November 12, 2014

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

"I'll get the dictionary," he practically squeals as he says it. He is excited.

"What - ," I begin, not understanding what he is referring to. I start again, "Are you getting the big one on the shelf? That is heavy. Grab the student one instead."

He pauses, turns, and says, "No, I'm getting the new one off the floor." He says it with triumph.

Dumbfounded, I wait as he retrieves it. What on earth is he talking about? All our dictionaries are housed on the bottom shelf within easy reach of all the children.

He returns not with the big collegiate dictionary I thought he was talking about. No, he returns with the Bible dictionary I had just received a few days earlier. I never even thought to use it with him. He is only eight years old, after all. I thought maybe I'd let the older ones delve into it, but I hadn't even thought he would be interested.

But he is, and so we do.

We search for the entry. I help him with the alphabetical set up and show him the guide words at the top of each page, showing him it is set up just like any other dictionary. I read him the entry words as he peers over my arm.

"There it is," he points out the word we are seeking. We talk about the definition and extra information. We look at the picture and check into other possible definitions and cultural information. There is a lot!

"Now let's look up the other word," he prompts. We do. The entry leads us back to the Bible, checking another verse the dictionary cross-referenced. We return to our original book, his elementary aged Bible study and finish the day's lesson. Content, he snuggles down next to me on the sofa, and reaches for his phonics reader.

Later that day, I smile at the memory. What a sweet moment shared! I thought it would be a one time event.

I was wrong. Every time there is something to look up in his Bible study, he wants to use Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, and I am happy to oblige.

This Bible dictionary is more than I could have hoped for! It is overflowing with cross-references, numerous entries, fabulous photographs, and informative illustrations. Not only does my youngest child love this book, but so do my other children and I.

As a dictionary, it has limitations. It is not a comprehensive source for every interpretation or nuance of each entry. This would not be practical in a dictionary format. However, it is a great place to start researching and learning more about a particular topic.

Honestly, I have always wanted a Bible dictionary, but I could not justify spending the money for something we may or may not use. I didn't realize how helpful it would be and how much we would want to use it. Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary has become a favorite resource in our household.

~ Dorie

Fine Print: I received this book as part of the BookLook Bloggers program. All opinions are my own.


  1. I was tempted to review this one, too...but didn't as I'm trying to review less these days. However, it looks great.

    What a wonderful story for you and your 8 year old!

  2. It was, and he still likes to check out the entries - "Is there anything to look up today?" he asks. I had to laugh in agreement - I am trying to do less book reviews as well right now. Partly so I can read other books I have sitting in a stack - like that one you lent me...ahem :-) However, I couldn't resist this title, and I'm so glad I did take the time to check it out.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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