Most of us give Christmas gifts that are quickly forgotten. After the iPhone gets cracked, or the DVD gets watched, or the sweater gets snagged, they all end up at the landfill. This year, why not give a gift (or ask for one) that will last a lifetime?
(Photo: by Carsten Tolkmit. Flickr. CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Bible Lands study tools make great gifts because they take your personal Bible study to the next level. What’s more, they don’t wear out.
Here are my top 5 recommendations this year for gifts you’ll enjoy giving (and receiving).
1. Pictorial Library of Bible Lands (Also a Great Gift for Your Pastor!)
Even though I’ve been to the Holy Land many times, I’ll never see all of it. One resource will show you more than any other.
All together, the 18-Volume Expanded Edition of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands includes more than 17,500 High Definition photographs from 9 countries in the ancient Mediterranean world.
My recommendation for starters? Get the “Israel Collection.” It includes volumes 1-5:
- There are more than 1500 photos of Jerusalem.
- More than 1500 photos of Judah and the Dead Sea area.
- More than 2300 photos of the areas of Galilee and Samaria.
These are more than just High-Resolution pictures from the Holy Land. Special care has been taken to photograph biblical sites.
Nothing else rivals the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands. If a picture paints a thousand words, then thousands of high-resolution pictures are even better. I use these images constantly on my blog, and I have used them for years in my teaching and personal Bible study.
You can read more about this one-of-a-kind resource as well as how to order the collection or individual volumes.
2. Zondervan Atlas of the Bible
The most basic resource for personal Bible study in Bible lands is a good Bible atlas. Good atlases provide more than maps; they teach the importance of geography as it relates to history, archaeology, topography, climate, and soils.
Although there are several outstanding atlases are available today. I recommend the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible by Carl Rasmussen. This was the first atlas I read, and I still use it often. Dr. Rasmussen is a conservative Christian scholar who has taught in Israel for years, and his writing is trustworthy.
I list several other good atlases in my recommended resources page.
3. NIV Archaeological Study Bible: An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture
It took me two years to read this Bible because I purposed to read ALL of its great content. I also bought the Kindle Edition.
In addition to the Scripture itself, The Archaeological Study Bible includes:
- More than 8,000 bottom-of-the-page study notes that highlight historical, archaeological, or cultural topics
- More than 500 articles covering topics from ancient texts to biblical reliability
- 500 full-color photographs interspersed within articles throughout
- Detailed book introductions including basic, at-a-glance timelines and outlines
- Detailed charts on pertinent topics
- Citations/quotations offering perspectives in the direct words of “the ancients”
- Additional features: Concordance, cross-references, subject and feature indexes, color maps, and words of Christ in red
- Bonus CD-ROM: NIV text, photographs, maps, and charts included in the Bible
- Full-color interior throughout
Download a sample chapter (all of Genesis!) and you’ll see why The Archaeological Study Bible would make an excellent gift.
4. Devotional Books about Bible Lands
Sometimes its tough to make the connection between the lands of the Bible and our lives. A good devotional book will bridge that gap. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many.
There are several that I list on my recommended resources page. Here are the cherry-picks:
5. Give a Journey to the Holy Land!
Why not surprise your spouse, a friend, or your pastor with a trip to the Holy Land? I’d love to have you join me on an upcoming tour!
(Photo: Teaching about the Second Coming on the Mount of Olives)
On this tour, I will help you connect the Bible and its sites to your life.
- You will learn the Word of God right where it happened—with Bible in hand. After seeing where biblical events occurred, you will never read your Bible the same way again!
- We’ll travel the land in a climate-controlled deluxe motor coach.
- We have reserved rooms in some of Israel’s finest hotels. And the food? Delicious. (It’s a good thing we’ll be walking a lot each day!)
Make your gifts this year last a lifetime! Give the gift of a great Bible Lands study tool.