Skip to content ↓

The ESV Bible Atlas

Book Reviews Collection cover image

A few weeks ago I received an ESV Bible Atlas, a brand new product from Crossway. I had meant to review it, but for some reason found it difficult to do so. The reason may be that I’ve never spent any significant amount of time reading a Bible atlas before and this means that I’ve got little reference for comparison. Of course I know that such an atlas is a valuable companion to anyone seeking to study the Bible, and especially the Old Testament.

So let me tell you about some of the features of this atlas, all of which are plenty impressive, even if I don’t know how they stack-up against the competition. According to the publisher’s description:

Capitalizing on recent advances in satellite imaging and geographic information systems, the Crossway ESV Bible Atlas offers Bible readers a comprehensive, up-to-date resource that blends technical sophistication with readability, visual appeal, and historical and biblical accuracy.

All the key methods of presenting Bible geography and history are here, including more than 175 full-color maps, 70 photographs, 3-D re-creations of biblical objects and sites, indexes, timelines, and 65,000 words of narrative description. The atlas uniquely features regional maps detailing biblically significant areas such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, Italy, and Greece. It also includes a CD with searchable indexes and digital maps, and a removable, 16.5 x 22-inch map of Palestine.

This carefully crafted reference tool not only sets a new standard in Bible atlases but will help ESV readers more clearly understand the world of the Bible and the meaning of Scripture.

The Atlas contains:

  • 175 full-color maps
  • 70 full-color photographs
  • 3-D re-creations of biblical objects and sites
  • Indexes
  • Timelines
  • 65,000 words of narrative description

Let me say a word about its structure. Part 1 contains an introduction and overview to the biblical world; Part 2 takes a look at the historical geography of the biblical world, which is to say that it looks at the Bible from one historical era to the next; Part 3 turns to the regional geography of the biblical world and looks to the biblical lands region by region; and Part 4 contains appendixes, indexes and timelines. When I think of an atlas I think of book that contains only maps. Simple, right? This atlas contains far more than that. It weighs in at 350 pages and is jam-packed with information.

Already I’ve found the Atlas useful in family devotions. We have been reading 2 Samuel and have found a few occasions to look up maps, buildings or diagrams. It would have been very useful when we were in Exodus, reading about the Ark and Tabernacle. I also anticipate that it will come in handy as I study the Old Testament on my own; it is always difficult to keep separate in my mind all the regions, nations and cities and I know that Atlas will help with all of these things.

Overall, the ESV Bible Atlas seems to be a very valuable reference and one that will benefit any individual or family. But don’t just take my word for it. Here is what Wayne Grudem says (and you know he is far more qualified to pass judgment than I am): “A remarkably beautiful and rich resource for historical, geographical, and archaeological background material that will deepen our understanding of each section of the Bible and increase our appreciation of the Bible’s amazing historical accuracy.”


  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (July 13)

    A La Carte: Folly has a strategic plan to get you / The power of a health warning / Sex is not a solution to marital tension / What do you do when your suffering is your fault? / We can’t think or live Christianly / Good news for African girls / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (TMAI)

    This week’s Free Stuff Fridays is sponsored by The Master’s Academy International (TMAI). They are giving away the 42-volume Essential MacArthur Library set. The Master’s Academy International (TMAI) is a worldwide network of pastoral training centers that equip indigenous church leaders to preach the word and shepherd their people. They have 19 Training Centers around…

  • The Danger and Necessity of a Passion for Church Growth

    The Danger and Necessity of a Passion for Church Growth

    Quite a long time has passed since we witnessed the unexpected rise of a new kind of Calvinism. Few had anticipated that in the twenty-first century, so many millions of people spanning a host of nations and traditions would find themselves affirming such old and controversial doctrines. Yet many did so because they were wary…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (July 12)

    A La Carte: John Piper on repetitive worship songs / Jen Wilkin says not to fear the marks in Revelation / Carl Trueman’s hope beyond politics in Europe / Bruce Ware on angels and free will / Samuel Davies’ tragic children / Book deals / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (July 11)

    A La Carte: The Disney princess whose heart isn’t worth following / Words of mercy and grace when we disagree / Ten reasons why the Bible is the greatest of great books / Why balance is bad for pastors / The earliest record of Jesus’s childhood / and more.

  • Cognitive Decline and Common Faults

    Cognitive Decline and Common Faults

    When visiting a far-off church, I met a man who, with sadness, told me about his father’s final sermon. A lifelong pastor and preacher, his father had withdrawn from full-time ministry several years prior, but still preached from time to time. On this Sunday he took to the pulpit, read his text, and gave his…