Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI, USA) July 6, 2005
Informatively and accessibly written by W. Milton Timmons (an academic professor with a Ph. D. in Mass
Communications and many years of classroom based curriculum experience), Everything About the Bible That You
Never Had Time To Look Up: A Condensed Guide to Biblical Literature is a straightforward summary of not only
the Bible itself, but many extra-Biblical books. With a text presented for the non-specialist general reader in plain
English, these summaries make the messages of Biblical text readily understandable to readers of all backgrounds.
The interpretation is as direct as possible, with no attempt or suggestion to color the summaries according to the
author's personal religious beliefs. An absolute "must-read" for novice Biblical scholars and anyone who needs to get
a better understanding of the Bible and associated apocrypha quickly. (5 Stars) (Highest recommendation)
Mensa Bulletin, September, 2003
I was tempted to compare this with those classic Cliff Notes you'd buy back in high school when you didn't want to
be bothered reading the real thing. Not only content is treated here, but there's also a lot of intriguing history and
background you were never taught in Sunday School. In addition to covering all the books in the traditional Bible, it
includes some really interesting alternatives such as the apocryphal books from the Jewish, Catholic, Eastern
Orthodox, Ethiopian and various other denominations. So no matter how well you know the Old and New
Testaments, you probably aren't very familiar with such esoteric (and sometimes shocking) documents as First Enoch,
The Life of Adam and Eve, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Gospels of Thomas, Peter, James, and Philip,
the Acts of Paul, Peter, Pilate, Andrew, and Thomas, and even the Apocalypses of Paul, Thomas, the Virgin, and
Secular Nation, Fourth Quarter, 2004
Reviewed by Lois Lyons
If you've ever looked for a good, brief secular guide to the Bible, you've probably found that the good ones are few
and far between. Now Milt Timmons's book is available and I highly recommend it. It not only discusses every book
of the Old Testament, but also the Apocryphal Jewish books in Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Ethiopian Bibles, the
Pseudepigraphy and other Judeo-Christian literature from the Biblical Era, the Christian Apocrypha of the Pre-Nicean
Era, Christian Documents accepted as Canonical by the Council of Nicea and The Christian Apocrypha of the
Post-Nicean Era. It includes a concise history of both Old and New Testaments, a convenient list of the major
versions of the Judeo-Christian Bible and a bibliography. Dr. Timmons gives short descriptions of each book and
what you will find there, including who wrote it, if known, and whether it's considered a forgery. While reading this
book, you will probably want to have a Bible and copies of the other writings handy so you can look further into the
fascinating material under discussion.
In his foreword, Dr. Timmons says, "The aim of the volume is to be concise rather than exhaustive -- thus making
available to general readers the main sources of Judeo-Christian thought, without the distraction of scholarly disputes."
He also points out that the extra-canonical works he discusses that are not part of the Bible as we know it, have been
"extremely influential in the evolution of religious traditions." To this day, he adds, sermons, theological doctrines, and
Sunday school lessons are still based on them. (One niggling point: although Dr. Timmons doesn't mention it and
notes that Timothy II is probably based on forgeries, the name Lois appears there for all the world to see and, for
once, with no allusion to Superman.)
My only criticism of the book is that it cries out for an index but doesn't have one. I hope this lapse will be corrected
in future editions.
Milt replies: I did consider an index, but the book contains so many different names and subjects that an index would be
almost as long as the text itself -- which would have been prohibitively expensive for the print edition. For anyone who
really needs an index, there is the option of buying it as an e-book directly from Xlibris, or on the Kindle, or in the ePub
formats. Loading it into your electronic reader then gives you a "Search" capability.
Rational Alternative, July, 2003
Reviewed by Margie Farber
The author, AU's own Milt Timmons, begins his book with the history of the Bible. He states in the first paragraph that
"There is no historical or archaeological evidence that the Hebrews had ever been held in captivity by the Egyptians, as
claimed by the Torah." All we know is that the Jews were a nomadic tribe living in the Arabian Peninsula. The Bible
was written by many unknown authors, both in the Old and the New Testaments.
The book is written in modern English and is easy to comprehend by anyone. I have a friend, who is a slow reader,
say that it took him just a short time to finish the book. Timmons describes each book in a storylike manner, with a
touch of humor. He adds some of his own comments, in parentheses, on the validity or the lack thereof on certain
passages from the Bible.
Timmons shows that our ancestors had little or no knowledge of our universe and our world. The way they described
the cosmos is very amusing to say the least. For example: the sun and moon were chariots pulled by angels through
many gates in the firmament, depending on the different times of the year. When the sun chariot reached the west, an
angel would polish it before it went to east, because the sun would lose some of his shine. Everything in the cosmos
was controlled by angels, including all the stars and the planets.
In 325 C.E., 318 bishops who were called together for the first ecumenical council, by Emperor Constantine in the city
of Nicea, composed the Nicene Creed:
"I believe in one God the Father Almighty; Maker of heaven and earth, and of all
things visible and invisible.
"And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father
before all worlds [God of God], Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not
made, being of one substance [essence] with the Father; by whom all things were
made; who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was
incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was
crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third
day he rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and
sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge
both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
"And [I believe] in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceedeth from
the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and
glorified; who spake by the Prophets. And [I believe] in one Holy Catholic and
Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for
the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen."
This book shows that the Bible, with all its authors, cannot be the inspired word of a god or any gods. If a god did
speak through the authors, why would he give them false information about the cosmos? All this only proves that
man created god. God did not create man as is stated at the beginning of the Bible.
Reader Reviews from Amazon.com
(5 Stars) Must Read, June 12, 2004
Reviewer: Rachel Sene (Santa Monica, California USA)
Invaluable as a reference. I have been searching for years for a book of this nature. I have found some
similar ones. This book is superior to anything I have ever read.
(5 Stars) An Essential Resource for Students of Religion, June 12, 2004
Reviewer: Chuck Collazzi (Sherman Oaks, California USA)
For anyone who has ever questioned a clergyperson on a biblical matter and found his answer
unconvincing, this book is essential.
Dr. Timmons has assembled a fascinating comprehensive, entertaining account of the origins of Western
religious belief, organizing and explaining in vivid detail how ancient myths, literature, and oral tradition
evolved into the various religious texts of the modern era.
Invaluable as a reference, it provides a chronology of both biblical and extra-biblical works with
detailed synopses of the content of each book, scroll, codex, etc. It is an enjoyable read
notwithstanding its scholarly subject matter, and it answers innumerable questions about our life
and times in the light of ancient literature.
The author obviously committed years to its research, and provides a hefty bibliography for
(5 Stars) Best Full Summary of the Bible, February 20, 2006
Reviewer Gary Hundertmark "Gary the Bookaholic" (Southern California)
Dr. Timmons' book is a much needed reference guide to the Bible. And at times it's entertaining as well as
clear and understandable to a generalist layperson, not just specialists in the field of hermeneutics. It is a
fine "Cliff-Notes" type summary and also gives some historical background to the various sections of the
Bible. It's even captivating for casual reading. I keep a copy at my bedside. In fact, I find it more useful than
the Bible itself. His coverage of Revelations is a revelation of itself.
From a Childhood Friend:
I finished your book early last week. ... Congratulations! I am impressed, and "learned" now that I
have read it all... (Wish I'd had this back when I had enough memory left to remember all this stuff.) It
is a wonderful reference book. It is easy reading!... conversational, even chatty and witty in places.
I really love some of your asides, "Apparently there were no female angels in Heaven." There are
even better ones scattered around throughout, but I just can't remember them right now. I love
having all those contradictions placed side by side and sources explained seemingly without an
author's having a transparent agenda. In short, I love it and will selectively recommend it to people.
So many people I know now are becoming Bible literalists I find I can't really discuss with them much
of the reading I do. They can't seem to even admit the present Bible is the result of a crazy-quilt of
history, time laps, writers and odd characters. I think your book has come out at an opportune time.
(Name pending approval)
There's more to come,
but for now...
Click here to browse
through the book, or to
For an interview with Milt,
conducted by Page One
PR company, click here.
(5 Stars) An Atheist's Review, July 19, 2008
Reviewer Rodney C. Schaerer (Long Beach, CA)
As an Atheist I really appreciated Dr. Milton Timmons’ "Everything About the Bible That You Never Had Time
to Look Up" because he is exactly correct in the title. Most Atheists know there is no “The Bible” but instead
there is a historical collection of writings concerning different and conflicting Christian beliefs over time.
Individual Christian groups have “officially” endorsed different collections as their individual “canonical” bible
but, collectively Christians internally fight over whose canonical bible is the “True” Bible. We all know that, at
a minimum, there is the Catholic Bible vs. the Protestant Bible but, try and get a Christian to admit it! It's a
known fact within Atheism that 95% of all Christians have never read their own acclaimed bible yet alone
another opposing bible or another religion's books.
Milt Timmons has finally answered the question with his chronological listing of the various Christian books
and their similarities and contradictions. He objectively injects humor when it's appropriate without taking a
negative approach or belittling the author's claims. He cites his references which are usually Catholic or
scholastic. This is truly “A Condensed Guide to Biblical Literature” as one can often locate where those
Christian sayings came from and plainly see how diversified Christianity really is.
Obviously, I wish more Christians would truly study Christianity and its history to be well rounded theists
instead of “blind faith” theists. Clearly, this is a must read for every Atheist’s personal library. "Everything
About the Bible That You Never Had Time to Look Up" gives one the knowledge and understanding that any
religious belief is truly multi-dimensional and not a single absolute dogma as falsely claimed by its leaders.
EvolveFish.com, August, 2008
Milton Timmons' book is a much needed reference guide to the Bible. It is highly entertaining as well
as clear and understandable to all, not just specialists in the field of hermeneutics. This fine,
"Cliff-Notes" type summary also gives some historical background to the various sections of the Bible.
It's even more useful than the Bible itself! His coverage of Revelations is a revelation too!
(5 Stars) Useful resource book for study of the Bible, May 21, 2010
Reviewed by Phillip Dye
Anyone making a serious study of the Bible should have this book at hand. It not only deals with both the
Old and New testaments but with the different major versions of the Bible, including the many books labeled
as Apocryphal. The author demonstrates no favoritism of one belief over another. Clearly and concisely
written descriptions aid the scholarly or even casual researcher. The author points out the differences
between texts, but allows the reader to arrive at his/her own conclusions, although he does insert an
occasional witty observation.