Category Archives: Book Review

Mark Wilson speaks to group in Antalya

Dr. Mark Wilson shared a meal with us at the hotel one evening in Antalya, Turkey. After dinner Mark spoke to the group about his work in Turkey. He is the founder and director of the Asia Minor Research Center, and spends most of each year working and doing research in Turkey. He has updated several of the works of Sir William M. Ramsay, and written several helpful books on the book of Revelation. You will find much helpful material by Dr. Wilson on the Seven Church Network web site.

Our tour group heard a brief preview of the presentation Dr. Wilson plans for one of the upcoming annual professional biblical studies meetings in San Diego, California. He has been working on discovering the projected route of Paul’s Second Journey in Anatolia based on the biblical text, known roads, milestones, etc. from the first century. This was ideal for our group who had just completed a tour visiting all of the sites associated with Paul’s First Journey in Anatolia (modern Turkey).

Dr. Mark Wilson speaks about the route of Paul's second journey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Dr. Mark Wilson speaks about the route of Paul’s second journey in Anatolia to a tour group in Antalya, Turkey. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

We were pleased to see Dr. Wilson’s book, Biblical Turkey: A Guide to Jewish and Christian Sites of Asia Minor, available in many of the museum books stores including the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. Many of our tour members who did not already have a copy of the book got one from Mark after the presentation. You may purchase a copy from Amazon by clicking on the title above.

Tour members were delighted to have their book autographed by the author.

Dr. Wilson autographs a copy of Biblical Turkey for Stacy. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Dr. Wilson autographs a copy of Biblical Turkey for Stacy. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Book on the resurrection available free today

J. Warner Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective. As a former atheist he rejected the claims of the resurrection, but after examination of the evidence he came to believe.

This book is available free in Kindle format today. Click on the book image for the link to the book.

HT: Brooks Cochran

Reading the Blogs # 3

Michael J. Kruger (canon fodder) has written a review of each episode of the History Channel’s Bible Secrets Revealed. He says the series has reminded him of two critical truths:

1. Our popular culture is prone to distort and misrepresent the teachings of the Bible. I was struck again by how sensationalistic and misleading popular-level programming can actually be when it comes to the Bible.  Although this series had some good moments, as a whole I was disappointed to see the History Channel offer the standard Da Vinci Code-style approach to the Bible.

2. The church must be equipped to respond to these sorts of critiques.  Given the high-profile nature of the History Channel (and similar style programming), the average person we are trying to reach is going to be exposed to this type of material.  And we need to be ready to offer some answers if we expect non-Christians to give the biblical message a hearing.

The six reviews cover a wide variety of topics of interest to many people.

  1. Lost in Transmission
  2. The Promised Land
  3. The Forbidden Scriptures
  4. The Real Jesus
  5. Mysterious Prophecies
  6. Sex and the Scriptures

Begin here on canon fodder for links to each of the reviews.

Kruger is President and Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological
Seminary, Charlotte. You will find much useful material on this blog.

HT: Brooks Cochran

Çatalhöyük. Polish archaeologists have discovered containers of barley, said to be 8,200 years old from the Neolithic period, at Çatalhöyük in Turkey.

The largest so far known in the Middle East amount of grain of the Neolithic period in a perfect state of preservation has been discovered by Polish archaeologists in Çatalhöyük, a famous archaeological site in Turkey. Çatalhöyük is one of the largest urban centers of first farmers and one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.

Read the report, with photo, here.

Preserving Tal Al Umayri in Jordan. Many archaeological sites are in danger of destruction. Tal Al Umayri, south of Amman, Jordan, is going to become an archaeological park. The site is on private property. Now the owners have agreed to give the land for the project. Details here.

New Museum in Petra, Jordan. The report here says,

According  to the Petra National Trust, it was visited by around 450,000 people in  2013, though this was a significant drop from 2010’s record number of 975,000 visitors. Officials hope the new museum will encourage tourists to spend more time in the ancient city. It will present the history of Petra and the Nabataeans, as well as house antiquities, but it is unclear what this means for the site’s two existing museums: the Petra Nabataean Museum, opened in 1994, and the Petra Archaeological Museum, opened in 1963.

HT: Steven Braman

The Roman Theater at Petra. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Roman Theater at Petra. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Old Testament Bibliography by Ray Clendenen. Here is the info from Charles Savelle at Bible X.

You can access Ray Clendenen’s recently revised 385-page Old Testament bibliography here. Note: you have to have an account with to access it but if you don’t already have an account,signing up is free.

A Dictionary of the Bible. This five-volume set is now on Community Pricing at Logos. A bid of $15.00 will secure a set in Logos digital format. Information is here.

A Dictionary of the Bible, James Hastings.

A Dictionary of the Bible, James Hastings. The work will be in digital format for use with Logos Bible Software.

It is true that this is an old work first published between 1893 and 1905, but it contains some excellent material. The five volumes contain 4,718 page. The projected price of $15 is less than you might pay for a paperback with one good idea in it.

I have owned the hardback set for many years and am anxious to include these volumes in my Logos 5. Logos needs some more orders to produce this set of books. Let’s pull together. Once the work is published in digital format the price will be $99.95.

My favorite single-volume Bible dictionary

Since I started with a small single-volume Smith’s Bible Dictionary more than 60 years ago, I have collected dozens of dictionary volumes on my library shelf and on the computer. My favorite single-volume Bible dictionary has been the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Premier Reference Series), edited by Merrill C. Tenney. The work has been revised by J. D. Douglas, and is now edited by Moisés Silva. The most recent copyright is 2011.

Amazon has this $39.99 volume today (or, at least this hour) for the Kindle priced at $4.99. Dictionaries are more difficult to use on the Kindle than some books, but it is helpful to have some info available when you are away from your home materials.

The hardcover volume of Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Premier Reference Series) is available for $23.18.

Note: Pat, in Kentucky, tells me that this book is available for the Nook also.

HT on the price cut: Brooks Cochran

Zondervan Essential Atlas of the Bible

Frequently we have mentioned and recommended the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible by Carl G. Rasmussen. Every Bible student needs at least one or two good atlases to assist them in their study of the Scriptures.

Last month I attended some annual professional meetings in Baltimore and was pleased to see that Zondervan already had copies of the new Zondervan Essential Atlas of the Bible. One of the sales reps gave me a copy for review here.

At first appearance, the ZEAB has a beautiful cover of stiff, durable paper. It is a convenient 9 1/8″ x 7 3/8″ in size. The content is basically the same as the larger hard back edition. There has been some editing of the text to condense the book from 303 pages to 159 pages.

There are two major sections to the book: Geographical Section and Historical Section. The Geographical Section includes an Introduction to the Middle East as a Whole, and discusses the geography of Israel and Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, and Mesopotamia.

The Historical Section covers the entire Bible from the Pre-Patriarchal Period to the Seven Churches of Revelation, with an additional chapter on Jerusalem, in 17 chapters.

The maps are superbly drawn and easy to read. A timeline accompanies each chapter. Rasmussen is noted for his Holy Land Photos web site. The photos are beautiful and helpful in illustrating the content.

This book has been prepared by a teacher, and I consider that a plus. In addition to his work at Bethel University, Carl continues to serve as an adjunct professor at Jerusalem University College. He has spent 16 years of his adult life in the Bible lands. His  Holy Land Photos’ Blog provides helpful, up-to-date, information about both familiar and unfamiliar places mentioned in the Bible. He has also led numerous tours through Bible lands.

This Atlas sells for $16.99. I see that Amazon has the Zondervan Essential Atlas of the Bible for $12.97. A Kindle version is about $3 less.

Either version is ideal for a person to take with them to Bible class, or on a tour of Bible lands.

The larger Zondervan Atlas of the Bible still remains indispensable for the serious student. I am trying to say you should have both books.

Carl has assisted me on several occasions in locating some of those hidden, out-of-the-way, places that most visitors to the Bible lands never see. I am pleased to commend this new edition of his book.

Jerome Murphy-O’Connor – 1935-2013

The École Biblique et Archéologique in Jerusalem announced Monday the death of Jerome Murphy-O’Connor (1935-2013).

Fr. Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, O.P., passed away peacefully on Monday, November 11, 2013. He was 78 years old.

Fr. Murphy-O’Connor taught for more than four decades at the École Biblique et Archéologique. He was a world-renowned biblical scholar and author of numerous books on St. Paul and the Holy Land. Many throughout the world counted him their friend.

The writings of Murphy-O’Connor have been helpful to me. I have especially enjoyed The Holy Land An Oxford Archaeological Guide which is now in its 5th edition. In my recommendations of books for those traveling to Israel I have annotated this book with the words “Excellent. The Best.” I am pleased to say that I have seen several tour members using their copy of the book. I see the book is now available for the Kindle.

Holy Land

St. Paul’s Corinth: Texts and Archaeology (Good News Studies, Vol. 6) has been helpful in studying about Corinth. His article about traveling conditions in the first century in the second issue of (the now defunct) Bible Review has been extremely helpful in studying Paul’s journeys. (Murphy-O’Connor. “On the Road and on the Sea with St. Paul.” Bible Review 1:2 (1985).

HT: Jack Sasson; Bible Places Blog.

A new tool for tour leaders

Near the end of January when I received my copy of The Satellite Bible Atlas, I decided that I would secure a copy for each member of my April tour group. Arrangements were made to have the books delivered to my tour operator in Jerusalem so that they would be available for use by the group at the beginning of the tour.

Ideally, it would be good for tour groups to meet together for classes prior to the tour. I have never been able to do this because my groups have come from many states, and sometimes a foreign country.

The first morning of touring I had the driver stop on the kurkar ridge along the Mediterranean Sea a few miles north of Netanya while we handed out the “surprise” books and explained them to the tour members. I asked them to turn to the maps that showed the area where we would be traveling that day. This procedure continued throughout the tour.

By the end of the tour the group members were talking about how the SBA would help them in their studies when they returned home.

On the last day of the tour we stopped by Yad HaShmona where Bill Schlegel works with the IBEX (Israel Bible Extension) program. Bill met our group and gave us a brief geographical orientation of the location and the importance of geography in the biblical story. From Yad HaShmona one can see the site of Kiriath-jearim (see here) to the east, and the coastal plain to the west. Todd Bolen includes a brief description of Yad HaShmona at (here).

Bill Schlegel autographs a copy of The Satellite Bible Atlas for Ferrell Jenkins.

Bill Schlegel autographs a copy of The Satellite Bible Atlas for Ferrell Jenkins.

I can highly recommend the use of the SBA in connection with tours anywhere in Israel. Details about the publication, and how to order your own copy, may be found here.

The Satellite Bible Atlas is not to replace a standard Bible atlas such as the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible by Carl Rasmussen, or The New Moody Atlas of the Bible by Barry Beitzel. In fact, get all three. You will find each of them useful.

Logos Community Pricing

Logos Bible Software has a feature called Community Pricing. It works like this. A book (or set) is chosen for publication. Interested persons are asked to place a bid on the completed digital publication. When there are enough bids to pay for publication the book is published. After the initial publication, the price goes up. I have purchased many Logos publications using Community Pricing and Pre-Publication Specials.

To use the Community Pricing or Pre-Pub specials you must already have Logos (or the older Libronix) on your computer. You may purchase a base package from Logos (here), or buy a relatively inexpensive set of books from someone like Rejoice Christian Software. I suggestion you buy something like the  Baker New Testament Commentary ($79.95 here), the Norman Geisler Apologetics CD-Rom Library ($29.95 here), or one of the other great specials they offer.

thompson_land-and-the-bookHere is a Community Pricing special too good to miss for anyone interested in the land of the Bible: The Land and the Book by William M. Thomson. This is an old work that is rich in information about the land and the culture of the Bible land.

Rich with scriptural landmarks and filled with hundreds of beautiful pen-and-ink illustrations, Thomson’s The Land and the Book has been a popular classic for over 100 years. Learn more about the people, places, and historical events behind the text you’re studying. Incorporate pictures, illustrations, and graphics into sermons, school papers, or Sunday school lesson plans. Whether you are a student, pastor, scholar, or layperson, the 3-volume Land and the Book is a must-have resource for Bible study or reading.

A work like this does not replace current studies, but it supplements them. Just go to Logos (here) and bid $18 on this work. If it sells for less you will pay less.
In the next post I will share another special pre-pub bargain.

The new Satellite Bible Atlas

Todd Bolen announced Monday the publication of the Satellite Bible Atlas. This new work is by Bill Schlegel, Associate Professor of the Bible at IBEX in Israel. Bill has lived and taught in Israel since 1984. He taught at the Jerusalem University College (formerly the Institute of Holy Land Studies) before joining The Master’s College IBEX program in 1995.

According to Bolen,

This resource is ready for personal use, classroom use, and field trip use. The author, Bill Schlegel, has been teaching college and seminary students in Israel for 25 years. Everything in the Satellite Bible Atlas is field-tested by a professor who knows God’s land and loves God’s Word.

He continues to give 7 additional reasons why he loves the Satellite Bible Atlas. I will leave it for you to read more details at the Bible Places Blog here.


I have had the opportunity for several days to see the various materials associated with the Satellite Bible Atlas, but late Monday I received my beautiful copy and have found it to be an amazing production.

After 17 pages of beautiful satellite maps, the additional maps are printed on one page with a brief, numbered, commentary on the opposite page. For example, looking at map 5-1, Samuel’s Ministry, we see a marked map of the portion of the land where Samson was born, and the places of his activity. Map 9-4 shows Jesus’ Move from Nazareth to Capernaum. Map 10-1 shows Acts of the Apostles in Israel. While the emphasis is on the Promised Land and the history of Israel, Jesus and the Early Church, there are maps showing the Journeys of Paul, The First Revolt Against Rome (c. 66-73 AD), the Bar Kochva Revolt, Jerusalem, the modern Middle East, etc. Eighty-five maps in all.

This beautiful book is published in Israel. I am surprised that the book is available for $30 plus tax and $3 shipping (in the U.S.). You will also be granted access to download the maps.

More information and ordering instructions are available here. Sample Maps, Commentary, Study Questions, and an Index to Sites, are available for download. There are also some Teaching Videos, and more are expected from time to time.

A new study guide for those who wish to understand the overall picture of the Bible

How do we deal with the problem of the person who does not know very much about the Bible and gets lost in some of our classes? I recall one time teaching Romans in a church class. I think we were already in chapter 11. A visitor came to the class. Toward the end of the class when I was entertaining questions, the visitor spoke up saying, “I don’t have any idea what you are talking about.” I sympathized with him and mentioned that we had set the stage for the current class over a period of months.

Marc Hinds, a former student of mine at Florida College, understands that many students need a general survey of the Bible. He has provided a solution for this problem in his newly published book by 21st Century Christian. The full name, The Big Picture: A Guide to Learning the Bible’s Story, explains what he is trying to do with this book. The book is suitable for classes of beginners or more advanced learners who haven’t yet understood the overall picture of the Bible.

The Big Picture, by Marc Hinds.

The Big Picture, by Marc Hinds.

In this book of 15 lessons, you will find a brief survey of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The book is printed in full color with many illustrations, photographs, and maps drawn (by Marc) specifically to illustrate the lesson. This book will be suitable for church classes, or individual home study.

The book may be ordered from 21st Century Christian, other bookstores, or Amazon here: The Big Picture: A Guide to Learning the Bible’s Story.