Staff Pick – All the Men of the Bible

TheAllMenEach week the blog will feature a favorite book of a staff member that’s available on WORDsearch.

In fifth grade my parents purchased a multi-volume encyclopedia, as many parents did in the pre-Internet era, to help out with my homework.  My homework would suffer because as I flipped through the pages searching for the topic of a report my teacher had assigned, I would inevitably be sidetracked by more interesting articles I encountered on the way. This is a habit I have never been able to kick.

Working here at WORDsearch, I am surrounded by books that elicit the same reaction. While checking for errors in the OCR process, I will inevitably be tempted to stop and read an interesting passage, and I have to tear myself away to focus on the task at hand. One of the books that tested my self-control happened to be one of my favorites, Herbert Lockyer’s All the Men of the Bible.

As the title suggests, this book lists all the men appearing in the Bible, and it is a very extensive list. The reason why Lockyer wrote this book to include all the men, even the ones mentioned only once, was because, as he states in the first chapter, “…the Bible is the inspired Word of God, even these uninteresting lists of names were written for our learning, and if properly studied they [will] yield remarkable results.”

All the Men of the Bible is like a cross between a dictionary and an encyclopedia. Each entry starts conventionally enough with a pronunciation guide and the meaning of the man’s name, such as Amos, which means “burden bearer” or “one with a burden.” The names are sometimes shared among more than one man, such as the five individuals named Asaph.  But Lockyer wrote this book to be more than a dictionary with concise definitions, and he used his education and extensive experience as a pastor to bring together all the fragments of information scattered throughout the Bible in order to create a complete portrayal for each man.

Browsing through the entries, the reader’s eye may be caught by the story of Mnason, an old disciple who gave Paul and his followers lodging. Mnason is given only the briefest of mentions in the Bible, but Lockyer became a storyteller, and wove together information drawn from the Bible and his knowledge of biblical history, and was able to create a compelling image of the man. Now we are able to see him as a living person, someone who contributed materially to the spread of the Gospel.

Where this book really shines is when there is more information to work with. Under Asahel, of which there are four different men who share this name, the fourth is described as the youngest son of David’s sister, and whose story is given the interesting subtitle of The Man Who Died in His Boots. We learn of his family background, that he was known for his “fleetness of foot,” was a courageous officer in David’s army, and that his ambition contributed to his death.

Whenever possible, Lockyer shows how the story of each man illustrates the teachings of the Bible, and he points out how to use them as the basis of study group discussions or sermons. This, along with careful citations of his information sources, makes the book a valuable resource and an excellent addition to anyone’s library.

David Henderson is an OCR technician at WORDsearch. He is happily married and enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the great outdoors, the great indoors and anywhere in between.

Download All the Men of the Bible, a new release, for $11.95 here.

Have you read a book that has inspired you lately? Let us know!

Comments

  1. Years ago I interviewed with Olive Tree for a position that might be the equivalent of yours, I can’t be sure, but I suspect the reason I didn’t get it was bringing up exactly what you mentioned… surrounded by such a great library of material, the temptation to stop and read… that takes a lot of discipline to work in that environment. Being surrounded by so many resources reminds me of John Stott’s picture of the leaky pitcher… just as we need to be filled with living water, so must we have the opportunity to release it. If you’re a die-hard “behind the computer guy” like me, you probably wouldn’t have as many opportunities.

    I did have a great one a few weeks ago, but I can’t really give credit to myself… it was between the Church Father bundle and what I’m certain was the Holy Spirit coming upon me as I was approached by two Mormon missionaries. We probably had a fifteen minute low key conversation. You guys probably don’t have the publishing access to Harper Collins, I believe they published Tactics by Greg Koukl, that is such an amazing resource when it comes to passively guiding an evangelistic conversation without coming off as domineering. (It also helps that Colombo is available on Netflix… trust me, it’s worth it)

    I just remember at one point for some reason they started to talk about prophets, and I asked what their definition of that was; they said someone who held the authority given by Jesus to the original 12 apostles… I asked why they limited Apostolic authority to the original 12 and they said it was because they were martyred for their faith. That’s when I asked about Clement, mentioned in Philippians 4:3 as a fellow laborer in Christ and said to have been a disciple of Peter. I mentioned that his epistles were almost added to the cannon of New Testament scripture, and that he was said to be a bishop of Rome before martyrdom. I mentioned Ignatius and Polycarp, two bishops discipled by John, and that it was said that Ignatius was actually the child Jesus took into His arms in Matthew 18:2, where he told His disciples that they must humble themselves like children before they could enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

    My point being that there are those who put a lot of stock in apostolic authority or succession or the power of prophets, but three things come to mind… first that from Old Testament and even beyond, Prophets received their power or message through Angels… second that in the beginning of Hebrews, it speaks of the prophets being messengers to the forefathers of the Jews but now Jesus, as the Son of God has brought the final message and is the one true mediator between ourselves and God, and that His authority was far above the angels, therefore anything that could be spoken of a prophet.

    And lastly Romans 3, that all prophets and the law testify to a new righteousness from God through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, for all have fallen short of God’s glory but by His grace freely justified, secured in the blood of Christ’s sacrifice… Then I asked, “you know I’m not an expert, I’ve never read the book of Mormon, so you guys tell me… What could that book possibly add to that one message, and why would that surpass the authority of the Christ?”

    I gave them about 30 seconds of dumbfounded expression before I shook their hands, told them to think about that, and have a good day.

    I dunno. Sometimes it’s fun to be a nerd. ;)

    But I admit to being torn, All the Men of the Bible sounds awesome… I’d kind of rather get the whole All series, but I’m out of school and I don’t even have a job yet. :(

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