Zondervan Handbook to the Bible

book zon han

This handbook that is the favorite of many has garnered a fifth addition. I’m told that there are over 3 million copies in print in many languages for the first four editions. Even the earliest editions, edited by David and Pat Alexander, were colorful and more eye appealing than most on the market. That tradition is extended in this latest edition. It’s beautiful, colorful, full of helpful articles, and contains wonderful maps, charts, diagrams, and photographs.

Section 1 introduces the Bible with broad discussion, helps put the Bible in its proper setting, explains keys to understanding, looks at the unity of the Bible, and surveys the challenges of reading the Bible today. The next section covers the Old Testament, breaking it down by looking at the four genres found there. Each book of the Bible is given an overview and a synopsis of its contents. There’s many articles of special features found in the book as well as lavish illustrations. The New Testament is approached in the same helpful way.

You will enjoy the final section too that they call the “rapid factfinder”. I describe it as a brief Bible dictionary as well as a reference on where to find further discussion in the book itself.

The book is beautiful and well done. The paperback cover is sturdier than most and actually works well in this case. Many of the contributors are well-known scholars. I imagine any Bible student would crave this book. It’s a winner.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology

book arc h

This Zondervan Handbook of Biblical Archaeology is a real gem. Not only is it attractive, but it assists in the very area that many Bible students struggle: archaeology. Randall Price has both taught and participated in archaeological excavations, and is the perfect candidate to produce this book. H. Wayne House, a prolific biblical writer, assists.

Whatever you do, don’t skip the introduction to biblical archaeology provided in this volume. It defines terms, helps you see were biblical archaeology is today, explains the major difference between minimalists and maximalists, explains the limitations of archaeology, its value, and its methodology. There’s a good description of what archaeology contributes to biblical studies too. That’s followed by a fascinating explanation of an archaeological site. It really brings archaeology to life. The introduction ends with an overview of archaeological periods.

The book is divided into three main sections, you have archaeology in the Old Testament, archaeology and the intertestamental period, and archaeology in the New Testament. This enables the reader to approach the Bible chronologically and apply archaeology to it.

You will love all the vivid, color photos, the helpful charts and diagrams, and the text itself. As a bonus, each of the main sections has a detailed chart of archaeological discoveries from that time. There are several helpful color maps at the end, as well as a thorough glossary.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book and highly recommended!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

A History of Israel (Revised Edition) by Kaiser and Wegner

book hist israel

We have here a massive revision of a much-beloved history of Israel textbook. Don’t allow the word “textbook” to cause you to think this book is only designed for college students. It’s an extraordinary resource for any Bible student or pastor. The amount of information is incredible. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. is known for his helpful conservative scholarship and has been a trusted name for many for years. You might say this volume has been made fresh with the addition of Paul Wegner as a co-author.  The addition of many color pictures and maps from the B&H Publishing collection helps immensely as well. It’s large 7” X 10” size allows the font and picture/map dimensions to add to its enjoyment. The only downside is the fact that it’s in paperback and that its type of printing removes some of the sharpness of the illustrations. My hope is that this volume will meet with such success that the publisher might consider an attractive hardback with slick pages. That is, though, the only shortcoming of this book that I found.

As much as I enjoyed the bells and whistles of this volume, it’s the well written conservative viewpoint that makes it stand out. I’ve seen most of the other histories of Israel in print by academic publishers today, and this volume far exceeds them all. The others may have some commendable features but always come with a pile of caveats because of their consistently twisted chronology and skeptical nature. This volume contains all the academic and biblical information on the history of Israel that a sincere Bible believer could desire.

After three introductory chapters that describe the scholarly mess that academia has made of the history of Israel, the book has nine major parts with 30 more chapters that take us from Israel’s beginning to the Intertestamental period. You might quibble over some date or conclusion, but you will greatly appreciate the bedrock assumption behind every conclusion drawn from the evidence found that the Old Testament is a trustworthy source and the basis of our study. I especially appreciated the archaeological proof of Israel and the Old Testament, which is substantial, that is presented in this volume.

Without a doubt, this volume will take pride of place in my library on the subject of the history of Israel. I highly recommend it!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Satellite Bible Atlas by Schlegel

book sat b atlas

This Bible Atlas is extraordinary. I’m a Bible Atlas nut, and own most all Bible atlases in print today. Somehow, I had missed this one until now. I’m so impressed with this volume, that if I were forced to have only two Bible atlases in my library I would pick The Carta Bible Atlas for its scholarship and coverage of many Bible events, and this volume by William Schlegel for its conservative viewpoint and typography as well is its coverage.

I’ve seen some other satellite maps of Bible lands, but they are much inferior to this volume. The author here has a much better grasp of what you really need in a Bible Atlas map. The satellite imagery allows you to see at a glance the typography that plays such a part in many Bible episodes. A majority of the maps take up a full-page, which makes them the perfect size. Color, information overlays like direction of movement, and good labeling make these maps ideal.

The text follows the Bible in chronological order and gives all kinds of wonderful information. There is information about the Bible story itself in some cases, plus other topographical information, as well as some discussion of where the Bible site is located and can be found today. Because the author “takes a conservative view of biblical chronology, accepting chronological numbers given in the Bible at face value”, I’d label this volume refreshing.

In addition to the maps and text, several photographs are interspersed throughout the text. Most of the photos are by Todd Bolen, who is one of the best photographers of Bible sites today. There are so many fine maps in this book, and several of them stand out. I especially enjoyed the maps of Jerusalem overlaid upon a topographical map. Don’t miss the regional map on page 148, nor the index to major sites that will be really helpful for more in-depth study.

This Atlas succeeds on all levels! It will make for pleasurable hours and effective study. I give it the highest recommendation!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Photo Companion to the Bible: The Gospels–A Great Resource!

cd gospels

Wow! I hardly know what to say about this phenomenal collection of photographs on the Gospels. Over the years, I’ve seen attractive photos in books I have and noticed the name Todd Bolen in the photo credits. I had even heard others reference a website called BiblePlaces.com and talk about wonderful photo collections that could be purchased there. Now that I have Photo Companion to the Bible: The Gospels in my hands I know what all the hype was about. For the record, the hype was fully justified.

All 89 chapters of the four Gospels are covered by more than 10,000 pictures. I suppose the most common usage for this resource would be for those who want to create sharp PowerPoint presentations. For that use, there’s nothing free on the Internet that even comes close to what we have here. Putting up a slide for a sermon on some passage in the Gospels will now be greatly upgraded for those who possess this resource.

I see another use for this product that may not be as often discussed. There could hardly be a better resource for those who enjoy some visual learning mixed in. To me, there’s something incredible about seeing a picture of a Bible site for some spectacular story in Scripture. It gets my imagination fired up even more. Further, you will find photos here of cultural elements and even photos of artifacts from museums. There are some things that are simply not common in our day and culture that we need help visualizing. As an added bonus, I saw several historic photographs for those doing deep study.

I’m not as software savvy as some, but I found this resource easy to navigate. I have the disk, but saw where you can download a digital version as well if that fits your needs better. If you purchase this resource, you will be allowed to use it in teaching, preaching, and even church newsletters. If you want to use it in books, or other commercial products or websites, you can contact Mr. Bolen to set that up. Each photo has a brief note to explain what you’re looking at. Your purchase comes with free lifetime updates. Apparently, Mr. Bolen wants us to be pleased, and promises to work with anyone not completely satisfied.

One thing that really sets this resource apart is the pictures of places that are difficult to get to for the modern tourist. In other words, there are pictures here of places you will never see on the average Bible tour. I so appreciate this resource that I hope Mr. Bolen will put together future photo collections for some hard-to-find Old Testament locations (he has some of these pictures on his website). In fact, he ought to make one of those big beautiful coffee table books for Bible sites. The photos here are truly of that quality.

This is a special resource and I highly recommend it.

I received this resource free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Christian Origins in Ephesus & Asia Minor by Fairchild

book ephesus

This is the book that I will be taking with me if I am ever privileged to tour Turkey and all the Bible sites there involving Paul or the Seven Churches of the Revelation. Since I have done some solo touring in Israel, I know what I’m looking for in a book that I would want to carry with me every day of the trip, and this is that kind of book. This second edition is an attractive hardback that would still easily fit in a backpack for travels. In the meanwhile, this book will also serve as an outstanding Bible study resource.

The book begins with some vivid maps of First Century Asia Minor, followed by maps of Paul’s First and Second Missionary Journeys. In fact, the maps were created by Tutku Tours. After a brief introduction, chapter 1 introduces us to Ephesus. After background information and Bible history are shared, we get wonderful pictures and a tour guide to the archaeological site. In fact, the map on pages 10 and 11 are the same sort of map you would get if you were touring the site. If you use the map, and then the text, pictures, and descriptions given, you could easily plan your trip. The armchair traveler would feel as if he or she were there too. The paper and visual quality are similar to the small books you often find at tourist sites, though much more true to Bible history.

Chapters 2 and 3 spread out from Ephesus to places like Miletus, Priene, Colossae, Hierapolois, Troas, and Assos. The quality of text, pictures, and tour guide information maintains its high level. Chapter 4 looks at Peter and John’s ministry in Asia Minor while chapter 5 turns its attention to the Seven Churches of Revelation. Finally, chapter 6 continues this history for the years after the New Testament period.

After a brief conclusion, the book ends with a helpful glossary as there are many terms the reader might not be familiar with, timelines for archaeological periods, and historical ones as well. The author even attaches a lengthy bibliography for important commentaries on the New Testament as well as historical and archaeological resources on all the sites studied in the volume.

I’m really impressed with this book and recommended for either Bible touring or Bible study. You’ll be a winner either way!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Quest by Leen Ritmeyer

book quest temple

This book is without doubt the preeminent resource on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem available today. Whether you desire the historical or archaeological perspective, this is your book. This book’s success likely springs from the fact that no one but Leen Ritmeyer could have authored it. Both from his long years of working in this field and his work as the architect of the Temple Mount excavations, as well as his other work on the Temple Mount itself, demands that Ritmeyer produce this extraordinary resource.

This book is filled with pictures from the earliest scholarly explorations of Jerusalem, other helpful pictures on a range of issues, extraordinary reconstructions, and the wonderful, accurate Carta maps. It’s hard for me to effectively portray the visual treat the reader will have in this book. The text is the equal of the visuals and gives the most up-to-date, scholarly, detailed information that can be found on the Temple Mount.

The book begins covering the Herodian Temple Mount walls. Since archaeology digs down into older time periods, chapter 2 provides a lengthy chapter on the Temple of Nehemiah’s day. Some of the reconstruction models in that chapter were extraordinary. After a chapter on the Hasmonean Temple Mount, he turns to the interesting subject of the underground cisterns of the Temple Mount. I’ve never seen better on that subject. Chapter 5 examines how Herod extended the Temple Mount. That includes things like how he had to expand the drainage system and some of the gates he added. Chapter 6 nails down the location of the Temple on the Mount and has some great pictures of the inside of the Dome of the Rock.

In chapter 7 we find a reconstruction of the First Temple. Again, the graphics and reconstructions were eye-catching and instructive. In chapter 8 we follow that up with reconstructing the Second Temple and all the history behind it. The book goes full-circle with chapters on reconstructing the Herodian Temple Mount as well as Herod’s Temple itself.

Readers are going to love this book. I can’t imagine anyone finding something they thought was left out on the subject of the Temple Mount and its history. Helpful, beautiful, and thorough – what more could you ask for? I give this book the highest possible recommendation.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Carta’s Interesting New Releases!

book hezekiah

Here’s 3 of Carta’s 2017 releases plus a catalog title that was the first of these attractive large, educational, handy (40 pages each) volumes:

1. Understanding Hezekiah of Judah 

Hezekiah is a worthy focus of study for Old Testament students. Not only is he the greatest king after David, but he is the last great hurrah of Judah. His reforms ran the deepest, his faith was the most clearly on display, and it was all against the backdrop of the turbulent times he lived. This book brings it all alive!

Mordechai Cogan, a respected Jewish scholar wrote this volume. You may remember his name from writing major commentaries on 1 & 2 Kings in the Anchor Bible Commentary series. I may not agree with every historical conclusion he makes, but his passion for his subject is clear on every page.

You are going to love the gorgeous photos, fine graphic illustrations, and, of course, those wonderful Carta maps. He explains how Hezekiah eliminated rural altars and brought all worship back to the Temple in Jerusalem. (When Cogan speaks of the “Israelite cult” he is referring to their uniqueness in the religious world of their times).

Archaeological data and Assyrian accounts are brought in to enliven the story. What you end up with is a fascinating portrait of Hezekiah and his times that any Bible reader would have to enjoy!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

book samaritans

2. Understanding the Israelite-Samaritans

Fascinating! I can think of no other word to describe this book. Benjamin Tsedaka, who is an Elder in the Samaritan community in Israel, is writing as one who lives his subject. As the subtitle suggests, the portrait drawn takes us from biblical to modern times. Frankly, both ancient and modern times are fascinating.

Tracing back to the Northern Kingdom days of the Divided Kingdom Era, and being prominent in some episodes of Jesus’ ministry as well as one of His most famous parables, the Samaritans are a worthy subject of study for Bible students today.

The book begins with a general history, then gives a review of their area, and even tells where settlements of their people were. In section 4, we get a careful explanation of who the Samaritans are and who they are not. We are told of their Scriptures, the Samaritan Pentateuch, which are the only Scriptures they recognize, and the difference with the Masoretic text. Then we learn their prayers, their customs, and their way of life.

A book written by someone who believes in what they write always reads the best and that is the case here. With the incredible subject, you have the Carta maps and photos, which are the best out there! There’s nothing in print quite like this book!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

book temple jesus

3. Understanding the Holy Temple Jesus Knew

Leen and Kathleen Ritmeyer are Temple Mount experts. More than scholars, they have been involved in all major excavations in Jerusalem for the last 40 years. They are uniquely qualified to tackle the subject of this fine book. In fact, Carta has already published their larger work, “The Quest: Revealing the Temple Mount in Jerusalem“.

Now they give us a volume that fits in with the attractive series of 9×12 glossy, 40-page books that Carta has been turning out over the last few years. The incredible Carta maps are used throughout, as are exceptional pictures and illustrations. I love the reconstruction drawing of Jerusalem in Jesus’ day on page 6!

This is a worthy subject as several New Testament events of Jesus’ ministry took place in or around the Temple. The first half of the book explains the Temple itself as we understand it from the Bible and archaeology. A fine, succinct overview is given.

The second half of the book more specifically discusses Jesus there. What the reader gains is a vivid picture of key Gospel events!

This is another Carta winner! No Bible reader could fail to glean from this beautiful book. I highly recommend it!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

book ot atlas

4. Understanding the Old Testament: An Introductory Atlas to the Hebrew Bible

Here’s the first of the gorgeous Carta glossy 40-page volumes for Bible students. Baruch Sarel wrote this little jewel filled with incredible Carta maps, pictures, and illustrations. The maps alone make the book worthwhile, but there’s so much more.

There’s an overview of each book of the OT, a description of the Ancient Near East, another of all the peoples and lands that impacted OT history, and an explanation of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the OT. From there, the story of the OT is told historically with text and well-chosen maps. The kings of Israel and Judah are described, as are the corresponding prophets.

I don’t see how a better overview of the OT could be fit in 40 pages. This would be perfect for Bible or Sunday School classes as well as personal study. Chalk this up as another highly-recommended volume!

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Announcing My New Book:Following Jesus Through The Gospels

book fjg

I’m excited to announce the release of my latest book Following Jesus through the Gospels. The Gospels have been a favorite of mine and the material in this book has been things I’ve studied over the last 10 years. There’s more charts than text in this volume and its designed for the busy person who needs a lot of information in a short read. It’s also designed to be small enough to easily tag along with your Bible.

In this book you will find a brief overview Harmony of the Gospels as well as an outline of the stages of Jesus Christ’s ministry. You will have a complete numbered Harmony of the Gospels that includes all the miracles, parables, personal encounters of Jesus, sermons of Jesus, private discourses of Jesus, cries of Christ on the cross, and Resurrection Appearances. Separate charts for all of the above are included for deeper study.

The final section of the book makes a special synthesis of the birth and infancy of Christ, the Upper Room and Gethsemane, the trial of Jesus Christ, the Crucifixion, and Resurrection Appearances. Perhaps you have seen my “Synthesis of the Crucifixion” that’s shared on this blog here. The others are designed similarly.

If you have interest in checking out this book in either paperback or a Kindle edition, check out the Amazon link below:

Amazon listing

Recommendations

This book is a great tool any student of the Bible needs in their toolbox. I’ve used many books that give Gospel parallels, but this is by far the most user friendly. The addition of geographical information makes this book especially wonderful, as combining the geographical information together gives new and improved understanding of the context of many of Jesus’ sermons and parables. The information is laid out in very easily understood tables that will make studying out common threads through the Gospels much easier. This reference book will be coming off the bookshelf on a regular basis, I can promise that.

Pastor Tom Otto

This book is a result of much careful study of the Gospel Records and is evidence that the author loves to study God’s Word. He answers many questions that most Bible students have had about geography and the harmony of the accounts of our Lord’s ministry. I really enjoyed the charts and notes that synthesized the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Jesus. This book is an excellent resource for all students of the Bible.

Pastor Jamin Boyer

This short volume is packed full of helpful charts and list. The research and study involved in this work are a credit to the author and his team. This is solid choice for any serious student of the life of Christ.

Pastor Mike Montgomery

Jimmy Reagan has done a wonderful job of compiling a great deal of information in a very concise format. The charts make this volume extremely useful. I believe it will serve as a good quick reference for those who are serious about studying the life of Christ.

Dr. Scott Pauley

Pastor Reagan is one of the most well-read ministers that I have ever been around. For many years in my own ministry I have gleaned from his wisdom and study. Following Jesus through the Gospels is a culmination of years of study on the life of Christ. In this valuable book, he harmonizes the events of the Gospel records and presents the information in usable chart form. You can now see various aspects of the Gospel records on one page at a time. This is treasure for any student of God’s Word and a handy resource for all preachers.

Pastor Mark Fowler

This book will prove to be most helpful for anyone studying through the life of Christ. It is loaded with information that is able to be both quickly accessible and easily understood. You will find it more study guide than book, but its affordable price and handy size, make it a great companion to scripture while reading through the gospels.

Pastor Allen Gibson

Pastor Reagan shows the ability to simplify the most challenging of topics in this chart filled book. There is no more vital topic for understanding than the life of Jesus Christ! I remember when the topics were first taught and put into chart form; they helped me and they will help you.

Pastor Ryan Brown

 

Jerusalem Biblical Archaeology: A Carta Map

map-jerusalem-carta

I so wish that I had had this map when I was in Israel. Without a doubt, I will never go to Jerusalem without it again. This foldout touring map has the same high quality that we find in all Carta products. Every biblical archaeology site imaginable in and around Jerusalem is included on this map. You could truly plan days of tours with this map in your possession.

One side of the map is in large map covering the Old City. It includes every site you’ve ever heard of and many more. It takes up half of the backside, would be easy to hold in your hand, and help you do multiple walking tours of Jerusalem. If you have been to Jerusalem in the past, you will be amazed how many things you walked by when you study at this map. I don’t know how they included so much information without cluttering the map, but each side has enough information to let you know exactly what the site is without covering up its place on the map. This would be the only map you would need on a day in the Old City.

The entire front side of the map, besides some attractive pictures around the edges of two sides, covers the greater Jerusalem area. You will need a car, but again there are so many sites. I would even encourage you to get this map if you plan to hire a tour guide as it would help you decide what you wanted to see. Remember many modern maps don’t show all of these sites. For example, when I was in Jerusalem, I had a car and I wanted to see Tell el Full, which is biblical Gibeah, the home of Saul, and I could never find it. Not far from there is Beit Hanina, or a piece of the ancient Road to Jerusalem built by the Romans, which I didn’t even know about. Both of these places would be easy to visit with this map.

The bottom half of the back of the map covers six places an extra detail: the Kidron Valley, Mount Zion, the city of David, the Hinnom Valley, Ein Kerem, and the water aqueducts that served ancient Jerusalem.

This map is fascinating. It would provide an opportunity for great study before a trip and supply the ideal map while on the trip. I give it the highest recommendation.

I received this map free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

To buy:

http://store.carta-jerusalem.com/guides-maps/723-jerusalem-biblical-archaeology-9789652208743.html