I was given the opportunity to take the Complete Idiot’s Guide For Dummies Challenge. What is that? It’s taking a look at both the Complete Idiot’s Guide and For Dummies books head-to-head. I chose the subject of The Bible for both and this is what I’ve found.
Both guides are for general overview purposes of the given subject. Each will do this, however the tone and readability is completely different. Honestly, I didn’t think there would be much difference and I worried that I might not like the sponsor of this challenge, Complete Idiot’s Guide, any better. However, as with all reviews, I write full, detailed honest reviews.
Different Tones and Authors
The tone of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Bible is reverent and factual with explanations and even maps to make it easier for the reader to understand the time of The Bible in order to fully understand the text. The Bible for Dummies is historical in nature, with facts and many opinions of the authors.
The 2 authors of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Bible have experience in Christian publishing and research as well as authors of religious books and ministers in the field. They recognize the Bible as “the good book”, not “a good book”. The 2 authors of The Bible for Dummies are historians and professors of ancient religions, archaeology, and literature. The authors set the tone of the entire publication and it is easily recognizable with these 2 books.
What I didn’t like about The Bible for Dummies
The Bible for Dummies pokes fun a little too much and treats the Bible a bit like non-fiction and seems to try to raise questions in for readers.
For example, when talking about the timing of when the Magi and the shepherds visited Jesus, they state that is unlikely that the shepherds and magi were standing side by side. They go on to say
“So, the next time you’re at a friend’s house at Christmastime, we recommend that you tactfully remove the wise men from the manger scene…While on the subject, the little drummer boy is absent from the gospel accoutns of Jesus’ birth.”
What I like about Complete Idiots Guide to The Bible
The Complete Idiots Guide to The Bible has a totally different approach. First off, they recognize what most of us do, that a lot of our Christmas songs and even stories have traditions included. For instance,
“The Bible doesn’t tell us how Mary go to Bethlehem,” but the Bible does tell us that a “governmental decree required them to make athe trip to particpate in a Roman census.”
The Bible goes on to say that the shepherds were alerted of Christ birth by an angel in Luke 2:13, therefore the shepherds left their flocks and went to see Jesus. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Bible goes on to explain that the Magi were somewhere in the east, they “had seen a special star and were bringing gifts for the one who has been born king of the Jews.
The Bible, nor does the book ever say they were standing side by side – the Magi and the Shepherds. This book takes time to explain it as per the Bible, and remind us that our modern day manger scece is a lot of tradition added to it. This book is way more mature than giving the reader the idea to take away the Magi from the manger scene at your friend’s house.
The illustrations were nicer in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Bible too, with more detail. Below are two maps, one from each book, both of the same area, Palestine in the time of Christ. Which is more helpful?
Plus, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Bible has helpful call-outs called Manna from Heaven with interesting facts and details that help you better understand what you are reading.
My honest review? As a Christian and daughter of a pastor, I have read the Bible and heard sermons on it all my life. The The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Bible was more helpful and accurate to me as a long-time Christian. It is nice to read an overview of the entire Bible in an easy-to-read guide format. It is the perfect guide for people wanting to know what the Bible is all about and new believers. Although it is a helpful tool, it cannot and is not intended to replace reading and studying of the actual Holy Bible. There is a huge difference between The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Bible and The Bible for Dummies. I highly recommend The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Bible.
Buy The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Bible
You can buy The Complete Idiot’s Guide to The Bible on The Complete Idiot’s Guide website, in stores nationwide, and on Amazon.com for $18.95.
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