Book Reviews

KITTO’S DAILY BIBLE ILLUSTRATIONS, by John Kitto; Kregel Publications, 1981; two volumes: Vol. I, 1008 pp., Vol. II, 894 pp.; $49.95. (Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko)

The jacket blurb of these books tells us that John Kitto lived from 1804-1854. At an early age (13) a bad fall left him totally deaf. Although this was only another in a series of tragedies which he endured, God used all these afflictions and troubles to prepare John for work in the church. He became an expert in Middle Eastern customs and an authority on the ancient customs of Bible times. He wrote prolifically in his field and contributed much to subsequent knowledge of the cultural, geographical, and historical background of Scripture. Volume I has an extensive biography of John Kitto from which much more can be learned concerning the interesting life which this Bible scholar lived.

The books are very large with vast amounts of material in them. Each volume is nearly the size of an ordinary piece of typing paper and each page has two columns on it. So, although the price may seem somewhat high, there is a great deal of material to be found here. 

The subtitle of the two volumes reads, “Studies of key characters and problem passages in the Scriptures.” Undoubtedly this does characterize these two volumes in a general way, but they are really much more than that. From one point of view, they serve as a commentary on the whole Bible—every book of the Bible is discussed in them and most books of an historical kind are treated section by section. From another point of view, they are a sort of reference book which contains an abundance of material on such things as the flora and fauna of Bible lands, the geography and history of Bible lands, the customs and culture of Bible people. This feature of the work seemed to this reviewer to be its greatest value. A bonus in this connection is the fact that two different editors have brought some of the material up to date in the light of more recent discoveries. 

Other interesting and worthwhile features of the work are: 1) a detailed study of the book of Job (130 pages); 2) a topical discussion of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon and the prophets; 3) an interesting and helpful discussion on Hebrew poetry; 4) a sound approach to Biblical interpretation; 5) a very skillful and beautiful style (although in keeping with the days in which the author lived), a skill no doubt developed and honed because of the author’s deafness. 

I urge our schools to obtain this work for the school libraries. While it is not always easy to find material which one wants by looking up the text, an exhaustive index at the end of Volume II makes subject reference work very easy. It can be used in our grade schools as well as our high schools. But it is also a valuable addition to our home libraries. It can be helpful in Bible study for societies and personal devotions as well as a general reference work.

HOW TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISIONS, by John D. Arnold/Bert Tompkins; Mott Media, 1982; 180 pp., price not given. (Reviewed by Prof. H. Hanko)

We quote from the preface to give you some idea of the contents of the book: 

Section I (Chapters 1 and 2) reminds us that God has given us able minds to determine and evaluate options, along with understanding the ultimate responsibility for our decisions. This section explains the many difficulties people have in making decisions and further explains why a systematic decision-making method is necessary. . . . 

Section II (Chapters 3 through 9) explains in detail our seven-step decision-making process. It has been tested and proven of value to thousands of people as they struggled with important decisions of spiritual, moral, personal, or financial consequence. . .

Section III (Chapters 10 through 13) focuses primarily upon how you can help others make decisions. . . . 

The book leaves out the essential Biblical teachings on these matters.