The Book Corner
The Complete Book of Bible Trivia. By J. Stephen Lang. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1988. 494 pp. Paper, $7.95.
As an opening to his Introduction, J. Stephen Lang asks, “Can we speak of the Bible and trivia in the same breath? Can this inspired document that is pored over with great seriousness by pastors, seminarians, and lay people provide material for leisure and even laughter?” He then answers the questions he has raised by saying, “I think it can, and as I began writing this book, I became more and more convinced that the Bible, that divine book through which God’s Truth shines, is an earthly, human collection of people and incidents that cannot help but amuse (as well as enlighten) a reader.”
The book contains over 4,500 questions and answers. In fact, right on the front cover are attractively presented questions such as these: “What people had a fly god named Baal-zebub?” “Who outran a team of horses?” “What famous ship captain lived in a tent?” and “What wicked king committed suicide by burning down his palace?”
The author has gone out of his way to avoid dryness, his arrangement of subjects being topical (e.g. “Strange Ways to Die,” “A Collection of Traitors,” “Snakes and Other Creeping Things,” “Miraculous Pregnancies,” etc.). He has arranged his topics under 14 sections, but is careful to state that “despite the attempt at organization, the book is for browsing. It was made to fill up your time commuting on the train, the hour you spend waiting at the dentist’s office, the few minutes before dinner is on the table, the hours on the freeway when you and the other two people in the back seat are in the mood for a game of ‘quiz me.’”
An extremely helpful feature about the book is that the answers are found on the backs of the pages, behind the questions. By the way, the author would like to hear from any person who is able to answer all the questions—without peeking at the answers!
Here is a book that will both entertain and enlighten. It cannot help but increase the reader’s knowledge of God’s Word, and at the same time make him appreciate more fully the human character of the living, powerful, unchanging, eternal Book of books.
A detailed subject index might be a helpful feature to a future edition. Or, is that something too trivial to bother with? As you might suppose, the author’s favorite game is Trivial Pursuit and, of course, his favorite book is the Bible.
Please know that Mr. Lang’s volume is a fun, fact-filled book and the price is right.
—W. Ross Rainey