Book Review: A Harmony Of The Four Gospels

A Harmony Of The Four Gospels, edited by Orville E. Daniel

This book came along in a collection that I received a couple of years ago, and as happens sometimes while I am waiting for books, I happened to read it in between other books with more urgent schedules for reading and review. This particular book is a harmony of the gospels, and so it seeks to show a coherent narrative expressing the belief (which I share) that the Gospels are ultimately complementary and not contradictory, as opposed to a parallel Bible which seeks to show distinctiveness between the Gospels. Despite some flaws and imperfections, this is a reasonably decent and certainly thought-provoking harmony, even if it not the best I have read. Still, there are a lot of books a lot less enjoyable to read than a fair to middling Harmony of the Gospels.

Given the fact that there is the potential for greatness, is this book only okay? For one, it uses the NIV as its basic text, a mistake, if an easy enough one to make [1]. The book also subscribes to the belief that more information is always better, except when it fails to include any biblical understanding of three days and three nights and the consequent Wednesday evening Passover. The end result of that is the book having information on years and days of the week that is almost certainly wrong.  The book also fails to put Lazarus’ being raised back to life in the proper context of the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, but its focus on presenting a coherent biblical narrative make it a worthwhile one despite its errors.

Among the chief virtues of a Harmony of the Bible is that by putting passages of the Bible near each other, a context is created.  Sometimes this context does not appear accurate, but at times this context can be very profound in tying together passages of a similar time that occur in very different Gospels.  For some purposes of Bible study, this creation of a context alone makes a work worthwhile if it is written competently.  And, to be sure, this is at least a competently written book even if there are plenty of Harmonies that I have read which use better texts and which handle the chronology better.  There is still value to be gained from reading this book, and that is worth enough.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/09/25/book-review-niv-once-a-day-bible/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/book-review-niv-fast-facts-bible/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/book-review-if-the-foundations-be-destroyed/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/book-review-early-manuscripts-modern-translations-of-the-new-testament/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity, Church of God and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Book Review: A Harmony Of The Four Gospels

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Grammar Of God | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: Where The Four Roads Merge | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: A Musing On Parallel Accounts | Edge Induced Cohesion

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