The Basic Bible Atlas

Title: The Basic Bible Atlas
Author: John A. Beck
Publisher: BakerBooks
ISBN: 978-0-8010-7790-6

“And we will not fully understand this story unless we understand the place from which it has come. That is why you need an atlas. Because some of what the Lord has to say to us, he has said using geography,” John S. Beck writes in the introduction of his book, The Basic Bible Atlas: A Fascinating Guide of the Land of the Bible.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-seventy-six-page paperback targets those who want to have a better understanding of the lands mentioned in the Holy Bible. After a map and illustration list plus acknowledgments, the book is divided into two parts: Introduction to Geography and Putting the Story in Its Place. The ending includes notes, Scripture index, and an index of place names. The New International Version of the Holy Bible is referenced.

In this book that focuses mainly on Israel and its surrounding areas, over sixty maps with illustrations explain the Old and New Testaments’ geographical locations relating to the stories they provide. The first part has an introduction to the atlas and Biblical world that includes the ancient Near East, regions mentioned in the Bible, and Israel’s major cities, towns, roads, zones, rainfall, seasons, culture, soils, and products. The second and larger section of the book is subdivided into eight chapters covering the creation, the exodus, conquests, the kingdom’s establishments, divisions, and exile, and when Jesus was living as well as church stories.

~Why ~
This is is a wonderful read as it is basic and too the point so the reader can pick a topic of the Old or New Testament and pinpoint on a map where it took place. I loved looking at the maps’ notes and learning that Israel covered 6,750 square miles, the Jewish people’s meandering route for forty years in the desert, where Samson lived and died, the travels of the Ark of the Covenant, the expansion of Jerusalem and its Temple, and Elisha’s history. Understanding the distances Jesus traveled and places He performed miracles were interesting as well as Paul’s many journeys.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not be interested in an atlas that shows how God was and is always there, taking care of the beloved Jews and Christians. Others may wish there was more content to the discussions, but it is a basic synopsis.

~ Wish ~
I wish there were more stories of every person’s whereabouts in the Bible, but this would be a major task. Including an index by people’s names would be helpful for quick look-up. By accident, I noticed Susa (Nehemiah and Esther) was not listed in the index. I prefer all pronouns of God to be capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are wondering how far Moses traveled, where Bethlehem is related to Jerusalem, or how the Word of God was spread in the New Testament, this is an excellent source of knowledge that will amaze you.

Thanks to BakerBooks for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at

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