Cover image for The complete idiot's guide to the Bible
The complete idiot's guide to the Bible
Bell, James S.
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Indianapolis, IN : Alpha Books, [2003]

Physical Description:
xxiv, 359 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
General Note:
Authors names in reverse order in the first ed.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
BS475.2 .B415 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Includes summaries of the Bible's most famous stories, detailed maps of the journeys of its major figures, and descriptions of everyday life depicted in the Bible.

Author Notes

Jim Bell is editorial director for Moody Press and has served as director of religious publishing at Doubleday. He has assembled dozens of classic devotionals, abridgements, and compilations including the God's Little Instruction series. He is also the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide

Table of Contents

Part 1 Before You Beginp. 1
1 The B-I-B-L-E, Is That a Book for Me?p. 3
Check Your Bible IQp. 4
What's in It for Me?p. 7
Has Bible Content Changed over the Years?p. 9
How Did We Get Our Bible from a Bunch of Manuscripts?p. 9
Choosing the Best Bible from All the Good Booksp. 12
2 Claims and Disclaimersp. 15
Seeing the Whole Elephantp. 15
Why Put Up with All These Problems?p. 19
The Layout of the Biblep. 20
Stocking Your Bible Toolboxp. 21
Part 2 The Old Testamentp. 23
3 In the Beginningp. 25
What Was Before the Beginning? (Genesis 1:1)p. 25
A Good Day's Work (Genesis 1:1--2:3)p. 26
Adam and Eve in a Brave Nude World (Genesis 2:4-25)p. 27
Fall Comes to Eden (Genesis 3)p. 27
Brother Against Brother (Genesis 4:1-16)p. 29
A Population Explosion (Genesis 4:17-5)p. 30
Looks Like Rain ... (Genesis 6-7)p. 31
Rain, Rain, Go Away (Genesis 8:1-9:17)p. 32
What Do You Do with a Drunken Ex-Sailor? (Genesis 9:18-29)p. 32
No Comprende: Conversations at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 10-11)p. 33
4 Abraham: A Not-So-Accidental Touristp. 35
Go West, Old Man (Genesis 11:27-12:9)p. 36
Take My Wife--I Mean, Sister ... Please! (Genesis 12:10-20)p. 38
Lots of Trouble from Lot and His Lot (Genesis 13-14)p. 39
Gone Today, Heir Tomorrow (Genesis 15)p. 40
Sarah Problem Here? (Genesis 16)p. 41
The Sign of (Ouch!) Faith (Genesis 17)p. 42
Let's Make a Deal (Genesis 18)p. 42
Hot Time in the Cities (Genesis 19:1-29)p. 43
A Family Affair (Genesis 19:23-29)p. 45
All I Want Is the Heir That I Breed (Genesis 20-22)p. 45
5 Isaac and Jacob: Lessons in Family Dysfunctionp. 49
Isaac's Mail-Order Bride (Genesis 23-25:18)p. 49
Birthright Gumbo (Genesis 25:19-34)p. 50
Like Father, Like Son (Genesis 26)p. 51
The Old Man and Deceit (Genesis 27-28:9)p. 53
Stairway to Heaven (Genesis 28:10-22)p. 54
The Wrong "Honey" on the Honeymoon (Genesis 29:1-30)p. 54
Baby, Baby, Baby, Etc. (Genesis 29:31-30:23)p. 55
An Early Experiment in Genetic Engineering (Genesis 30:25-43)p. 56
On the Road Again (Genesis 31)p. 57
Getting All Out of Joint (Genesis 32)p. 58
He Saw Esau (Genesis 33, 35-36)p. 59
6 Joseph: Not Your Average Joep. 61
Dream a Little Dream of Me (Genesis 37:1-11)p. 61
Ten Angry Men (Genesis 37:12-36)p. 62
"Mrs. Potiphar, I'm a Joe--Not a John" (Genesis 39)p. 63
A Baker, a Cupbearer, and a Hangman (Genesis 40)p. 63
Dreaming of the Cows 'n' the Corn (Genesis 41:1-40)p. 64
From Ex-Con to CEO (Genesis 41:41-57)p. 64
I Never Forget a Face--Much Less Ten of Them (Genesis 42)p. 65
Ben There, Done That (Genesis 43-44)p. 66
Family Reunion (Genesis 45-47:12)p. 67
A Fair Deal from Pharaoh? (Genesis 47:13-26)p. 68
The Last of the Patriarchs (Genesis 47:28-50:26)p. 69
7 Moses: God's Reluctant Herop. 71
Four Centuries of Decline, from Joe to Moe (Exodus 1)p. 71
Rollin' on the River (Exodus 2:1-10)p. 72
Hit and Run (Exodus 2:11-25)p. 73
Why? Because the Talking Bush Said So! (Exodus 3-4)p. 73
Bricks Without Straw (Exodus 5-6)p. 74
The Plague's the Thing (Exodus 7-11)p. 75
The First Passover (Exodus 11-12:30)p. 76
An Order of 600,000 Israelite Families--to Go! (Exodus 12:31-13)p. 77
Stalk Like an Egyptian (Exodus 14-15:21)p. 77
Manna Come and Me Want to Go Home (Exodus 15:22-17:7)p. 78
Smoke on the Mountain and Fire in the Sky (Exodus 19-31)p. 80
Unholy Cow! (Exodus 32-34)p. 81
The Group Regroups (Exodus 35-40)p. 82
Jealousy and Leprosy: Two Contagious Diseases (Numbers 10-12)p. 83
Spy vs. Spy (Numbers 13-14)p. 83
Generation Next (Numbers 27-35)p. 84
8 The Good, the Bad, and the Lovelyp. 87
Next in Command (Joshua 1)p. 88
Hiding Out in the Red-Light District (Joshua 2)p. 88
The Miraculous Water Crossing You Hardly Ever Hear About (Joshua 3-5:12)p. 89
Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho--but First, Some Laps (Joshua 5:13-8)p. 90
If You Can't Beat Them, Psyche Them Out (Joshua 9)p. 91
The First Daylight Savings Time (Joshua 10-12)p. 92
Movin' In (Joshua 13-24)p. 93
The Apathy of Defeat (Judges 1-2)p. 94
Here Come the Judges! (Judges 3-16)p. 94
No Longer Ruthless (Ruth 1-4)p. 99
9 That's Saul, Folks!p. 101
Prayer? So That's Where Babies Come From! (1 Samuel 1-2:11)p. 101
Problems with the Priest Hoods (1 Samuel 2:12-26)p. 102
Speak Three Times from the Ceiling If You Want Me (1 Samuel 3)p. 102
Raiders of the Lord's Ark (1 Samuel 4-7)p. 103
King Me! (1 Samuel 8-10)p. 104
Give in to You? My Eye! (1 Samuel 10-12)p. 105
Who Is This "Phyllis Stein," and Why Are There So Many of Her? (1 Samuel 13-14)p. 106
The Bleat Goes On (1 Samuel 15)p. 107
Harping on Saul's Problem (1 Samuel 16-17)p. 108
Fee-Fi-Foe-Fight, I Want the Blood of an Israelite (1 Samuel 17)p. 108
Banned, on the Run (1 Samuel 18-23)p. 109
A Little Longer Live the King! (1 Samuel 24-26)p. 111
A Short Ghost Story (1 Samuel 27-31)p. 112
10 David: Now for Some King Completely Differentp. 115
Here Comes the New Boss, Not Like the Old Boss (2 Samuel 1-4)p. 115
King at Last! (2 Samuel 5)p. 117
Disembarking the Ark (2 Samuel 6)p. 118
Israel: Growing by Leaps and Boundaries (2 Samuel 8-10)p. 119
My Kingdom for a House (2 Samuel 7)p. 120
Splish, Splash, I Was Taking a Bath ... (2 Samuel 11)p. 120
Not Ewe, Too! (2 Samuel 12)p. 121
Rape, Revenge, and Regrets (2 Samuel 13)p. 123
The Hair Apparent (2 Samuel 14-16:14)p. 124
Plants, Plots, and Perverse Pleasures (2 Samuel 16:15-17:29)p. 125
A Really, Really Bad Hair Day (2 Samuel 18)p. 125
Back in Business (2 Samuel 19:9-21)p. 126
11 The Riches-to-Rags Story of Israel and Judahp. 129
Solomon's Successful Succession (1 Kings 1)p. 129
Wisdom? In Your Dreams! (1 Kings 2-4)p. 130
Temple Temps (1 Kings 5-9)p. 132
Queen for a Stay (1 Kings 10)p. 133
The Odds Against Success Are About a Thousand to One (1 Kings 11)p. 133
Split Decision (1 Kings 12)p. 134
Down Come the Ravens, Up Goes the Chariot (1 Kings 17-19; 2 Kings 1-2)p. 141
He's a Real No-Hair Man (1 Kings 19:19-21; 2 Kings 2-8:15)p. 142
12 Making the Best of a Bad Situationp. 145
The Long Walk Home (Ezra 1-2)p. 146
Sayonara, Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1-2:10)p. 149
If You Knew Susa Like Esther Knew Susa (Esther 1-2:18)p. 151
The Plot Thickens (Esther 2:19-4)p. 152
Queen Save the Godly (Esther 5-7)p. 153
A Good Job Description (Job 1:1-4)p. 155
With Friends Like These ... (Job 3-37)p. 156
Another Voice Heard (Job 38-41)p. 157
Another Happy Ending (Job 42)p. 157
13 Old Testament Lit. 101p. 159
Psing Us a Psong, You're the Psalmistp. 159
Solomon Saysp. 163
Ecclesiastes: The Book of Meaning--and Meaninglessnessp. 166
The Song of Songs (Parental Warning: Explicit Lyrics)p. 168
14 Tell-a-Vision Personalitiesp. 171
Isaiah: Hot Lips, Warm Heartp. 171
Don't Cry for Me, Jeremiahp. 174
How Deserted Lies the Cityp. 177
Ezekiel: This Wheel's on Firep. 178
Daniel Is Traveling Tonight on the Plainp. 181
I Don't Like the Look of This Graffitip. 182
You Can't Hide Your Lion Eyesp. 182
Spending Some Time in the Minorsp. 184
Part 3 The New Testament
15 God's Baby Giftp. 191
Where Are We Going?p. 191
What Have We Missed?p. 192
Unplanned Parenthood (Luke 1)p. 194
It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Matthew 2; Luke 2)p. 196
How John Became "the Baptist" (Matthew 3; Luke 3; John 1:29-34)p. 199
The Devil Couldn't Make Him Do It (Matthew 4:1-11)p. 200
The Dusty Dozen (Matthew 4:18-22, 9:9; Luke 10:2-4; John 1:35-51)p. 201
One Reason Why You Can't Go Home Again (Luke 4:14-30)p. 202
Nic at Night (John 3:1-21)p. 203
A Chat Around the Water Cooler (John 4:1-42)p. 204
Can Someone Get This Lady a Robe? (John 8:1-11)p. 206
16 We're Going to Need to See Some IDp. 209
Demons, Diseases, and Disabilitiesp. 210
It's Not Hard to Rule Mother Naturep. 212
We're Trying to Divide This Food, but It Keeps Multiplying (Matthew 14:13-21)p. 214
I Was Dead for a While, but I'm Much Better Now (Mark 5:21-43)p. 216
Another Stinking Resurrection (John 11)p. 216
Some Relationships Require a Miraclep. 218
A Drop in the Miracle Bucketp. 219
17 Did I Hear That Right?p. 221
Up the Mountain for Some Higher Education (Matthew 5-7)p. 222
Coming Down with a Codep. 225
The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)p. 227
The Prodigal Son and Other Lost Things (Luke 15)p. 228
Hellfire and Damnationp. 230
New Wine and Hard Teachingsp. 232
Jesus' Not-So-Secret Identityp. 234
The Loved One That Got Away (Mark 10:17-23)p. 235
18 Arose by Any Other Name ...p. 237
The Big Questionp. 238
Glow (but Don't Tell It) on the Mountain (Luke 9:28-36)p. 238
An Entrance Fit for a King (Luke 19:28-44)p. 239
Jesus the Bouncer (Mark 11:15-18)p. 239
Final Countdownp. 240
A Meal Worthy of a da Vinci Paintingp. 241
Disciples Squabble, Then They All Fall Downp. 242
Trial, Trial Againp. 244
Cross Purposesp. 246
Friends in High Placesp. 248
Alive Againp. 248
Getting the Story Straightp. 249
For Pete's (and Thom's) Sakep. 250
19 The Church Hits the Roadp. 253
Onward and Upward (Acts 1)p. 254
On a Wind and a Prayer (Acts 2:1-41)p. 254
Peter Principal (Acts 2:42-5)p. 255
The Subordinate Seven (Acts 6-8)p. 256
Blinded by the Light (Acts 9:1-31)p. 258
Peter, Peter, Reptile Eater (Acts 9:21-12)p. 258
Road Trip #1 (Acts 13-15:35)p. 259
Road Trip #2 (Acts 15:36-21:36)p. 261
Road Trip #3 (Acts 21:37-28)p. 266
20 You've Got Mail!p. 269
Holy Microcosm!p. 270
Buon Giorno, Roma (Romans 1-3)p. 271
The Choice of a New Generation (Romans 9-11)p. 275
1,000 Prostitutes--No Waiting (1 Corinthians 1:1-8)p. 276
Five Intelligible Words (1 Corinthians 14)p. 280
All Rise (1 Corinthians 15-16)p. 281
Same Church, Different Problems (2 Corinthians 1-5)p. 282
Paul vs. the Super-Apostles: A Grudge Match (2 Corinthians 10-13)p. 282
21 More of the Apostle's Epistlesp. 285
Galatian Salutationsp. 286
An Emphasis on Ephesusp. 287
Philippians: Don't Worry, Be Joyfulp. 289
Colossians: Who's Number One?p. 290
1 and 2 Thessalonians: Guess Who's Coming (Back) to See Us?p. 291
Paul as Mentor (1 and 2 Timothy; Titus)p. 293
Philemon: A Runaway Slave Makes a Round Tripp. 296
22 Still More People Doing the Write Thingp. 297
Hebrews: Everything Old Is New Againp. 298
James: Uncommonly Common Sensep. 301
Peter's Priority Mailp. 303
Dear John Lettersp. 306
Jude Says Heyp. 308
Yours Trulyp. 309
23 It's the End of the World as We Know Itp. 311
Club Med Meets Century One (Revelation 1)p. 312
Rate-a-Church (Revelation 2-3)p. 313
Up, Up, and Away (Revelation 4-5)p. 314
Scroll with the Punches (Revelation 6-7)p. 316
The Trumpet Septer You Never Want to Hear (Revelation 8-9)p. 317
God's Witness Protection Program (Revelation 10-11:14)p. 318
The Seventh Trumpet (Revelation 11:15-14)p. 319
Bowled Over (Revelation 16-18)p. 322
Rider on the Storm (Revelation 19-20)p. 323
Trying to Make Sense of It Allp. 324
Heaven: New and Improved (Revelation 21-22)p. 325
The End? Or Just the Beginning?p. 327
A The Books of the Biblep. 329
B Where Can You Go from Here?p. 333
C Reading the Bible in One Yearp. 337
Indexp. 351