinct, clear style that hits to the heart of every matter discussed.

This is a book that believers, non-believers, and everyone in-between or at the fringe sides will find intriguing and useful.

  • ISBN-10: 080912503X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809125036


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