Resource Review: Photo Companion to the Bible – 1 Samuel

PCttB 1 Samuel Banner3

Todd Bolen is back with another excellent addition to his Photo Companion to the Bible Series.  In this latest release, he and his team have used their vast photo library to illustrate every chapter and verse of 1 Samuel.

For those who are not familiar with the Photo Companion to the Bible, check out this blog post, where I review their resource for The Gospels and show how I use it in my own teaching ministry.  There I conclude:

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.

As with each Photo Companion to the Bible, “1 Samuel” includes a broad selection of images, maps, and photos of sites, scenes and artifacts related to the time of Samuel, Saul and David.  This is all organized by chapter and verse, and presented in a PowerPoint-ready format.  And it comes with generous copyright permissions and free lifetime updates.

PCttB 1 Samuel Collage

Simply put, there is a ton of information!  Each chapter is illustrated by 50-230 photographs.  Each slide includes the verse, the reference, and the title and description of the photo.  For example, if you’ve ever wondered what a Philistine looked like, this collection includes a photo of the sign from Tell es-Safi (biblical Gath) which depicts two Philistine warriors.

PCttB 1 Samuel Philistines

The descriptions themselves contain a wealth of information for anyone who wishes to delve deeper into Scripture, whether it be for private study or to prepare to teach. Consider the following: 1 Samuel 4:1 reads, “And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines. They encamped at Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped at Aphek.”  If you’ve ever wondered where Aphek is, there’s a photo of the site, as well as this description:

Aphek-Turkish-fort-and-LB-Egyptian-fort-aerial-from-south-ws032715897The Late Bronze (circa 1500–1200 BC) settlement occupied only the acropolis and its immediate vicinity, and it seems to have consisted of only the Egyptian governor’s residence. “Instead of a spacious palace with courtyards, halls, and rooms, it was a public, fortress-like structure only about 400 sq m [4,300 sq ft]. Its walls were uniformly thick (1.4 m [4.6 ft]), and it had at least two stories. Its walls were built of stone up to 2 m [6.5 ft] in height, above which bricks were used. A paved ramp led to the building from the north toward a well-defended gate….The upper story was apparently residential. This was a typical fortified palace, similar to other Egyptian governors’ residences built at key locations in Canaan during the period of Egyptian rule (at Beth-Shean, Tell el-Far’ah [South], Tel Sera’, Tel Mor, and Deir el-Balah). The structure was destroyed in a violent conflagration; its debris rises to a height of 2 m [6.5 feet]. ‘Canaanite’ storage jars and a collared-rim pithos were found on the ground floor. Egyptian bowls were found in the debris of the second story” (Beck and Kochavi 1993: 68). Eleven written documents were also found—two Egyptian, one Hittite, two lexicons in cuneiform script, two administrative documents, two letters, and two fragments in Akkadian. No other Late Bronze buildings were found on the tell.


Beck, Pirhiya, and Kochavi, Moshe.

1993  Aphek. New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, vol. 1, ed. E. Stern. Jerusalem: Carta.

In all, you’ll get over 3000 images, available as an immediate digital download and followed by a DVD with free shipping.  Best of all, you can get it for the rest of this week (Aug. 24-28, 2020) for the introductory price of $49.  Click here to learn more about the Photo Companion to the Bible – 1 Samuel.  You can download some free sample photographs as well as the PowerPoint file for 1 Samuel 4, in order to get a better idea of what’s included in the Photo Companion to the Bible.  I highly recommend this resource!


Photo Credits: All of the images from the Photo Companion to the Bible – 1 Samuel were courtesy of

Full-Disclosure:  The views in this review are my own.  I was not asked to write it, nor was I paid to. I’ve been using the Photo Companion to the Bible – The Gospels for the past year or so as I’ve preached through the book of Luke in the church I pastor and am genuinely impressed with the quality of the photos and the scholarship behind the notes.   I want to help spread the word for others to be blessed by this resource.



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