Review: Concordia’s Complete Bible Handbook

Title of Work:

Concordia's Complete Bible Handbook Second Edition

Author of Work:

Edward A. Engelbrecht, editor


Pastor John Derme

Page Number:

Format Availability:


Concordia’s Complete Bible Handbook Second Edition, introductions by Jane L. Fryar, edited by Edward A. Engelbrecht. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2013. 652 pages.

SS.63.Concordia's Complete Bible Handbook.LgJane L. Fryar is an author and editor of adult and children’s books. Her work includes Today’s Light Bible. Edward A. Engelbrecht is senior editor for Bible resources as well as professional and academic books at Concordia Publishing House. He is the general editor for The Lutheran Study Bible and a contributing editor for The Story Bible.

On 9 July 2012 we posted a review of Concordia’s Complete Bible Handbook for Students ( At the time of that review, as it mentioned, a second edition of the book was not imminent. Less than one year later, the second edition is available. It is improved.

Much of what the first review stated still applies. Most of the mistakes of the first edition, however, have been corrected. The typographical errors have been fixed. Almost all of the factual errors have been changed, although there is no change in the statement that Lebanon and Mount Hermon are in Judah (198) or that Peter never failed to proclaim Jesus as Savior of both Jews and Gentiles (432). The organizational problems have been addressed. There are still a few inconsistencies (key chapters/verses aren’t indicated for Matthew as they are for all the other books of the Bible), but they are not major. One interesting change that does not fit into the category of error is that the years of Herod’s reign have been adjusted from 37 BC through 4 BC to 39 BC through 1 BC, presumably on the basis of Andrew Steinmann’s work. In some places the artwork has been changed. One surprising new picture on the topic of the day of Pentecost shows women with tongues of fire on their heads, along with the apostles.

The most obvious change is that the book has been beefed-up with the inclusion of an almost 200-page Bible dictionary. This dictionary supplies concise definitions and explanations of many key Bible terms. In addition, it functions as an index. For the subjects that are covered in the main body of the book, the dictionary provides the page numbers for where to find them.

The Bible Handbook still teaches information that will aid the reader in understanding Scripture. It still applies law and gospel. It still points to Christ as the central focus of the Bible. It has become a far more useful reference tool to aid readers in studying the Bible, though, because the information that it contains is now more accurate and easier to access.