Background to the Bible is a companion to the popular Evidence for the Bible that was published in 2014.
That publication could not possibly cover all the evidence supporting the trustworthiness of the biblical record, and new discoveries are constantly coming to light in the vigorous and enlightening science of archaeology related to the Bible.
In Background to the Bible we have added new information to encourage an informed journey through the pages of the Bible.
For serious study or for relaxed and informative reading, Background to the Bible will prove invaluable to all who have an interest in understanding what lies behind and around the events recorded in the Bible, which is the world’s most influential and widely sold, distributed and translated book.
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This is a companion piece to the authors’ popular Evidence for the Bible. It is beautifully produced, with wonderful, even lavish, illustrative photography all the way through. I couldn’t put it down! The main text covers a wide range of interesting detail, from Egyptian burial procedures, through to the development and decline of chariots, and the coins and currency of various times. Generally the articles move chronologically with insights into ancient Egyptian culture, then the period of the kings of Israel, and on into the times of the Lord Jesus and the early church. Important archaeological issues are dealt with clearly and helpfully, and some of the photos include our authors in the field dressed in their best ‘exploration kit’. They include a fascinating appendix on ‘Pioneers of Archaeology’. There are also special articles on a wide range of matters, including insights into the ‘Seven Herods of the New Testament’, the phenomena of letters from early heretics, and the helpfulness of early writings from the apostolic period. The whole book encourages a strong confidence in the Bible, an insight into archaeological developments, and a fascinating ‘opening of the eyes’ into some obscure matters which may escape the Bible reader otherwise. It would make a terrific gift, and a precious addition to anyone’s personal library. Very warmly recommended.
This book is designed as ‘a companion to the popular Evidence for the Bible that was published in 2014’. It is indeed a valuable addition to any serious-minded Christian’s bookshelf and certainly whets the appetite for the mother book, published seven years earlier. Its authors are all men of experience, scholarly endeavour and evangelistic zeal; their profile pictures and mini-CVs are explained on the back cover.
Background to the Bible is beautifully produced and meticulously researched. The quality of the photography is impressive and its smorgasbord of topics will have something for everyone. It is to be dipped into frequently and contains many golden nuggets, from the false gods of Egypt to all manner of insights into the culture and times of David, stand-alone chapters on synagogues, weddings, calendars, clocks and much more.
A chapter that moved me particularly was ‘Paul - a prisoner’ (p. 116), in which a large sketch of a terrifying Roman flagellum is shown: “The stocks that clamped their feet were known to cause great pain in any movement; it was a form of torture normally reserved for the lowest in society. It was customary for a jailer to cram all his prisoners into the ‘inner cell’ at night for security. Their backs raw and bleeding, their feet painfully fastened in stocks, the total darkness of their cell, their gnawing hunger and thirst, and the constant rattle of chains when anyone moved - the response of Paul and Silas was to sing psalms!”
We know this from Scripture, but the visual display of the flagellum and powerful narrative brings it home, exalting the amazing work which God wrought through his faithful servants.
The strength of this marvellously-produced book is to balance such powerful narrative insights and descriptions with large and exquisite visual illustrations of all shapes and sizes. There must be about 400-500 illustrations packed into the 205 pages; two or three per page. They are all of interest; nothing is included gratuitously or for mere display. The final 25% of the book actually contains an ‘Appendix’ section which is every bit as useful as the other 75% of the book; in no sense dry or irrelevant. The nine appendices are informative and provide insights into the validity, importance and difficulty of archaeological digs, exact claims of chronology, the notorious problem of relics, fakes, fabrications, and other topics such as The seven Herods of the New Testament. Such complicated things are brought to life with photos, images, pictures, diagrams and illustrations.
Overall, a useful and pleasingly produced volume which is well-researched and accessible to Christians of all ages. I would strongly recommend buying both this and the original ‘Evidence for the Bible’, if you don’t already have it.