The bottom line: A big, big book of answers for the difficult Biblical questions, although the answer you get may not be the one you want.
*** Potential buyers should be aware that this is a re-publication of Geisler and Howe’s 1972 book, When Critics Ask. This is the same exact book with a new name and a different cover! ***
The Big Book of Bible Difficulties offers any dedicated Bible scholar the answers they seek in order to work through the more difficult to understand or seemingly “erroneous” or “contradictory” Biblical ideas and scriptures.
This book is an offensive weapon for those seeking greater understanding by providing apologetic and critical Biblical commentary and highlighting cardinal doctrines. It is also a defensive shield against heresies and those who wish to discredit the Bible in a world that is often unwelcoming toward it.
After an introduction that discusses general errors in Biblical interpretation and defines the Scriptures as timeless and unquestionably authoritative, the book proceeds in linear fashion from Genesis to Revelation by giving well-developed answers to major problems. The answers are by no means cursory and even draw from secular fields (e.g. physics, philosophy, law, biology, linguistics, and ethics) in order to solve problems and prove its assertions. Admittedly, some of the answers are much, much more fulfilling than others, and I thought that a few of the answers lacked any persuasiveness at all. In fact, since many of the answers are intended to be used “when critics ask” I found that in many grey areas the authors tended to overreach in order to produce some answer without there necessarily being much Scriptural meat to bite into. The result of reading between the lines produces an answer that is difficult to see.
It also goes without saying that since the authors intended to address major Bible difficulties, there will be numerous (but more arcane) passages, ideas, concepts and themes that are not addressed in this volume.
In my mind one of the greatest benefits of this book is the organization and direction provided in the end matter. Appendix 1 details the system of transliteration between Hebrew, English and Greek. Appendix 2 goes into greater detail of the peculiarities of Hebrew. Appendix 3 discusses additional problem verses and is an elaboration of the main text. There is also an index of unorthodox religious doctrines arranged by topic (e.g. Evolutionism, On Mohammed, Process Theology, and Catholicism). The Topical Index (e.g. Abortion, Civil Disobedience, Prayer: Public or Private) and Scripture Index both make finding what you’re looking for very easy.
I would presume that The Big Book of Bible Difficulties is not the type of book that one reads cover to cover but uses as a reference for specific topics and/or verses. Regardless, anyone with an earnest interest in Bible study will find this information-packed resource worthwhile. The Big Book of Bible Difficulties should be in the libraries of those who lead, teach, preach, or wish to defend the inerrant Word of God in an environment where others tend to superficially criticize instead of actually learning the true depth, complexity, and intricacy of the Biblical text.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal