In recent years, there has been growing interest in the historical, geographical, and cultural background of the Bible. Publications like the Archaeological Study Bible, Zondervan’s Illustrated Bible Background commentaries, and IVP’s various background commentaries and dictionaries all focus on helping Bible students connect the dots in the same way I’ve been discussing here. The Bible Lands PhotoGuide I wrote for Accordance Bible Software seeks to do the same thing, and is consistently one of their best-selling products. All of these reference works are excellent sources of information on biblical backgrounds.
Yet as good as these resources are, they are limited by their respective formats. The dictionaries require you to look up some term or topic, such as Elah Valley or Hazor. The commentaries require you to look up some biblical passage, such as 1 Samuel 17 or Joshua 11. But what if you don’t know what topic or passage to begin with?
A devotional, on the other hand, is something you turn to when you don’t know where to turn. It has the advantage of being able to guide you to topics and passages you might rarely consider. It’s this difference in format which makes Feet to Follow, Eyes to See unique among books on biblical backgrounds. And it’s the difference in subject matter which makes it unique among devotionals.
A devotional also adds another dimension not possible in a reference book: its central purpose is not merely to inform, but to inspire. In writing Feet to Follow, Eyes to See, I could not merely recite interesting background information and call it a day. It is not enough to connect the dots only so well that the reader gets an accurate picture of a particular narrative; you must connect the dots so that the reader sees a clearer picture of his or her own relationship with God.
Ultimately, that’s my goal in writing this book. There are plenty of excellent books which offer facts about biblical backgrounds, but I want to bridge the gap between fact and faith. I don’t just want you to understand the Bible more clearly; I want you to hear God speaking to you through His Word.
So far, I’ve shared two complete excerpts from Feet to Follow, Eyes to See. The first deals with the conquest of Hazor, while the second deals with David’s defeat of Goliath. Do they succeed in bridging the gap between fact and faith? Please let me know in the comments on this post.