Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Bible In Brief

When I was young, I received as a gift a book called "The Children's Bible" that was some thousand-page condensed version of the Bible. I found it fascinating and read it twice. The key is that it was written in simple language. The closest you can find to that is The Living Nach, but even that is a word-by-word translation so it contains all of the -- forgive me for writing this -- boring parts as well.

R. Jack Abramowitz's recent book, The Nach Yomi Companion, Volume 1: Neviim - Prophets is a chapter-by-chapter summary of the Prophets section of the Bible. He knows when to be brief (i.e. skip) and when to give details. Aside from condensing the text he also (briefly) explains the contents, often utilizing a variety of commentaries. However, the key to his success is not in his summarizing and explaining but rather in his keen sense of what speaks to people today. His writing is filled with puns and pop-culture references, but also with lessons that are very relevant to our daily lives. What emerges is not just a summary of the Bible or a commentary on it. It is an application of the Bible to today's world, a lesson in the eternal value of the Bible.

Click here to read moreIf you are following the OU's Nach Yomi schedule (one chapter a day: link), which by the way has great teachers whose lessons are all archived online, or you are simply interested in learning quickly what the Bible is all about, then this is the book for you. Call it the Cliff Notes to the Jewish Bible.

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