Why geography?

27th April, 2009 - Posted by Claire Larsen - No Comments

What do you know about the geography of Palestine? Geography doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, knowing a few geographical facts can make Bible stories come alive.

For example, did you know that the Sea of Galilee is six hundred feet below sea level and is surrounded by hills?  These two factors make the sea prone to quick, violent storms — storms that surprise even experienced fishermen like Peter and Andrew. 

Here’s another interesting fact!  The city of Jerusalem sat high up between the eastern and western slopes of the Western Mountains. From Jerusalem a narrow road twisted and turned through the Judean wilderness and made a steep  three thousand feet descent to the city of Jericho. All along the way were caves and craggy outcroppings where bandits could wait for unsuspecting travlers. This dangerous road was the setting for Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan.

Two books that have been helpful to me in understanding the important connection between geography and the Biblical narrative are  the Holman Bible Atlas and The Illustrated Life of Jesus by Herschel Hobbs. I like these book because they tell the story along with the geographical information, they have many full-color illustrations and maps, and they have numerous insets that zero in on specific historical, geographical, or cultural subjects. I highly recommend them.

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