Official Review: Papa, Tell Us About The Bible

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e-tasana-williams
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Official Review: Papa, Tell Us About The Bible

Post by e-tasana-williams »

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Papa, Tell Us About The Bible" by Bob Dowell.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Papa Tell Us About the Bible by Bob Dowell is Christian non-fiction written as a drama, with a cast of characters and lines assigned to each player. It opens with Macy, Hailey and Lori at home wanting to prepare for a Bible quiz scheduled to take place at their upcoming church camp. Their grandfather (Papa) comes to the girls' house and begins summarizing the Bible for them. His teaching is organized according to the chapter titles "The Bible from the Beginning", "The Abraham Story", "Jacob and Sons" and "The Joseph Story". Papa summarizes the Bible stories but also explains their significance in the Christian faith.

Throughout the retelling, Papa refers to other texts that address biblical principles. He mentions his own book Understanding the Bible: Head and Heart, Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's Divine Comedy among others.

Through the character of Papa, Mr. Dowell argues that the Bible is divided into Plan One, Plan Two and Plan Three, based on covenants God made with Adam and Eve, Noah and his family, and Abraham, respectively. He presents scriptural stories as patterns of human disobedience countered by God's mercy. He likens the Bible to a string of pearls, where the pearls represent covenants made between God and man, and the wire connecting the pearls represents the theme of deliverance found throughout the scriptures.

One thing Mr. Dowell does well in the book is to explain terms like covenant, sin, paradise, redemption and birthright. He also gives good descriptions of the interconnectedness of belief, faith and righteousness. These are helpful for readers who may be unfamiliar with the concepts.

A drawback for me is that there is only one scripture reference given in the whole book. Papa asks his teenage granddaughters to have Bibles available for their discussion, but he neglects to specify where in the Bible each of his stories comes from. Even general scripture locations would have been helpful, especially since the stated purpose of the book is "for our teenage youth who are facing a rising tide of cultural indifference to traditional Biblical values" (from the dedication).

Readers who seek a basic understanding of biblical concepts will enjoy this book. Mr. Dowell summarizes scripture and explains its significance in the Christian faith. He uses accessible language while answering common questions people have about the Bible. Readers already familiar with the arguments in the book may find it too elementary. Its target audience is young adults unfamiliar with biblical principles.

I rate Papa Tell Us About the Bible 3 out of 4 stars. It can be a useful tool for teaching the Bible to those unfamiliar with it, but I would have liked to see more specific scripture references.

******
Papa, Tell Us About The Bible
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Post by lane_vespertine »

So, I never went to church or anything growing up. When I was in college, some guy in my class made a Jonah and the whale reference. He then, probably rhetorically, asked if we knew where that story came from. I, obviously not thinking, said "greek mythology." And everyone laughed. And I felt really stupid.
So, because I am the kind of person who gets bothered by things I don't know, decided to join some bible study classes. I am not, nor were, religious, but the bible is such a cultural part of being an American, it seemed the right thing to do in order to learn.
What I discovered was that everyone else had a far more in depth working knowledge of what was going on than me.
Every book I would read would talk about specific scripture as though I knew anything about it.
I eventually settled the issue by sitting down and reading Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
My point is that there is shockingly little literature that does not assume some moderate familiarity with the bible.
So, when I was reading your review, and you mentioned there weren't that many direct links to scripture, I immediately thought, "Hey! I wish that had been around when I was learning this stuff!" And then you said, "It can be a useful tool for teaching the Bible to those unfamiliar with it." And I couldn't help but chuckle.
Anyway, very good review!
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Post by e-tasana-williams »

Thank you for your thoughtful response. I'm glad you have made the effort to learn more about the Bible. There seem to be few people who seek to learn about things they don't know much about, so kudos to you! You make a good point about it being hard to find literature that does not assume the reader's familiarity with the Bible. That's something I have not really thought about, having grown up in church. You picked great books to start with by the way! I have read each of those books several times and find something new with each read. Happy reading!
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Post by kimmyschemy06 »

The book sounds like a brilliant way to: 1.) get young people interested in the Bible and 2.) to make the Bible more understandable. Just like you, I would have preferred to know exactly where to find the story from the Bible. Great job on the review.
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Post by e-tasana-williams »

Thank you!
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Post by TrishaAnn92 »

lane_vespertine wrote:So, I never went to church or anything growing up. When I was in college, some guy in my class made a Jonah and the whale reference. He then, probably rhetorically, asked if we knew where that story came from. I, obviously not thinking, said "greek mythology." And everyone laughed. And I felt really stupid.
So, because I am the kind of person who gets bothered by things I don't know, decided to join some bible study classes. I am not, nor were, religious, but the bible is such a cultural part of being an American, it seemed the right thing to do in order to learn.
What I discovered was that everyone else had a far more in depth working knowledge of what was going on than me.
Every book I would read would talk about specific scripture as though I knew anything about it.
I eventually settled the issue by sitting down and reading Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
My point is that there is shockingly little literature that does not assume some moderate familiarity with the bible.
So, when I was reading your review, and you mentioned there weren't that many direct links to scripture, I immediately thought, "Hey! I wish that had been around when I was learning this stuff!" And then you said, "It can be a useful tool for teaching the Bible to those unfamiliar with it." And I couldn't help but chuckle.
Anyway, very good review!

I have been in a kind of similar situation. Only I grew up a "Catholic". I never really identified with them and did not take much away. My in laws are very religious and I always feel awkward when they start talking about God and the bible and what it says. So since I have kids, I bought a children's bible and I read it to them. That is my version of learning the bible. Lol.

Thank you e-tasana-williams for the thoughtful review! :)
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e-tasana-williams
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Post by e-tasana-williams »

Thank you for your response. I think that's a great way to learn more about the Bible...teaching someone else about something is one of the best ways to learn. And you're making great memories with your kids!
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Post by Kdonegan91 »

Growing up, my parents never took my sister and I to church except on Christmas and Easter. When I was 19, I felt a need to attend church and learn more. I now go every Sunday with my family and try my best to teach my children about God and His love. Your review is very well written and I'm very interested in reading the book now. I love literature that contains faith and the Christian religion. I do agree that the book should definitely contain specific verses so the reader can research in the Bible further. Thank you for your review!
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e-tasana-williams
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Post by e-tasana-williams »

Thank you for responding! This is definitely a useful book.
Once you learn to read, you will be forever free ~ Frederick Douglas
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