By Aaron Earls
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Millions of Christians read the Bible each day, but few have a full grasp of the historical, cultural and geographical context of what they read. The new “Holy Land Illustrated Bible” from Lifeway Christian Resources aims to change that.
The latest study tool to feature the text of the Christian Standard Bible (CSB), the “Holy Land Illustrated Bible” is the result of a two-year editorial process, but an even longer period of collecting the more than 1,000 photos displayed throughout the resource. “The high-quality photos and historical/archaeological content collected for the Bible was the result of more than two decades of research and effort,” said Andy McLean, director for Bibles and References at Lifeway.
In addition to the photography, the Bible includes maps and illustrations to provide greater insight and understanding of the people, places and objects of Scripture. Editors also included 275 full-length commentary articles and more than 40 “Digging Deeper” callouts placed throughout the text for further explanation.
This type of resource can help Bible readers better understand the context of a passage.
A recent Lifeway Research study found 57% of Protestant churchgoers say they find it challenging to make sense of the Bible when they read it on their own. Yet nearly all (96%) say it is important to understand the context in which the Bible was written.
Those are the readers the creators of the “Holy Land illustrated Bible” had in mind, as McLean said the new resource was designed for “anyone who has a desire for gaining a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural context surrounding the Bible.”
For McLean, the “Holy Land Illustrated Bible” also serves as an excellent tool for readers who have not had the opportunity to travel to the Middle East and Israel to explore the areas depicted in Scripture.
“Our desire was to invite Bible readers who couldn’t visit the Holy Land physically into an experience that would engage them right in their homes with a beautifully designed visual journey,” he said, “adding valuable historical and cultural context to the Scriptures with photos of cities, homes and even ancient artifacts that were used throughout the Bible.”
With the immersive aspects of reading Scripture in the “Holy Land Illustrated Bible,” McLean said those who worked on the project “hope readers gain a strengthened understanding of the history, culture and worldview behind the pages of Scripture, as well as a strengthened connection to how Scripture can impact our lives today.”
For more information on the “Holy Land Illustrated Bible,” visit CSBHolyLandIllustratedBible.com.
Aaron Earls is a writer for Lifeway Christian Resources.