Saturday, September 7, 2013

Advanced Bible History

Advanced Bible History came out from CPH in 1936 by A.C. Stellhorn. It was for use in parochial and Sunday schools, as well as in the home. It is an updating of the 1918 Comprehensive Bible History. Stellhorn was most famous for this work, along with Schools of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and other educational aids. This was the standard Intermediate Bible History used in the Missouri Synod (virtually the same to the Comprehensive version) and heavily used from 1918 into the 1970's, and perhaps later in some places. They were still on the shelves at my father's first call in 1980 though no longer in use at that time. This is an L-TOM classic if there ever was one and perfect to kick us off!

It is solid. 70 Old Testament stories, 70 New Testament stories in 447 pages. It covers all the basic biblical narratives you would want covered for a child. As was the case in almost Bible Histories for children, a certain level of summarizing goes on, yet sticks close to the actual text and narrative. [Note: I am not a fan of this approach, but understand that it is the standard approach and far better than a "re-telling"] The pictures are certainly not cartoonish, however, neither are they overly realistic, as if they are pretending to be a photograph. The pictures chosen are of the type that seeks to also tell the narrative historically and artfully so that the proper knowledge is conveyed and thoughts evoked. (An art that we have woefully lost, though there seems to be signs that we are in the process of recovering this sense) There are helpful, yet not burdensome, introductory explanations, notes, and other helps. The section divisions are appropriate and proper. At the end of each lesson is a Small Catechism tie-in (Second Article, 3rd Petition, etc.), additional Bible verse cross reference, and a hymn verse. There is a pronunciation guide and 12 maps in the back of the volume.

It should come as no surprise that the volume highlights and focuses on the Promise of the Seed in the Old Testament and our Lord's Person and Work in the New Testament. There is good attention paid to the 4th Commandment throughout the narratives and artwork. And unlike other Bible Histories of the time period (and the norm today) difficult and/or scandalous portions of Scripture are not shied away from or sanitized.

The Advanced Bible History is easy to get your hands on and cheap. I wouldn't be surprised if a couple aren't hanging around your church's library. It is definitely appropriate and useful in the home, and if additional helps or desired there was a two part Bible History References by F. Rupprecht put out by CPH that was linked to it.

Final Score: Get it, if you don't already have this classic and trustworthy standby. It will be useful for the pastor or parent as a reference. And do not be surprised if you wind up actually using it.

Need to Get Level: 10/10

Please comment if you remember using this volume or have/use a copy.

[Note: There is an updated version of Advanced Bible History, A Bible History, that is faithful to the tradition of this Bible History and was revised with a light touch by editors Rodney Rathmann and Clarence Berndt in 2003. You can find in at Amazon or CPH.]


  1. I have a lot of these. I haven't yet used them, although I have thought of it.

  2. If you ever want to get rid of them, I will take or buy them! But my unselfish side hopes you can get some good use out of them.

  3. I have been informed that there is now a mini run on these on Amazon. If you want one of the cheaper copies, you may want to act swiftly.

  4. I have my dad's (1931-2006) copy that he used as a youngster in Los Angeles. Inside the front cover, he wrote his name, and below that "Presidet Roosevelt" (sic) and "V ..._ for Victory!" Stuck inside the pages I also found a flyer advertising the June 17, 1940 concert of the Lutheran Hour Chorus at Pilgrim Lutheran in Santa Monica, CA.

    Great idea for a blog, by the way. I look forward to more posts. Thanks!

  5. An additional excellent companion resource to "Advanced Bible History," though not as well known, is the two-volume work, "Bible History References: Explanatory Notes on the Advanced Bible History" by F. Rupprecht, published in a revised and expanded version by CPH in 1947. One volume for the Old Testament, one volume for the New Testament, these two volumes follow the chapters of Advanced Bible History, but are a good supplement to the Bible without it.