Introduction to the Bible is a 100 page book which not only serves as a guide to the Bible but is also an excellent jumping off point for the Liguori Catholic Bible Study. Before diving into the meat of the book, there is an introduction to the Bible study series and Lectio Divina. Fr. Anderson then begins by describing what the Bible is. A lot of people mistake it for one book, but it is in fact a whole library of books bound together. There are history books, prophetic books, wisdom books, etc. He then explains coventantal theology, talks about the Dead Sea Scrolls, and addresses different translations of the Bible. He seems to encourage use of the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE), which I agree with, because that is what we hear at Mass every Sunday.
Chapters Two and Three walk us through the books of the Old Testament, providing summaries, key figures, key events, and/or historical context. The remaining chapters focus on the New Testament, but in a different way than the Old Testament was focused on. First, we see a chapter dedicated to what life was like in Palestine during the time of Jesus, which included politics, religious groups, and religious feasts. Next, we see a chapter that explains what life was like after Jesus' death and when the books of the New Testament were written. This chapter, like the previous one, again touches on the political rule of the time, but it also talks about the different sources the writers used when composing their New Testament book(s). The last chapter talks about the message from Jesus and the New Testament and how the ways we receive the message, study the message, and interpret the message have changed.
Overall, this was a very brief, but thorough introduction to the Bible. It was simple enough that anyone could understand it, but it waded into the deep end occasionally to keep the more advanced reader interested enough to continue reading. I appreciated that every chapter had review and reflection questions. These types of questions are vital for small group leaders, especially those lacking experience in leading a Bible study. The only thing that I wish would have been different is the end of the book. It felt like a very abrupt ending. I would have preferred a couple of closing pages that point you in a direction on what to do next. Perhaps, the author could have said something like, if you're completely new to reading the Bible, start with The Gospel of Mark, or if you have studied the Synoptic Gospels before try The Gospel of John. That gripe aside, I still recommend this book as you need some background before embarking on Bible study.