As I mentioned in an earlier post, we’re looking at moving to a one-volume Bible introduction textbook to use for our sections of OT and NT, respectively. For freshman most OT and NT textbooks are too long and distract from students just reading the text. I’m a NT person, so I may be biased, but it does seem that (like Ed said in the comments to the previous post) there are more options for NT than for OT, and that has been born out by our discussions of textbooks at HBU.
As far as criteria, we’re a broadly evangelical institution so we want a textbook that engages critical issues but that is not overly critical (that’s surely a sliding scale so there’s flexibility). In addition, we would like a textbook that introduces students to the material culture, i.e., has pictures. Price is not a determining factor, but we also want to be conscious that a sizable portion of our students are confessionally non-christian and that we don’t want to over burden them with books that won’t keep.
I poked around on CBD and Amazon to see what one-volume options were out there. They mostly seem to be focused on religious studies markets (and thus more critical than our context), and I couldn’t find many (recent ones) that were focused on more broadly evangelical concerns.
Here are some of the more popular (but more critical) introductions around:
Introduction to the Bible: Revised Edition, Fant and Musser
Introduction to the Bible (8th Edition), Hauer and Young
An Introduction to the Bible, Kugler and Hartin
Exploring the Bible, Steven Harris (recommended by commenters)
Here are a couple of evangelical ones I found:
The Lion Guide to the Bible, Walker (good price, lots of pics. I think this will be our top choice. It is a little less critical than our target, but still a good volume. Btw, it’s distributed by Kregel in the US.)
The IVP Introduction to the Bible, Johnston (a little short and no apparent pictures)
There are a couple of handbook-type introductions that were out there that are organized canonically (though surely many others are around):
The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook, Hays and Duvall (lots of pictures, good price, but LONG at 1100 pages–but this includes side articles and other material)
The Eerdmans Companion to the Bible, Fee and Hubbard (few pictures and often black-and-white, good price, 834 pages).
Another option is Fee and Stuart—just the first or a combination of the two (good price and a little shorter, but no pictures):
How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour, Fee and Stuart (strictly books)
How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, Fee and Stuart (basic hermeneutics and introductions to different genre)
As another option, we’re considering going with a study Bible and letting lectures serve to supplement missing issues. A possible option here might be an electronic study Bible like one Logos mentioned they are developing. I’ll be interested to see how it turns out since it can be more indepth than a paper study Bible which is limited by space.
In the end, I’m not sure if we’ll stay with the separate introductions, a single volume, a study Bible or something else. Further thoughts and suggestions you have would be most welcome.