If you have even a passing interest in biblical archaeology, you’ve likely seen Todd Bolen’s work. Todd is the Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University, and a photographer who runs the website, BiblePlaces.com. His photos have appeared in various publications, including:
- Archaeological Study Bibles
- Bible and Spade Magazine
- Biblical Archaeology Review
- ESV Bible Atlas
- National Geographic’s The Letter and the Scroll
- The New Interpreters Diction of the Bible
- Zondervan Illustrated Bible Background Commentar
I have appreciated the work of the BiblePlaces team for many years. As a pastor and Bible teacher, I like to highlight the historical context of each passage as well as how archaeology demonstrates the reliability of Scripture. I have always found the visual media at BiblePlaces.com to be a valuable resource in both preparing and presenting the truth of God’s Word.
The new Photo Companion to the Bible series is a welcome addition to the Bible teacher’s toolbox. It is a collection of digital photographs, that come as a Powerpoint file for each chapter, and visually illustrates the biblical text verse-by-verse. It features photographs of biblical sites, cultural scenes, and archaeological artifacts, along with descriptive captions and detailed markings that show the routes and important features in the images. Add to this a money-back guarantee, generous copyright permissions and a digital download as well as a cd and you have a great resource for anyone who teaches Scripture.
In this blog I’ll be reviewing the Photo Companion To the Bible – The Gospels. More than being a product review though, I want to show you how I’m using it to give you an idea of what an incredible asset it can be to your library.
We recently began a sermon series on the Gospel of Luke at my church. I’m finding the Photo Companion To the Bible – The Gospels to be a valuable resource as I prepare. Most of the preaching I do is exegetical (teaching a particular passage) as opposed to topical. Since this resource is organized verse-by-verse, it is easy for me to incorporate it into my study of the passage I’m preaching on. The photos help me picture the events described in Scripture, and the information in the note for each slide gives me a better understanding of the background to both the image and the biblical text. Here’s a screen capture that I’ve labeled so that you get an idea of what it’s like.
When I preach, I try to engage multiple senses, so I spend a lot of time crafting my sermon presentations to visually enhance my teaching. Each photo in the Photo Companion to the Bible comes in a Powerpoint file, which is the program I use when I preach. This makes it easy for me to insert the images I wish to use in my own sermon templates. For example, when I recently preached on Luke 1:1-4, I wanted to include the photo of the Theophilus inscription. Adding it to my sermon Powerpoint was as easy as copy and paste. Here’s how it looked:
One of the common responses to my sermons and archaeology presentations is, “Thank you for the time you put into your slide show – those pictures were so helpful.” People regularly tell me how much they enhance their understanding of the passage or topic. They often ask me where I get all of the pictures I use. Because I try to be careful about copyrights and proper attribution, I have tended to use pictures from places like Wikimedia Commons and FreeBibleImages.org in the past. This takes a lot of time and sifting. The Photo Companion to the Bible series saves me time and effort, as the team at BiblePlaces.com has done the hard work. Plus, permission has been granted to use the images in a wide variety of settings, including: face-to-face teaching, video-recorded sermons, class notes, church newsletters, and like contexts
In the Photo Companion to the Bible – The Gospels you’ll get more than 10,000 stunning photos that illustrate the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It’s all in one place; no more scouring the internet looking for free images. It is a time-saver and a game-changer. Simply put, if you’re a pastor, professor, or Bible teacher, the Photo Companion to the Bible series is an indispensable resource that will enrich your studies and enhance teaching. Even those who wish to privately study the Scriptures in greater depth will benefit. It is a rich visual blend of biblical geography, history, and archaeology that is unparalleled in its scope, unrivaled in its beauty, and organized with simplicity.
Currently one can purchase the Photo Companion to the Bible for the following books: Ruth, Esther, Daniel, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts. The team at BiblePlaces.com also hopes to release Joshua, Judges, and Romans in the near future.
You can learn more about the Photo Companion to the Bible – The Gospels here: https://www.bibleplaces.com/gospels-photo-companion-to-the-bible/ Right now, the entire Gospels set is on sale for $169 (the regular price is $299), or you can purchase the individual books for $89-99 each. If you’d like to try-before-you-buy, you can even download a free copy of the Powerpoint presentations for Matthew 4 and John 2.
One final note, I HIGHLY recommend Todd Bolen’s Bible Places blog – https://blog.bibleplaces.com/. It is a must read each weekend to stay up-to-date on the happenings in the world of biblical archaeology.
Photo Credits: All of the images from the Photo Companion to the Bible – The Gospels were courtesy of BiblePlaces.com
Full-Disclosure: Todd sent me a copy of the Photo Companion to the Bible – the Gospels as a gift to bless my teaching ministry. He did not ask me to write a review, nor did he tell me what to say. Having used it to prepare sermons on the Gospel of Luke, I’ve been so impressed with the product that I wanted to tell others about it.