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!