Having the opportunity to review Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary excited me.
Over 1,000 pages.
Big, hardcover book.
Fairly large type.
Gorgeous photos and diagrams and illustrations.
Seriously, I love this.
From the publisher:
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary is the most comprehensive and up-to-date Bible dictionary available. With a fresh new look and updated photographs, this new and enhanced edition is a wealth of basic study information with more than 7,000 entries plus more than 500 full-color photographs, maps, and pronunciation guides.
- Cross-references to major translations
- More than 7,000 up-to-date entries
- More than 500 full-color photographs and maps
- Enlarged type size for easier reading
- Visual Survey of the Bible from The Open Bible
I love, love, love the photos. There are historical photos, photos of what places look like today, photos of archaeological artifacts, etc.
My kids love the images, but I confess that I do too. Flipping through, a ruin like this one (the ruin of a temple dedicated to Athena) catch my eye, and before I know it, I'm reading about the Greeks, and flipping back to see what they have in here about Athena. Nothing. But there is a great article about Athens, that includes another photo, a close-up, of The Porch of the Maidens (the statues at the right side in this photo).
Or this page, showing an artifact, and the traditional site of the tomb of Lazarus, and before I know it, I'm reading about Lazarus, and then resurrection, and...
Another aspect of this dictionary are the drawings and maps. Like this one, giving info on Saul's Final Battle.
Not only is there the map, but diagrams that give me a feel for the terrain and what really happened.
All of the books of the Bible have an entry, including a study/teaching outline, like this one for Matthew:
In the introductory materials, they have information about using this dictionary to study a single book. Start by reading the book/passage. I chose Philippians, paying attention to names, places, ideas, etc. Then read the entry for that book of the Bible. Philippians is a pretty short book (which is why I chose it!) and the entry in this dictionary is only about a page and a half.
Then go through again, reading the dictionary entries for those key words, names, etc. that you encountered. And they recommend following up with the “see also” mentions.
For Philippians, I read the entry for Philippi, which includes a great photo of the agora (marketplace) and ruins of a pagan temple. That article referenced a couple Bible passages outside of Philippians (Acts 20:16 and 1 Thessalonians 2:2) where the city is mentioned.
One rabbit trail I followed was to read about suffering (Philippians 1:27-30, Philippians 3:10). Of course, in looking at suffering, I also noticed the entry on sun worship, and my rabbit trail got totally off the topic introduced in Philippians.
That isn’t a bad thing, I don’t think.
So my bottom line is that this is a gorgeous book, already getting lots of use in my household.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. 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: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”