Along the Road: How Jesus Used Geography to Tell God’s Story, by John A. Beck. Discovery House, 2018. 190 pp. $14.99 paperback, $9.99 Kindle.
I am always pleased to find a new publication by my colleague and good friend, John (“Jack”) Beck, who serves on the adjunct faculty of the Jerusalem University College. John has traveled extensively in the land of Israel and has a passion to make the message of the Bible more understandable to Christians by explaining how the geography, culture and climate of the biblical world impacts the biblical message. He is well known for his previous publications on biblical geography, including the Discovery House Bible Atlas (Discovery House, 2015), which takes readers on a geographical journey from Genesis to Revelation. His most recent work, Along the Road, focuses on Jesus and the Gospel story.
Drawing on his rich experience of leading groups through the land of Israel, John invites readers to join him on a virtual “walk” along the routes and to the places where Jesus traveled with His disciples. In his first chapter, “Organizing the Bible Like a Walker,” John encourages readers of Scripture to (1) acknowledge that all the Bible stories have a physical setting that aids in our comprehension, (2) actively look for clues within the Bible passage that indicates where the events or teaching occurs, and (3) look for other stories or elements of the biblical narrative that share these spaces. He invites readers to consider the possibility that geographically linked passages may build on one another and may share a biblical theme.
The book is structured into five parts: (1) Jesus, Geography and Old Testament Prophecy, (2) Jesus, Geography, and Substitution, (3) Jesus, Geography, and Pagan Land Claims, (4) Jesus, Geography, and Divine Titles, (5) Jesus, Geography, and Our Mission. In each section, John leads readers to biblical sites, discussing their geographical significance and illuminating the biblical message. Each section concludes with reflection and discussion questions.
The material of this book is accompanied by a seven-part video series filmed on location in Israel. The video series, entitled Along the Road, is sold separately as a DVD. While the book and the video series are “stand alone” resources, they were written and produced to interact with one another. The book and the video series provide a rich resource for individuals or Bible study groups who would like to “walk” with a seasoned guide through the landscape of the Gospels.