The Kregel Bible Atlas

By Tim Dowley
Grand Rapids : Kregel (2003). 96 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Michael Grisanti
15.2 (Fall 2004) : 255-256

Dowley has added another volume to the biblical reference tools he has authored or edited. In the present volume he has provided his readers with a brief, colorful, and helpful atlas of Bible lands. The book begins with a brief table of contents and ends with an index (not exhaustive) of place names (3 ½ pages) and a general index (1 page). The main body consists of 88 pages: 55 for the O T, 6 for the Intertestamental period, and 27 for the NT. The written description is brief and clear. It contains no footnotes or references to any other resources. Informational maps and relevant pictures are interspersed throughout the book. Dowley also provides several helpful charts focusing on key features: e.g., economy, topography, vegetation, soils, rainfall, and temperature. Dowley provides several “narrative” maps similar to the Macmillan Bible Atlas in using numbers and arrows to summarize the flow of a given historical event. He also includes various artist depictions: e.g., the Tabernacle, an archer, the Ark of the Covenant, the Temple, and an Egyptian warrior.

In the midst of various helpful comments, maps, pictures, and charts, he has several questionable positions that do not detract from the overall value of the book, but that deserve mention. Continental division took place “millions” of years ago (8). Abraham left Ur sometime after 2000 B.C. (about 100-150 years after more conservative dating schemes). A late date for the Exodus is offered (20-21) and the crossing of the Red Sea took place at a northern marshy lake (unnamed) (21). Finally, the Gospels draw on Q (65).

On the one hand, this volume provides a concise and clear presentation of various details about Israel in the OT and NT. The maps, pictures, and charts included provide helpful visual aids for the student of the Bible. On the other hand, the brevity of the book limits the amount of information it can provide. Also, for a 96-page volume, the $21.99 price tag does not make it the most appealing book to purchase to serve as a Bible atlas for students of the Bible.