to understand what I write (I think that’s important, and I’m quite sure you’ll agree!).
Finally, I know that you’ve already looked at the DDT Rating, so you already know
the conclusion: this is a great resource for everyone, regardless of doctrine and
denomination. Now, let us commence with the Review!
“Panorama.” I had to look that up to make sure I had the correct definition. Here’s
what Webster says: “Complete or entire view; a circular painting having apparently
no beginning or end, from the center of which the spectator may have a complete view
of the objects presented.”
Well, there are no paintings here, but you get the idea: Chrispin wants to leave
us with a “complete or entire view” of what the Bible says. He wants us to be able
to see “a complete view of the objects presented.”
Obviously a 650+ page book cannot be “complete” on the Bible! (Some commentary sets
have 50+ volumes.) But it’s intention is to completely give you a sweeping view of
what the Bible is all about.
This book is divided into two distinct part. Part One works like a commentary, summarizing
the entire Bible. It gives a panorama of each book of the Bible, and then it gives
a panorama of every chapter in the Bible. For the most part, it’s very nicely done.
Part Two of the book is doctrinal, focusing on Bibliology: The Doctrine of the Bible.
It’s intent is to give a panorama of Bibliology.
Part One: The Commentary Section
The commentary section summarizes large blocks of Scripture. Every book of the Bible
has a panoramic overiew, including sections on “People & Preliminaries,” “Plan &
Purpose,” “Profile & Progression,” and “Principles & Particulars.” (As you can now
imagine - Chrispin likes alliteration.) These panoramic book overviews are not intense,
nor are they written on a scholarly level. They simply attempt to explain the most
important points of every individual book. If you’re expecting simplicity and symmetry,
you’ll find that these overviews are very satisfying.
Every book also contains “chapter level” commentary. Chrispin provides parallel outlines
for every chapter of the Bible. These outlines do not provide for verse by verse
detail; rather, they are intended to explain - in panoramic fashion, of course -
the broad movement of every book of the Bible. His comments are paragraph by paragraph.
All of his outlines include some type of alliteration. Teachers and preachers will
love this feature! (See below for a sample entry from Romans 3.)
Part Two: The Doctrinal Section
Chrispin explains this section thusly: “Enjoying the unhindered view with confidence;
Practical topics about the Bible to help you trust and read it.” As a fundamentalist,
I love those words!
This section is a conservative handbook on the practical aspects of Bibliology: your
Bible is inspired by God, so you’d better be reading it! It includes a good amount
of very practical information, including how to read the Bible, and how to have family
This second section is good enough to be a stand alone book; it alone makes this
book worth the purchase price.
OK, here is the entry from Part One’s Commentary on Romans 3 (please note: the text
comes from the module designed for use with TheWord Bible software)
V 1-8 : ADVANTAGED? This chapter asks a lot of questions. First, if acceptance with
God is a circumcision of the heart, and not an outward circumcision, what advantage
does a Jew have in being a member of the circumcision? Paul confirms the great privileges
of being a physical Jew. Of course, he knows this as a Jew himself. They have the
Scriptures as the ‘oracles of God’. The sinful unbelief of some of the Jews does
not negate God’s faithfulness in giving them these privileges. The very sinfulness
of the Jews demonstrates the wonder of those Scriptures and the righteous and holy
standards of God by which they are judged. That is not to say that Jews must sin
more to make God’s standards of holiness appear greater. God loves holiness and will
judge the world for being unholy.
V 9-20 : BETTER? Paul asks if Jews are better than Gentiles, and concludes, ‘Not
at all.’ Everyone is unrighteous, self-seeking not God-seeking, practising evil in
word and deed, and living without the conscious fear of God. As the whole world is
guilty, then there is no one in the world who can be justified by anything he or
V 21-26 : CHRIST Only Jesus Christ can justify a sinner, be he Gentile or Jew. Given
that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’, it is the righteousness
of God, put to our account when we put our faith in Christ, that is seen by God as
ours and justifies us because we have no righteousness of our own. Not only that,
but Christ shed His blood as a ‘propitiation’. That means that, when Christ died
on the cross for our sins, our wicked rebellion that offended our holy God was punished
by His wrath falling on Christ in our place. Thus cleansed by His precious blood
and with His righteousness put to our account, we find that, as we put our faith
in Him, we are justified by Him who is both just and the Justifier.
V 27-31 : DIFFERENCE? The five questions put in this short section basically ask
a more fundamental question: what difference does this make? It excludes boasting
because we are justified by faith, not by our own deeds. He is the God of the Gentiles
as well as of the Jews because all can come to Him by faith. God’s law is not annulled
by faith in Christ, but rather it is fulfilled, because His just sacrifice fulfils
the law for us. We have a desire to walk in that law through Christ, not in order
to be justified, but to obey Him.
And here is an excerpt from Part Two’s Doctrinal Section:
The Bible is like an anvil. Many hostile hammers have crashed down upon it. Those
hammer blows have been, and still are, struck by those whose opposition to the truth
of the Bible is religious, political, moral, personal, philosophical, theological
or supposedly ‘scientific’. Some opponents combine a number of those approaches.
For hundreds of years, their hammers have been slammed down on that anvil. Yet the
anvil remains intact and unharmed, and one by one the hammers have been worn and
broken, while those wielding them pass on life’s short and uncertain road in spiritual
blindness, through death, into eternity. But new antagonists, blind and biased against
the saving message of God’s word, arise to continue to pick up old broken hammers
and attack the Bible. The Christian has nothing to fear. God’s word is eternal and
durable and we can safely put our full confidence in it. There is no known fact,
as opposed to theories or models, that has ever contradicted the Bible. There never
will be, because it is God’s infallible word (2 Timothy 3:16). Meanwhile, despite
the attacks, many intelligent, learned and converted men and women from all the places
where rebel sinners pick up their petty hammers join with millions of ‘ordinary people’
to confirm their confidence in the reliability and infallibility of Scripture and
its message of forgiveness, hope, peace and new life. History is well flavoured with
the testimony of people who knew that the biggest discovery that anyone could make
is that he or she is a guilty sinner, and that Jesus Christ is the repentant sinner’s
friend. (Exerpted from Chapter Three - “Can I Trust the Bible?”)
So, is this book for you? Let’s imagine for a moment that the Bible is The Grand
Canyon. Reading the Bible could be likened to traveling to Grand Canyon National
Park. You love what you see - and want to see more.
If you want to hike down one mile into the canyon, explore the Colorado River while
in a raft, and study the individual sediment layers laid down during The Flood, then
this book may not be for you. If, though, you’d like to take a helicopter ride over
the canyon to get the astounding big picture view (without seeing the small flora
and fauna), then, this book might just be perfect!
This is not an in-depth commentary. But for what it is - A Survey of the Bible &
A Conservative Introduction to Bibliology - this is a great book that does a wonderful
job. Students & Teachers alike will enjoy it very much.
This is a great resource that both younger disciples and more mature teachers will
enjoy. The younger will be thoroughly edified in their study of the Scriptures, while
the more mature will revel in Chrispin’s symmetrical (& beautiful!) outlines.