Effective teachers are usually aware of visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learning styles and incorporate that into their presentation for the benefit of their students. Using a Bible atlas or Bible maps provides an excellent aid to gaining more insight from the Bible and help to bring it to life. Here are some useful applications which highlight that the Bible speaks of real people, places and events.
People and Places
The Bible contains long lists of genealogies. Today, when we walk into a bookstore it isn’t uncommon to find half a dozen magazines on the subject of our ancestry. Our ancestry is linked with our sense of identity and Scripture gives us a panorama of the geography, history and details of the individuals mentioned. This also serves to reinforce the reality that all of the Bible is inspired and profitable; and our need to become fully acquainted with it in every sense.
If we look at the nations descended from Noah in Genesis 10, many Bibles have the corresponding map showing the descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth. It also provides some of their current names to help bring it up to date. Without that aid or something similar, it is incredibly difficult to make sense of their location.
Maps are a valuable tool to encourage us to consider the context of the surrounding environment, not just geographically but also historically; and to identify with what the text is saying in context before applying that truth today.
Using a Bible Atlas
There are a number of Bible atlases available which cater for elementary through to more in-depth levels of study. For example if you are reading through Scripture from cover to cover, ‘The SPCK Bible Atlas’ is a great accompanying tool and will take you from Genesis to Revelation paying particular attention to events, people and places. The preceding section explains how civilization developed in Bible Lands and the appendix provides lists of rulers and family trees.
For an in depth scholarly study atlas that is comprehensive concerning the historical and archaeological context of the Bible, which includes valuable contributions regarding the Inter-testamental Period plus the Early Church until to the start of the fourth century, ‘The Carta Bible Atlas’ is excellent.
Visiting Biblical Sites
Maps and atlases are even more useful when employed for their intended purpose! To be able to visit Israel and see Jerusalem, the Galilee Region, Mount Carmel or the River Jordan with both old and modern maps and to see the ancient remains of key archaeological findings is massively encouraging and bolsters one’s faith. To gain familiarity with the places of the recorded events in Bible Lands and where possible, to view the sites and examine the evidence is an intensely worthwhile and satisfying experience.
Most essentially, some people have had life transforming experiences whilst travelling to Biblical sites. They have come to recognise that the Bible is true and that the Creator knows the end from the beginning and that He knows all of us personally, in addition to the characters described in the Bible. They have turned to the Creator, the Lord Almighty and believed in Him, and they are trusting and following Him.