I have been a big fan of The Overview Bible Project ever since I discovered Jeffrey Kranz’s amazing Bible-based infographics and study tools. In The Illustrated Guide To The Authors Of The Bible Jeffrey and his wife Laura give us a helpful and beautiful way of learning more about the men whom God used to write His Word.
I recently had a chance to ask Jeffrey & Laura a few questions about this ebook.
Jeffrey, why do you think that it’s important for students of the Bible to learn about the biblical authors?
One of the most important things to know about any message is where it comes from. We know this from life. If you get a “happy anniversary” card from your spouse, it’s a loving gesture. If you get the same card from an ex … well, you get the picture. The whole message hinges on who sends it!
It’s that way with the Bible, too. If we’re going to understand what the authors of the Bible were trying to get across, we should spend a little time getting to know them: who they are, where they’re from, what they’ve been through, and even what time period they’re writing from.
So what was one of the most surprising discoveries you made while researching this book?
As I went into this project, I hadn’t expected so many of the authors to be from the tribe of Levi. But they are! About 42% of our Bible was written by Levites—45% if you count Matthew. No other tribe comes close.
I had expected a little more of a mix, but then I remembered a certain prophecy. Right before Israel enters the promised land, Moses blesses the nation tribe by tribe. When he gets to Levi, Moses says, “They shall teach Your ordinances to Jacob, And Your law to Israel. They shall put incense before You, And whole burnt offerings on Your altar.” (Dt 33:10)
And indeed they did.
Laura, what was your inspiration for giving a “face” to the biblical authors? How do you think this will help someone learn about these authors?
Actually, the initial idea was Jeffrey’s. He was working on pulling together the information on the authors, and asked me if I’d be willing to do an art series to go with it. I thought it would be a great way to help people connect the facts to actual people. There’s a lot of information to digest, and I hope that having images to go with it allows more of the personhood of each author to sink in. I also thought it would be a nice way to help visual learners simply find the facts about who wrote the Bible to be more interesting. Obviously, the pictures are hypothetical—we don’t know much at all about how these guys looked—but using the stats and stories Jeffrey compiled to try to draw out personalities and faces was a really fun challenge.
Can the two of you give us any hints on what you next book and/or art project might be?
We have a few in the works:
- For the new year, we’re launching a special email course that sends people a 3–minute summary of a book of the Bible every week. This will help new students of the Word to get an idea of what each book is about, and it should be a nice refresher for the seasoned Bible geeks out there.
- Thus far our readers have really enjoyed these character surveys, so we’re thinking of launching an illustrated guide to the 40 most important characters of the Bible.
- In 2015 Laura and I hope to collaborate with more people in the Bible geekery space. One project on the table is a book of illustrations for the Songs of Ascent (Ps 120–134), which would include more of our friends in the Christian art community.
- And of course, plenty of infographics, a few study guides, and possibly some video and music!
I strongly encourage you to download the FREE ebook The Illustrated Guide To The Authors Of The Bible by clicking here. Then also subscribe via RSS feed or email to the great stuff Jeffrey & Laura produce and share at The Overview Bible Project.