Wednesday, October 27, 2021

IBS-20 Books with Pictures! Maps, timelines and charts


The Big Idea: Bible maps, timelines and charts reveal temporal and cultural information to aid interpretation of the Bible.

I like books with pictures!

I like books with pictures! I am a visual learner. Visual guides to the Bible have maps, timelines, charts and photos about Bible times. Understanding the land and era helps the interpretation process. Here are some resources available and how they can help.


1. Rivers, lakes, mountains. Shows why they went a certain route, why towns were in a certain location (water, trade route, etc). Ex. Route of the Exodus. Jesus’ ministry around the Sea of Galilee.

2. Country borders and territories in a given period. Illustrates shifting of territories in war, allocations to tribes of Israel, countries hostile to Israel, etc. Ex. The allocation of land to the twelve tribes. The Northern and Southern Kingdoms. Herod’s territories in Jesus’ day.

3. Common highways, trade routes on land and sea. Reveal nomadic routes, travel to the temple, how the Gospel spread after persecution of early Christians, etc. Ex. Abraham’s journey from Ur to Canaan. Paul’s three missionary journeys.

4. Topographical maps show elevations with terrain. Numerous Bible references say Jesus went “up to Jerusalem” because Jerusalem is a high elevation (Mt 20:18, Mk 10:33, Luke 2:22, John 5:1, etc.)

Where to find: Study Bibles, back or throughout (maps index). Online at Bible Hub. Blue Letter Bible. NET Bible. Bible Handbooks and Atlases. Search engine images.


1. See the whole story. The Bible story covers nearly 2000 years. Get the big picture and break it down from there.

2. Identify major players. Who came first? Abraham or Moses? Isaiah or Elijah? How did Israel’s twelve tribes happen? Ex. Line of Abraham. Period of the Prophets. The book of Acts.

3. Chronology. Some of the Bible overlaps (the kings of the Old Testament, the Gospels, etc). Note the events in chronological order. Ex. Life of David. Life of Christ.

4. Context. Context is key. Who was king then? What country was in power? Was an event early in Jesus’ ministry or right before the cross?

Where to find: Blue Letter Bible. Hendrickson RosePublishing. Amazing Facts has a useful online timeline.


Concisely organize information.

1. Lists. Ex. Books of the Bible. Plagues of Egypt. Major and Minor prophets. Miracles of Jesus. Twelve Disciples. Prophecies of Jesus.

2. Comparisons and contrasts. Ex. Feasts of Israel. The four Gospels. Levitical High Priests vs. Jesus the High Priest.

3. Relationships. Ex. Days of Creation. Sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. List of OT Kings and Prophets. Paul’s ministry partners. Names of God.

4. Spatial perspective. The tabernacle layout. Herod’s temple. Via Dolorosa.

Where to find online: Blue Letter Bible, Search Engine Images

An excellent publisher for maps, charts and timelines is Hendrickson Rose Publishing. Also Baker Books and Zondervan Books.


This is the twentieth in a series called Practical Starter Guide for Inductive Bible Study.
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1. Check your Bible and find lists of maps, timelines and charts. Is it in the front or back of the Bible in an index or appendix? Does one catch your eye as interesting? Check it out!

2. How might a map or timeline give insight to God at work?

3. Use your search engine. Put in Names of God. Look for images. Look over all the names and meditate on it.

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