There aren’t too many books that I would consider to be “must have.” In fact, from a biblical perspective your are supposed to have exactly what God has provided for you. However, The ESV Bible Atlas is about as close to “must have” as you can get without coveting. In my opinion this newly released Bible atlas has set the standard for bible atlases just like the ESV Study Bible has set the new standard for study bibles.
You may be thinking that you wouldn’t get much use out of an atlas, however this resources is valuable for a number of different applications. Here are just a few of the uses you can get from this resource:
- First of all, it provides a wealth of background information on various topics pertinent to bible study.
- Secondly, the narrative of the atlas provides a brief biblical history that is helpful for setting specific bible passages within a historical theme.
- Third, the pictures are amazing! I have never been to Israel so I say this from a inadequate vantage point, but this is the closest you can come to seeing the terrain of the Holy Land without leaving your home.
- Fourth, the maps are extremely helpful. Because of the quality and size of the maps it makes it much easier to use. I used it this week as I was trying to work through the North Galatia vs. South Galatia controversy.
- Fifth, the illustrations make abstract passages vivid. Some of the same illustrations found in the ESV Study bible are in this atlas—the only difference is that they are larger and on heavier paper.
- Six, the indexes provided are remarkably thorough and allow you to find map/illustrations/info that pertains to whatever passage/topic you are studying.
- Finally, when you purchase a hard copy of the atlas you are also provided with a CD containing the files of pictures/maps/illustrations. In other words, what you see in the book you can have for your own use.
For these reasons and more the ESV Bible Atlas has a prominent place on my self. It does what bible atlases have done in the past, but it does it better.