Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts, Third Edition is the first book of this kind I have reviewed. The maps and charts are very well done and make this a very useful and worthy addition to any study library. My only criticism is that the inclusion of commentary that already exists in a decent study bible detracts from the maps, charts, and tabular information that make the book really shine.
The book is paperback, which at 470 pages marvelous. The maps and charts are available as free downloads on the Thomas Nelson site (www.thomasnelson.com/MapsAndCharts), another useful feature. Its chapters are divided into the books of the bible. The Table Of Contents makes the useful distinctions of dividing the Old Testament into the Pentateuch, Historical Books, Wisdom Literature, Prophetic Books, and adding the Intertestament Period. The New Testament is also usefully divided into The Four Gospels, The Epistles of Paul, The General Epistles, and Revelation. The book ends with indexes to information.
The maps and charts are well researched and beautifully presented. In the New Testament maps are presented in the early chapters, with the majority of the chapters including only charts and timelines—this seems appropriate, though I would have appreciated a small map at the beginning of each chapter as a reminder. The book of Revelation does have a complete and useful map. Regardless my personal preference for more maps throughout, all maps and charts should prove very useful to anyone who studies or teaches the bible outside a seminary classroom.
Each chapter begins with commentary (which could easily and ought to be omitted – it’s copied from the chapter outline of most every study bible). Then the book begins to really shine: it’s “at a glance” and “when the events” tables, and book outline begin every chapter, then additional maps and tables illustrate what’s been outlined. This material is very thoughtfully presented and makes the book a really-good-to-have addition to a study library.
Again, my only criticism of the work is that the initial commentary—author, date, and themes and literary structure—for each chapter ought to be omitted as unnecessary.