Logos Free Book of the Month for April 2020 – N. T. Wright, Faith Working Through Love

Faith Working Through Love by N.T. Wright (1 hour course)Rather than a free book for the Logos Bible Software, this month Faithlife is giving away a one-hour Mobile Course on Faith Working Through Love by N. T. Wright.

If you have not experienced a Faithlife course, this is a good chance to see what a Faithlife Mobile Learning course looks like. When you download the course, you will get a document with a syllabus, course outcomes and course outline.

For an hour course, you will get about an hour of video lecture (for the nine-hour course, you get about nine hours of lecture). The videos for this course are broken into nine sections, each main session is about ten minutes (as short as 7 minutes, as long as 13 minutes). Wright has a short intro to the show course and four of the videos are simply Wright reading the key Scripture for the session.

There are a few questions and a quiz for each session.The questions are entitled “process ideas and probing questions” (essay questions, reflection questions) and can be answered right in the mobile course in Logos. The self-quizzes are brief, all true/false or multiple-choice.

The outline for the free course is:

  1. Session One: The Transformative Power of the Gospel for Faithful Living
  2. Session Two: Modeling Faithfulness in the World (Philippians)
  3. Session Three: The Transformative Power of Worship for Faithful Living (Romans 12)
  4. Session Four: Modeling Faithfulness in the Church (2 Thessalonians 3:6–13)

Here is the Faithlife blurb for the free course:

Discover how Biblical wisdom can help you find meaning in your work. We are all engaged in some kind of work, whether it comes with a paycheck or not. Regardless of the kind of work you do, from bussing tables, to taking care of your home and family, to managing a business, chances are you want to find meaning in your endeavors. In this intriguing course, Professor N.T. Wright examines a series of Biblical texts that discuss how Christians should consider the work they do. As you’re guided through Old and New Testament teachings, you’ll discover concrete actions you can take to live out the fullness of being in the image of God, and become an agent for positive change in a broken society.

In addition to the free course, Faithlife is offering Wright’s hour lecture on The Lord’s Prayer for $9.99 (50% off), Paul and His Letter to the Philippians for $19.99 (83% off, 4.5 hours) and The Acts of the Apostles for $34.99 (88% off, 9 hour course).

The monthly giveaway is N. T. Wright themed as well. There are several ways to enter to win The N. T. Wright Collection (51 vols., a $689.99 value).

These valuable resources are only free (or almost free) through April 30, 2020.

Logos Free Book of the Month for March 2020 – Lexham Research Commentary: Genesis 1-11

For the month of March Logos is giving away the Lexham Research Commentary on Genesis 1-11 (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012). What is a “research commentary”? This resource is edited by Miles Custis, Douglas Mangum, and Wendy Widder as a way of bringing all the resources of the Logos Library into a commentary-like format. The guides are a research tool presenting a wide range of interpretive issues raised by Bible scholars. The idea of these Research Commentaries is similar To Allan Ross’s Creation and Blessing, a commentary on Genesis which often pointed out what a pastor or teacher needs to sort out before actually teaching the text.

The editors of the series explain in the preface to the Genesis 1-11 volume:

Each volume in the series links to standard scholarly works on the Bible. The authors of the Lexham Research Commentaries have made no attempt to identify where particular interpretations fall along the theological or denominational spectrum. This is a mark of the diversity of biblical interpretation, not a mark of implicit endorsement by the guides’ authors. Interpreters from different theological perspectives often have conflicting views on the same texts. As you encounter these views, we urge you to keep the biblical text itself central to your study.

How does this differ from running the Logos Bible Study or Word Study tools? The topics and resources are curated and annotated by the editors of the volume. After an introduction to the section of Genesis, the editors select a series of issues every interpret must struggle with and come to some conclusion in their teaching. For Genesis 1, the issues include

  • The Genre of Genesis 1
  • Worldview of Genesis
  • Days of Creation
  • Culture Wars over Creation
  • Creation from Nothing
  • The Image of God
  • The Sabbath
  • Key Word Study: Bereshith, “In the Beginning”
  • Key Word Study: Tohu wabohu, “Formless and Void”
  • Background Studies: Ancient Near Eastern Creation Stories

Just one or two examples: For the Image of God, after a short paragraph describing what the problem is and offering several options, there are links to the article “Image of God” in the Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch, a link to Claus Westermann, Continental Commentary Series commentary Genesis 1–11, specifically his “Excursus: The History of the Exegesis of Genesis 1:26–27.” and Gordon Wenham’s discussion of “‘Image’ and ‘Likeness’ ” in his Word Biblical Commentary on Genesis 1–15. On the word Bereshith, there are links to Kenneth Mathews, Excursus on translating 1:1–2 in his New American Commentary on Genesis 1–11:26, Victor Hamilton;s New International Commentary on the Old Testament on Genesis 1–17, and Wenham’s Word commentary. These linked resources are often Bible Dictionaries or theological lexicons.

For more controversial topics, such as the Days of Creation, the editors offer more annotations. Here are the six resources suggested by the Lexham Research Commentary:

  • Robert Gurney offers a defense of the young earth creationist interpretation, taking the days of creation as six literal 24-hour days. “Does It Matter?” Six Day Creation: Does It Matter What You Believe?
  • Victor Hamilton’s commentary carefully explains the three major interpretive options: the literal 24-hour day, the day-age theory, and the literary framework theory. Hamilton’s preference is a literary reading of Gen 1 with an analogical understanding of the days of creation. “The ‘Days’ of Genesis 1” The New International Commentary on the Old Testament: The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–17
  • R. Kent Hughes lists six different possible interpretations of the days of creation. He admits only one can be correct but cautions against letting the issue become a point of division among believers. He argues for the analogical view—that the days are God’s workdays, which are analogous with earth days but not necessarily the same as literal 24-hour days. “Genesis 1:3–13” Preaching the Word: Genesis—Beginning and Blessing
  • John Lennox has an old earth creationist perspective but discusses the options for understanding the days of creation as literal 24-hour days, as undefined lengths of time (day-age), or as a literary framework. His conclusion is a form of the punctuated activity view, in which long spans of time separate the literal 24-hour days of creation. “But Is It Old? The Days of Creation” Seven Days that Divide the World: The Beginning according to Genesis and Science
  • Hugh Ross believes in an old earth and that “days” represent ages or epochs of time. He explains how this view is not incompatible with Genesis. “Introduction: The Dawn of a New Day” A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy
  • John Walton accepts that the days of creation could be 24-hour days, but he argues that God is creating functions not matter during the week of creation. By the end of the week, He takes up residence in His cosmic temple. “Gen 1:1–31” The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis

Each unit is introduced with a comment on the structure (an outline), the place of the section in the book of Genesis and the place in the canon, and a very helpful “starting point.” This last item is a way to introduce the key issues for understanding the section.

All of the links in this resource are marked with either an open book or a padlock. Open books mean you have purchased the linked resource, locks mean you have not. This is my main criticism of the Lexham Research Commentaries: they are essentially guides to helping you spend more money in the Logos store. If you only have a few resources in your library, then the links will all be locked. People with larger libraries will find these resources more useful. I also wonder if the editors were limited in their resource annotations to only resources licensed through the Logos library? Are there are other articles, books and commentaries which would have been very helpful for the issue at hand which were omitted simply because Logos does not sell it?

Nevertheless, the commentary is provided in the Genesis 1-15 volume is in fact a good introduction to controversial topics and interpretive conundrums and the resources provided are available in any Christian University or Seminary library.

You can add the Jonah commentary for $4,99 and the First Peter commentary for another $9.99. As is often the case, Logos is running a giveaway with several ways to enter to win all 20 volumes of the Lexham Research Commentaries.

These valuable resources are only free (or almost free) through March 31, 2020.

More Free Historic Commentaries from Logos

In addition to the regular free book of the month (Jaroslav Pelikan’s Acts commentary in the Brazos Theological commentary series) Logos is offering three historic commentaries on Matthew. For free, you can add Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea: Commentary on the Four Gospels, Collected out of the Works of the Fathers, Volume 1: St. Matthew (J. H. Parker, 1841). This is only the first volume of the eight volume set, available here for $24.95 (although you might have additional discounts available). Hint: Get the free volume before buying the set.

Also on offer is Jerome’s commentary on Matthew in the Fathers of the Church Patristic Series by Catholic University Press. The paperback of this volume is $45 on Amazon; Logos has it for $7.99 through the end of December. Back in July Logos offered three other volumes of this massive series as their free/cheap book of the month.

For $8.99 you can add Hilary of Poitiers, Commentary on Matthew in the same series. This 2012 translation by D. H. Williams is the first time the commentary has appeared in English.

Both volumes are part of the Latin Fathers of the Nicene Era (25 vols.) collection. Be sure to take the free volume before buying the full set.

Don’t forget Logos has a nice collection of resources on sale through the end of the month on a “secret” sale.  If you do not have Logos yet,  get the free basic version so you can take advantage of these free (or cheap) books of the month or the other sale resources. Use the coupon code READINGACTS8 at checkout and save a bit of money.

Logos Black Friday Sale 2019

Here in American it is “Black Friday,” the semi-official start of the Christmas shopping season. The day is celebrated with deep discounts at major retailers, general public madness and riots among shoppers trying to save 10% on a new 64-inch TV. It is much like a zombie movie with enormous credit card debt. I ventured out into the world only once on Black Friday, and it was terrible. Despite a great deal on a dishwasher my wife wanted, I was left with an extreme loathing for the human race.

Logos Bible Software SaleIf you are like me, Black Friday is a good excuse to stay and home and read a good book. But the retailers are on to people like me, my inbox is stuffed with invitations to online sales and “cyber Monday” deals. It seems like any retailer I have made eye-contact with over the last twenty years has sent some sort of deal over the last few days. (For those who do not know, Cyber-Monday is a made up holiday from online retailers to compete with the made up holiday Black Friday.)

Like almost every other online retailer, Logos Bible Software has a great Black Friday sale.

You can spend very little and get some great resources for your Logos Library. There are some great discounts on individual volumes, such as The New Perspective on Paul: An Introduction by Kent L. Yinger (only $4.99) or Approaches to Paul by Magnus Zetterholm (only $5.14). Thomas R. Schreiner’s new 1 Corinthians commentary in the Tyndale New Testament series is only $7.99 (read my review of this commentary here).

There are several Mobile Ed Courses on sale as well. If you have not sampled any of these yet, now is your chance. Among the deeply discounted courses is Jonathan Pennington on The Gospels as Ancient Biography and Josh Jipp on Hospitality in the New Testament.

But you can also make a major investment over this weekend, the entire Interpretation Bible Commentary series is 70% off. There is a 46-volume Old Testament Bundle and a 57-volume New Testament Bundle from Baker books. I picked up the Studies in Jesus and the Gospels bundle from T&T Clark, Sheffield Academic Press (23 vols., 82% off). I already had a few of these volumes so the price for the full package only included the books I did not already own (Logos calls this “dynamic pricing”). Logos is also happy to work out a monthly payment plan so you do not have to skip feeding your family to buy all the books you want.

This “black Friday” sale runs through December 2 (12:00 a.m. PST). So head on over tot he Logos Black Friday Deals Page and load up on discounted books.

If you have not already picked up the Logos Free Book of the Month for November, be sure to get a free copy of the excellent commentary on Mark’s Gospel by R. T. France in the New International Greek Text Commentary (Eerdmans, 2002). I have been tracking these “free book of the month” promotions for several years and this is by far the best one yet.  Logos users who do not already own these resources should get them immediately! When I did a top five commentaries on Mark post a few years ago, France’s NIGTC was first on my list.

For $4.99 you can add James Dunn’s Colossians and Philemon in the NIGTC (see my Top Five Commentaries on Colossians). And for $9.99 add Anthony Thiselton’s excellent commentary on 1 Corinthians in the same series. This volume was my first choice for my Top Five Commentaries on 1 Corinthians. These great deals on the New International Greek Text Commentary expire on November 30, 2019.

Logos Bible Software 8 is a significant upgrade to this powerful Bible study system. I did a “first look” review of Logos 8 here. The software runs much more efficiently than the previous version, that alone is worth the upgrade. Everything seems to run faster than Logos 7 and the upgrade is well worth considering. As always, there are less expensive paths to upgrading that will keep you from mortgaging your home. At the very least, download the free Logos Basic or the $89 Logos 8 Fundamentals (currently on sale for 10% with some free book choices). With either minimal package you can download and use the free book every month and build your Logos library.

Logos Free Book of the Month for November 2019 – R. T. France, The Gospel of Mark (The New International Greek Testament Commentary)

During the month of November, Logos Bible Software is giving away a volume in of the best commentaries series available, R. T. France’s excellent commentary on Mark in the New International Greek Text Commentary (Eerdmans,2002).I have been tracking these “free book of the month” promotions for several years and this is by far the best one yet.  Logos users who do not already own these resources should get them immediately!

When I did a top five commentaries on Mark post a few years ago, France’s NIGTC was first on my list.

As with all the writers in the NIGTC series, France is an expert on the Greek text of Mark. The commentary has less background material that Evans, but is rich in exegetical detail. That is not to say that France is ignorant of the Hebrew Bible or other Second Temple Period literature, but only that his main interest is the Greek words in the context of Mark.

For $4.99 you can add James Dunn’s Colossians and Philemon in the NIGTC. In my Top Five Commentaries on Colossians I said:

Based on the theology of the book, Dunn thinks that the book was not written by Paul, even if it is “Pauline.” The issue of authorship is not as critical an issue as for other books, Dunn refers to the writer as Paul despite expressing doubts that he was the actual author. He is warm to the possibility that the book was written from a hypothetical Ephesian imprisonment, but cannot state this (or any alternative view) with certainty. The opponents addressed by the letter are from the local Jewish synagogue. As Dunn says, to call this a “heresy” is “quite inappropriate” since the “competing philosophy” does not come from within the church. The body of the commentary is based wholly on the Greek text, with detailed lexical and syntactical comments. Dunn is well-versed in Second Temple Period Jewish literature as well as Greco-Roman works and integrates this material into his commentary well. In particular, material from the Dead Sea Scrolls is used to illustrate the “Jewishness” of Paul’s opponents.

For $9.99 add Anthony Thiselton’s excellent commentary on 1 Corinthians in the same series. This volume was my first choice for my Top Five Commentaries on 1 Corinthians:

Like most of the NIGTC series, Thiselton’s commentary is magisterial. At over 1400 pages, the commentary contains highly detailed exegesis and theological interest. Thiselton also includes what he calls a “posthistory reception” of the text. He draws on the apostolic fathers, patristic, medieval, Reformation, and modern eras and briefly summarizes how each age has read the text of 1 Corinthians. These are interesting, although they go beyond what is typically included in a commentary.  Eerdmans also published A Shorter Exegetical and Pastoral Commentary version of this commentary which should be sufficient for most pastors.

These three commentaries would cost over $200 in hardback and are rarely available used. But Logos is offering them for a mere $15. Although I prefer a real book, reading the commentaries in Logos is extremely convenient since all of the tools of the Logos Bible Software are available. This includes searching within the book, clicking Greek and Hebrew words to open your preferred lexicons, hovering over abbreviations for a definition, clicking on cited resources to open in Logos, and advanced highlighting and note-taking tools Logos books come with real page numbers, any text you copy/paste into Word will appear with a proper citation in your style preference (Chicago, MLA, APA, etc.)

As usual, Logos has a giveaway at the bottom of the free book page. This month hey are giving away a set of ten volumes in the Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Series. This includes Ben Witherington’s Acts commentary, one of my favorite commentaries ever. There are several ways to enter the contest, so enter early and enter often.

These valuable resources are only free (or almost free) through November 30, 2019.

Save Up to 40% on John Walton Resources for Logos

Logos has been running an Author Spotlight special the last few months. For August 2019 John Walton’s books and Mobile Ed courses are up to 40% off. This means you can add the “Lost World” series for 30% (about $10 per volume). This sale includes books Walton edited, such as the Zondervan Counterpoints book, Four Views on the Historical Adam and the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary volumes (the whole set is $139.99, or get individual volumes). These are good (although brief) commentaries focusing on cultural and historical backgrounds and are richly illustrated with full color photography. Unfortunately I do not own these in Logos so I cannot comment on how easy it is to use the illustrations in your presentations, although I have had no problems with copying out of Logos and pasting into PowerPoint.

The real highlight is Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible, Second Edition (Baker 2018). Walton surveys Ancient Near Eastern literature to set the Old Testament into the proper historical context. Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts edited John Hilber and Jonathan Greer (Baker 2018). This is a a 600+ page book with essays by a wide ranges of ANE and OT scholars. Like ANE Thought, the book is illustrated with black and white photographs and line drawings. (The first edition of Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament is also listed, do not make the mistake of buying them both). Walton’s Old Testament Theology for Christians: From Ancient Context to Enduring Belief (IVP 2018) is also available at 30% off.

Logos has a deal on John Walton Mobile courses as well, the Background of the Old Testament Bundle (2 courses, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine and Old Testament Genres) or get individual courses: Old Testament Genres (4 hour course); Origins of Genesis 1-3 (4 hour course); Book Study: Genesis (9 hour course). These include video lectures along with course material (syllabus, midterm and final exams). I have quite a few of these course, most have very brief, focused lectures, sometimes only a few minutes. Along with the video lecture and a transcript of the lecture, there are suggested reading in the Bible and other Logos resources (links to Bible Dictionary articles and Logos Topical Guides).

Don’t forget the Logos Free book of the Month for August 2019: Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum, God’s Kingdom through God’s Covenants: A Concise Biblical Theology (Crossway, 2015) for free. This is a concise version of their Kingdom Through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants (Second edition; Crossway, 2018). Since the larger volume is just under a thousand pages, this concise edition does not mean small: the book is over 300 pages long. I agree with Thomas Schreiner’s assessment this book is “a third way, a via media, between covenant theology and dispensationalism” by suggesting neither theological systems is informed by biblical theology. Gentry is an Old Testament professor and Wellum is a professor of Christian theology; both teach at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

For $1.99 you can add another mammoth book from a SBTS professor on biblical theology, James Hamilton’s God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology (Crossway. 2010).  For $2.99, you can add Gerald Bray, God Is Love: A Biblical and Systematic Theology (Crossway 2012). Christopher W. Morgan of California Baptist University says  “God Is Love is a warm, conversational, and contemporary systematic theology written by one of evangelicalism’s leading thinkers. But it is much more. It is biblically saturated, historically rooted theological wisdom for the people of God.”

If you do not have the Logos software, you should at least download the free Logos Basic or the $99 Logos 8 Fundamentals (currently on sale for 20%). With either minimal package you can download and use the free book every month and build your Logos library. Logos Bible Software 8 is a significant upgrade to this powerful Bible study system. I did a “first look” review of Logos 8 here. The software runs much more efficiently than the previous version, that alone is worth the upgrade. Everything seems to run faster than Logos 7 and the upgrade is well worth considering.

Book Review: Todd Bolen, Acts: Photo Companion to the Bible

Bolen, Todd. Acts: Photo Companion to the Bible. BiblePlaces.com, 2019.

Todd Bolen has been producing high quality resources for Bible teachers for many years on his website Bible Places.com. I first became aware of Bolens’s Pictorial Library of Biblical Lands at an ETS in 2003. I have used these photographs in virtually every class I teach in order to add some colorful graphics to an otherwise dull PowerPoint presentation. Even though I have some critiques of the collection below, if you are teaching the Book of Acts, then the Photo Companion to the Bible is an essential collection of images to use to illustrate your lectures and sermons. If you are a student of the Bible, you can read the text of the Bible and page through the slides in order to place the text into a physical context.

I reviewed his Gospels Photo Companion to the Bible soon after it was released in 2017. At that time Todd told me the Acts Companion was “coming soon.” But as he told me in a recent email, it took a while longer than expected. This is not surprising since the collection contains more than 4,000 photos in twenty-eight PowerPoint sets. The slide set for Acts 13 has 250 slides, Acts 20 has 180 slides. This includes every place Paul and the apostles traveled and every photograph is identified and explained. In some cases, additional material appears in the slide, such as citations to journal articles.

Along with photographs detailing the Paul’s missionary journeys, many inscriptions are included (the Gallio Inscription, the Temple balustrade, the Politarchs inscriptions, Roman calendars, etc.). In addition there are high quality photographs of coins, artifacts, models, scrolls from museums. There are maps tracing Paul’s travels created by A. D. Riddle of RiddleMaps.com.

Since these are PowerPoint slides, the editors provide annotations explaining the image and the location of the photograph. There is also a code in the notes indicating the source of the image. Many are from Bolen, but there are other contributors (and I noticed a few wiki commons images as well). This is very helpful for identifying the location of museum photographs or some of the historical photographs.

I looked over most of the data sets, but for this review I will focus on Acts 13, 250 slides in all. Each slide has a phrase from the Bible across the top, the reference is in the bottom right corner. A brief description appears in the bottom right corner, and a few lines of explanation appear in the slide notes along with the image credit. Since Acts 13 begins in Syrian Antioch, there are a few slides from the modern city of Antakya in south-east Turkey, including a photograph of the ancient hippodrome taken between 1934 and 1939. There are plenty of photographs of Roman remains on Cyprus including the gymnasium at Salamis and Villa of Theseus at Paphos.

To illustrate Paul’s encounter with Bar-Jesus, there are two Aramaic curse bowls,   one from Babylon and the other from the eleventh century A.D. There are two Latin inscription was found near Pisidian Antioch with the name Sergius Paulus, one is a public domain image from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Perge is well illustrated, including the rock-cut pass between Magydus and Perga on the Via Sebaste and later Via Sebaste after Döşeme pass. After Paul leaves Pisidian Antioch, he travels to Iconium, as illustrated by a photo of a Roman bridge on the Via Sebaste east of Yunuslar between Pisidian Antioch and Iconium. Many of these photographs of Roman roads are from Mark Wilson, one of the best sources for Paul’s travels in Asia Minor. He also contributed a photograph of an inscription mentioning Galatia and Pamphylia, from Perga. The slide cites Wilson’s recent article, “The Denouement of Claudian Pamphylia-Lycia and its Implications for the Audience of Galatians,” Novum Testamentum 60 (2018): 337–60. This is the kind of detail I appreciate in these slides, there are others with citations of journal articles, such as the God-fearer mosaic from the synagogue of Sardis (dated to c. AD 365), citing John H. Kroll, “The Greek Inscriptions of the Sardis Synagogue,” Harvard Theological Review 94/1 (2001): 9.

For Acts 13:50, “But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence” there is a photo of a statue of Plancia Magna from Perga (2nd century A.D.) followed by an inscription at Perge with her name. Plancia Magna was a wealthy and powerful women in Perge, although certainly not a believer. This statue shows there indeed were prominent women who had significant power in a city like Perge.

There are some slides which do not seem particularly on topic. “Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch” (Acts 13:1) is illustrated with a wonderful Tiberias. Why? Herod moved his capital from Sepphoris to Tiberias. Barnabas and Saul speak in the synagogues in Cyprus (Acts 13:5), this is illustrated by the synagogue at Magdala. To be fair, there are not many first century synagogues and Magdala is an excellent example, but is not a synagogue from Acts 13.

Others strike me as unnecessary. For example, there is a picture of mist surrounding Nimrod’s fortress in Israel to illustrate “Immediately a mist and darkness fell on him” and a photo of a blind man in Jerusalem for “He went around seeking people to lead him by the hand.” When John Mark returns to Jerusalem, there are several slide of Jerusalem including the Syrian Orthodox site for the upper room. For Acts 13:17, “The God of this people Israel chose our forefathers” there is a photograph of Abraham’s well in Beersheba and several beautiful photographs from Egypt since 13:17 mentions Egypt. In fact, most of the slides illustrating Paul’s sermon are not necessary, but since the goal is to have something for every verse, they are included here. I would have rather had 75 more slides of Roman roads between Perge and Pisidian Antioch.

Evaluation. For many people, using Google Image Search to find pictures for their lectures is second nature. It is easy to do and there are often good photographs available without any usage restrictions. So why purchase this set of photographs from Todd Bolan?

First, these photographs often do not appear on the web. For most of the collection, Bolen has taken the photographs himself and he owns the copyright. These are not snapshots from someone’s Holy Land Tour taken with their iPhone.

Second, there are several types of photographs which are difficult to obtain yourself, such as aerial photography. Bolen has also included many historic photographs from the American Colony and Eric Matson collections released by Bible Places in 2009.

Third, if you are just grabbing a few photographs from the web for your teaching, perhaps you are violating copyright law. The copyright notice is as follows:

The purchaser is granted permission to use this work in face-to-face teaching, video-recorded sermons, class notes, church newsletters, and like contexts. Separate permission must be obtained from BiblePlaces.com to use this material in books, magazines, commercial products, websites, and online courses. Slide notes should be treated as any other copyrighted written material, with credit given when quoting from these notes. For copyright inquiries, please email Todd Bolen at tbolen94@bibleplaces.com.

Yes, I know we all do it and it is doubtful you will get in trouble for snagging someone’s vacation pictures from Flickr. But some universities and churches are trying to limit resources to “fair use” copyright images. The Photo Companion to the Bible allows for legal images which can be freely edited for your own needs.

If you purchase the Photo Companion, you can download it immediately with the promise of free lifetime updates as well as get a DVD copy. One important thing to consider is the copyright permissions which come with the Photo Companion to the Bible. All the images are free for use for any purpose (teaching, sermons, etc.), although if they are used in a publication, you will need to obtain permission. I have seen Bolen’s photographs in many books from major publishers, which speaks to the quality of this resource.

If you visit the website, there are samples of Matthew 4 and John 2 so you can get an idea what the collection looks like. Finally, here is a five minute video promoting the Photo Companion.

NB: Thanks to Todd Bolen at BiblePlaces.com for kindly providing me with a review copy of this resource. This did not influence my thoughts regarding the work.