Read Halley's Bible Handbook: An Abbreviated Bible Commentary by Henry H. Halley Online


Halley's Bible Handbook, the classic layperson's companion text, includes a concise Bible commentary, important discoveries in archaeology, related historical data, church history, maps, and more....

Title : Halley's Bible Handbook: An Abbreviated Bible Commentary
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ISBN : 9780310257202
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 864 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Halley's Bible Handbook: An Abbreviated Bible Commentary Reviews

  • Lillie
    2019-03-06 23:13

    I didn't realize what I was getting into when I started this. I had given up secular reading for Lent and intended to read several Christian books during that time. But this overwhelmed me and kept me reading far beyond Lent. The other books I planned to read are still waiting. Halley's Bible Handbook began in 1922 as a 16-page hand-printed pamphlet that Henry Halley gave out to encourage people to read and understand the Bible. Halley started as a clergyman but was told by his doctor that he had to get outside and do hard physical work for his health. He gave up pastoral work and went into the construction business, but he never gave up his faith or his love of the Bible. He memorized and could quote Scripture from every book of the Bible for 25 hours. He gave recitations in churches, always beginning each one with a brief description of the book he was quoting from. When note-taking by the audience distracted him, he decided to print up the information in a leaflet. Over 80 years and 25 editions, that little leaflet grew into this nearly 500-page-book, edited by Halley's great-granddaughter and her husband.The book begins with explaining what the Bible is: "1) The Bible is God's Word. 2) Christ is the heart and center of the Bible." Halley gives background on the setting and time of the Bible, including archaeological discoveries and historical references. He then goes through book by book and gives the main thought of each book. I intend to go through this the next time I read the Bible straight through. This year I'm following a chronological reading plan and since the year is half over, I will finish that plan. But next year, I'll start over reading the Bible from the beginning, and I will use this handbook as I read. Although I have done a lot of Bible studies, this was more effective than anything else I've done in helping me understand how the Old Testament is part of Christ's story. Many cross-references are very helpful. There are a lot of maps and charts and information about places and people and events. But the most important message of this handbook is, in Henry Halley's words, "that every Christian should be a Constant and Devoted Reader of the Bible; and that the primary business of the Church and Ministry is to lead, foster, and encourage their people in that habit."

  • Sara
    2019-02-22 19:08

    This popped up in my Recommendations and I realized I had read it in the 80's - maybe not every word, but I used it quite a bit as a good reference.

  • John
    2019-03-16 22:04

    I bought this book because it was free in the Kindle store for a spell. I'm glad I didn't pay anything for it.Overall, my problem with this book is twofold: 1) it takes an unquestioning literalist view of the entire Bible, and 2) it demonstrates a severe lack of intellectual curiosity throughout.I maintain that the result is worse than no study guide whatsoever.The fact that Christianity is a broad tent, and that the Bible has been read in various ways over the centuries and today, is lost to Halley. I do not mind the presentation of the literalist view if it were combined with other credible viewpoints past and present. But to assert that this is the ONLY way to read the Bible is doing a terrible disservice to a religion, and misrepresents it in a egregious fashion. Christianity has had a brief literalist bubble, and there is much that the thinking Christian can question about such an interpretation, which is perhaps why it is dying off.Let me provide a few choice quotes."Accept the Bible just as it is, for exactly what it claims to be. Don't worry about the theories of the critics. The ingenious efforts of modern criticism to undermine the historical reliability of the Bible will pass..." It is terribly bothersome to me that a purported study guide is encouraging people trying to intellectually engage the Bible to suspend their intellect. For whom shall find Christianity relevant today if we cannot understand it in the context of modern science? Christianity ought not fear science, nor science religion; the two ought to be embraced together, and the religious can learn about the Bible from science.Regarding the creation story: "How did the writer know what happened before man appeared? No doubt God revealed the remote past, as later the distant future was made known to the prophets." No mention of other viewpoints -- that it has strong parallels to other ancient creation myths, what science and philosophy have to say, etc. Even Wikipedia's Creation_myth page reminds us that the Church was not literalist.In the introduction, it advances the view that the Bible is "God's own record of His dealings with people in His unfolding revelation of Himself to the human race... Nor do we know just how God directed these authors to write. But we believe and know that God did rect them and that these books therefore must be exactly what God wanted them to be."That is of course a rather controversial view, though it was perhaps widely held in some circles. But it boggles the mind, and ignores, for one thing, the multiple ancient sources that modern Bible assemblers must attempt to synthesize to make a coherent book.The only value I see in this book is a glimpse at the viewpoint of an earlier age. At that it may excel. As a guide for someone alive today -- frankly I am surprised that it has garnered such high reviews here.I have nothing against literalists; I respect them even if I disagree. But to pretend that there isn't even a debate here borders on the dishonest, and certainly sidelines this book out of the "serious and useful scholarly work" bookshelf.

  • Mikey
    2019-03-13 01:44

    I was disappointed with the updated version. I also have the 22nd edition published in 1959/

  • Orpiment99
    2019-03-08 18:12

    The version of this book I am reviewing is the 24th edition, with the 28th printing in 1978.First, the good:1. Black-and-white photos of ruins, artifacts, and drawn maps. I know many people don't like these old layouts but I think the non-colored maps are easy to view. They are not hard on my eyes and while modern, geographical colored maps would be nice, these maps are good for general comprehension.2. Incorporated archaeological notes and insights. While this book may be dated and it's archaeological information correct, it is interesting to compare the information we had then to the information we have now.3. "Conservative" (for lack of a better word at the moment) information provided but also lists different interpretations of potentially controversial subjects found in the Bible (In Genesis, for example).Next, the bad:1. As I stated earlier, the archaeological information appears to be outdated and to be honest, that's a given for a book like this. 2. Halley's biases appear in many of his "archaeological notes." For example, on PG 166 there is a paragraph describing that the Canaanites (Phoenicians) sacrificed their babies and children and stuffed their burned ashes in jars. Then he talks about "foundation sacrifices" in the next paragraph, where apparently the Phoenicians sacrificed a child (or children) when a new house was built, and "it's body built into the wall" (PG 166). While the Canaanites/Phoenicians most likely performed child sacrifices in times of extreme distress, it is no where near as common as Halley wants to believe. Infant and child mortality was high in different parts of the ancient world. The Canaanites/Phoenicians did a special kind of burial called a "tophet burial," where remains were cremated and then buried in urns/pots. Crematoriums were often located next to such "tophet burial" graveyards for convenience.Many civilizations also buried their family's remains in their own homes (See information about the Neolithic site called "Khirokitia" on the island of Cyprus), which most likely accounts for Halley's description of "foundation sacrifices." He doesn't seem to investigate the other option that, just possibly, an infant/child could have died early and was buried before or AFTER a house was built. 3. I found that Halley trying to describe every other verse or provide commentary was not needed. In most cases, I would say his general commentary is distracting because he seems to be trying to interpret every other verse or chapter in the Bible.And finally, the ugly:1. The overall thing that completely ruined Halley's handbook was his section on Church History and "How We Got the Bible" section. His version of Church history is completely based upon the so-called "Great Apostasy," which is dismissed by most sane Church historians. He also makes it a point to send many cheap shots towards Catholics, even going so far as to describe us as "Romanists" (seriously, people still use this term?). He also follows the pseudo-historical belief that the Catholic Church suppressed the translation of the Bible into vernacular languages (books in the Middle Ages were expensive to create and were often chained to prevent theft, which was quite common in those days; the Bible has been translated into "vernacular" languages since the canon was put together). Plus, most of the population couldn't read anyway.Basically, his church history section is garbage and to be honest, this book belongs in the garbage (or if we want to be very environmentally friendly, recycled). How anyone can take Halley seriously is beyond me. I know this handbook is meant for us "dumb" people but his scholarship-even for his time-was severely lacking. In fact I would not consider this a scholarly work.For the sake of your sanity take a pass on this book. I am not sure how the newest edition of this handbook compares to his older editions. I would hope our rocket would finally get off the ground and launch into space, but perhaps the information provided exploded on take-off.

  • Brian Sheets
    2019-02-25 01:08

    Excellent reference book - very detailed and useful for layman's study or as reference material when preparing for teaching adult Sunday school classes.

  • April Stone
    2019-03-01 22:59

    Excellent book.

  • Wayne Walker
    2019-02-26 21:48

    Henry Hampton Halley (1874-1965) was born in Kentucky, graduated from Transylvania College and the College of the Bible in 1895, and became a minister associated with Christian Churches in 1898. When he presented his well known “Bible Recitals” in which he quoted lengthy portions of Scripture and explained them, he would first reveal the historical background and contextual information of each passage. People began asking him for some of this information, so he decided to write his own introductory material and make it available. In 1924 he produced a sixteen page booklet of introductory information and began giving it out to people who wanted it. In time the booklet grew into a small volume, and he began calling it Halley's Pocket Bible Handbook, but before long “Pocket” was dropped from the name as the volume was too large for a shirt pocket.After an introduction, the handbook gives a survey of each book in the Old Testament, a short explanation of the time “Between the Testaments,” a survey of each book in the New Testament, and finally an overview of “How We Got the Bible” and “Church History” since the first century. What I especially like about it is all the archaeological notes which accompany the discussion of the Bible history, along with the copious maps and photographs. A copy of this book, commonly known as “Halley’s Bible Handbook,” was in our home from my early days. I took it to college with me and have used it ever since. When each of our boys was in either seventh or eighth grade, I had them read a portion of the book each day all the way through as their Bible curriculum for that year. It has been said that “Halley's Bible Handbook contains more biblical information than any other book of its size.” One may not necessarily agree with every statement that Halley makes, such as his allowance that the days of creation might have been long geological eras, his implication that Noah’s flood may have been a merely local deluge, or his suggestion that the ark rested on Mt. Ararat though the latter is a traditional view. However, in general he takes a basically conservative, creationist approach to the Scriptures. Of course, those who come from a liberal, modernist, and/or ecumenical standpoint will not like the book because of its “unquestioning literalist view of the entire Bible” or its “fundamentalist position” as well as its “anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim” language. Also, some have objected to Halley as a “white Christian supremacist” but I believe that this objection is the result of misunderstanding some things that he said. However, for those who accept the Bible as the divinely inspired, infallible, and authoritative revelation of God, the book is a useful resource for Biblical background information.

  • Adam Balshan
    2019-03-02 02:09

    3 stars [Literary]Writing: 2.5; Use: 3.5; Truth: 2.5-3.This is an updated version of the first Bible handbook ever published, by a man who loved the Word of God and wanted others to read it more. It is 1,056 pages of high-gloss pages, including good-resolution pictures of objects of art, geographical features, buildings, manuscripts, etc. In addition to relaying material on the Bible book-by-book, it has background information and supplementary information taking up about 175 pages.After surveying two other books, this was in my estimation the best textbook to assign in a high-school level Bible Survey. Its strengths are love of Scripture, pleasing illustration, and useful bits of information the average Bible reader does not know. Its sole weakness is that Halley (and/or his later editors) often present his solution to exegetical or cultural Bible difficulties too simplistically. He doesn't cover almost any nuance amidst these difficulties, but as it appears he didn't go to seminary, this might be expected.Recommended only to Christians, of course--those who want to recommit to Bible study, or want a deeper background knowledge. It is better--as Halley himself avows--for one to read the Bible itself.

  • Marian Brown
    2019-03-20 19:10

    I have been reading this book all summer. I agree with Mr. Halley that every well educated person should study the Bible on a regular basis. Just the history that is taught in the Bible is a great study in itself. The way that the author writes gives me the feeling that he is talking in a down to earth friendly way about this fabulous piece of literature. He gives Christians a picture of what the Bible is about from start to finish so that we can see the whole picture of why things happened the way they did. I espexially like the article about how we got the Bible. I reccomend this book to all people who seek to be well informed and enlightened.

  • Kathleen Dixon
    2019-03-19 23:09

    I can see how this book made it into my 100 Christian Books That Changed the Century list. It seems extraordinarily comprehensive and authoritative, and it prefaces itself with "the Bible is the inerring Word of God."I have to say I'm very pleased that I re-read my beginnings of the "100 Christian Books ...." challenge, and I didn't say I'd actually READ every page of every book. So I wasn't cheating when I whipped through this at a breakneck scan.

  • Peter
    2019-02-24 17:53

    While not nearly comprehensive, this Bible Handbook is a fantastic touchpoint for historical and archaeological information pertaining to the Bible. It can be a great resource for those looking to expand their contextual knowledge of many New and Old Testament scriptures, and also for those interested in history. Each book of the Bible is covered with contextual information, interpretive insights and swathes of factual background. I use it fairly frequently.

  • Matthew
    2019-03-12 17:53

    I used to love this handbook but I've since found better ones (baker illustrated) and since finding a better one this sits on the shelf more and more. Often it's very brief contextual and even historical background compared to the Baker is illustrated handbook I have. I still like it better than other handbooks I've looked at so I say it's a three star review.

  • Linda
    2019-03-11 23:59

    I learned about who was believed to author the gospels and the rest of the new testament. This is a great reference book that descries the modern day area of the land where the disciples and Jesus lived. Plenty of histoy is included in this author's writing. I will use this book more than once and I am glad to have a copy of it when I have questions.

  • Dante Ferrigno
    2019-02-24 22:46

    Really it's not bad, though three stars makes it look so, it's just that Unger's Bible Handbook is so much better. I was going to give it 2 stars because "It was OK" better describes my thoughts on the book than "I liked it" which is what 3 stars stands for, but 2 stars just makes it look worse than my true opinion of the book.

  • Becky
    2019-03-04 19:08

    I haven't yet completely read it cover to cover but It is a " must have"in Bible study . Along with a good Bible dictionary and an exhaustive concordance. Also a good Bible Atlas is helpful I do wish I had one of those

  • Dave Jones
    2019-03-11 00:54

    Supposedly this is taught in seminary courses. I was not overly impressed. So-so survey of the bible but not an overly scholarly treatment. I don't understand why this book is as popular as it its.

  • Charlotte Fairchild
    2019-03-15 01:48

    This was the first commentary I ever read. It was a birthday present for my birthday. I learned quite a bit about the archaeology being done to understand the Bible better that was included in this book. I still have my copy.

  • Royce Ratterman
    2019-02-27 19:10

    Most books are rated related to their usefulness and contributions to my research.Overall, a good book for the researcher and enthusiast.Read for personal research- found this book's contents helpful and inspiring - number rating relates to the book's contribution to my needs.

  • Rhonda DiGenova
    2019-03-02 00:02

    This was on my pastor's "Book of the Month" list on time, and I've really enjoyed learning context, history, customs, geography and more in this compact little treasure!

  • James
    2019-03-10 18:47

    good overview

  • Ed
    2019-03-16 18:44

    How can i read this book?for free. Can anyone help me please,!

  • Katherine
    2019-02-26 18:51

    Excellent source for help or interpretations of biblical passages.

  • Kevin
    2019-03-14 00:47

    I read this when i was in middle school...not worth your time.

  • Rick
    2019-03-20 01:51

    The issue for me is that this is a bit too concise. It does provide a broad outline of the biblical storyline, but you will need something more comprehensive for any details.

  • Kimberly McRae
    2019-03-18 17:43

    A good book by book synopsis of the topical information contained in the Bible.

  • Kev Chambers
    2019-02-24 02:00

    Read the most important chapter of this book

  • Chris
    2019-02-24 18:11

    Awsome historical account of the Bible!

  • Raesdaze
    2019-03-05 19:45

    everyone needs it

  • Prpl
    2019-03-06 21:59

    Great resource!