Bible Atlas

Introduction to Bible Atlas

This is a first year DBI course. It is a survey of Bible Lands and People.

Course Outline

  1. Introduction to Course
  2. The Beginning
  3. Early Bible Lands & People
  4. Currencies, Measurements & Time
  5. Biblical Archaeology
  6. Relating Bible Lands to Today
  7. Journey’s of Abraham
  8. Journey's of Jacob & His Family
  9. Journey in the Wilderness
  10. The Land of Canaan
  11. The Law of the Land
  12. Minor Conflicts in Canaan
  13. Babylonian Empire
  14. Grecian Empire
  15. Roman Empire
  16. Early Spread of the Gospel
  17. Holy Land Today

Course Overview

Overview - What is Bible Atlas?

Bible Atlas will include the study of such topics as Biblical:

Nations, Persons, Archaeology, Geography, Politics, Measurements.

The people, places and events described in Scripture are not fictitious, but real and can be investigated through secular history, archaeology and cultural nuances as well as the Biblical text.

Course Purpose - Why do we study Bible Atlas?

We study Bible Atlas because it is the study of the very setting of Scripture. Much confusion concerning Biblical texts can be cleared up with a simple look at context and SETTING. Also, Scripture appears freshly practical and relative to us as we investigate its proper setting. How more inspiring it is to read Paul’s description of himself as a ‘bondservant’ knowing that he was voluntarily imprisoned that he might do the will of his Master! As a Roman citizen Paul had a right to make his appeal to Caesar and he used that privilege that he might have the opportunity to testify before the leader of the world’s greatest empire of Jesus. If Paul had not held fast to that right, he probably would have been merely dismissed by the Roman authorities as a mere nuisance.

Another example of a passage that comes to life when placed in the light of Bible Atlas is John chapter 4. Samaria was normally avoided through a circuitous route east of Jordan by Jews traveling from Judea to Galilee. Jews normally avoided Samaria because of the cultural tensions, but Christ purposely went through it. These details clarify Christ’s declaration that he must needs go through Samaria did directly relate to the need of a little woman and her city and not merely a practical statement of some mandatory traveling route. Also, Jacob’s well where Jesus met with the Samaritan woman is situated with Mount Gerizim in sight. (John 4:20)

Completing this Course - What do I have to do?

Each lesson is concluded with a set of Study Questions.; these questions should be completed before the start of the next lesson. There will also be sequential Quizzes covering the related Study Questions. There will be some memory of Scripture in this course and other assignments to be completed both in the classroom and at home.

The Beginning


Psalm 24:1—The earth is the LORD'S …

Genesis 1:1-2,9-10—In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

I. The Garden of Eden

A. God planted a garden eastward in Eden. (Gen. 2:8)

B. God placed the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. (Gen. 2:9)

C. A river ran through Eden and parted into four heads. (Gen. 2:10)

1. Genesis 2:11 Pison (Havilah) There is gold, bdellium and onyx stone

2. Genesis 2:13 Gihon {(land of Cush) Cush generally means Ethiopia}

3. Genesis 2:14 Tigris (Hiddekel)

4. Genesis 2:14 Euphrates (Assyria)

The flood was a catastrophic event that brought about dramatic change to the earth’s geography. With this in mind, it is very understandable that we would have difficulty finding every pre-flood marker such as Pison and Gihon. (The Tigris and Euphrates still remain.)

D. Theories on the missing heads

1. Pison and Gihon disappeared totally

2. The Nile river somehow connected with Tigris and Euphrates once (this theory is weak)

3. Pison and Gihon could be translated “gusher” and “bubbler” and possibley are references to the long forgotten names of the tributaries of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

II. Out of Eden

A . Adam and Eve were expelled out of the garden and driven east (Gen. 3:24)

B. Cain was exiled farther east of Eden to the land of Nod. (Gen. 4:16)

C. The ark (Noah) landed on the mountains of Ararat. (Gen. 8:4)

III. Old Testament World

Seas Mountains Rivers
Caspian Sea Mt Ararat Araxes
Persian Gulf Zagros Tigris – Hiddekel
Gulf of Suez Caspian Euphrates
Mediterranean Sea Lebanon Orontes
Dead Sea Taurus Jordan
Gulf of Akabah Mt. Hor Nile
Black Sea Mt. Hermon Jabbak River
Sea of Galilee Mt. Sinai
Lake Van Mt. Carmel
Lake Urumiyeh Mt. Seir

A. Land of the Mountains

Armenia – the name Armenia is not used in the original scriptures, but is a translation of the word Ararat. The Ark rested on one of its mountains.

Media – (Gen. 10:2) In power in 536 B.C. “Madia”

Persia – Rose to the power under Cyrus the Great.

B. Land of the Plains

Assyria – In the Hebrew Asshur (Gen. 10:12 ) Nineveh is its capital.

Elam or Lusistan

Mesopotamia – Land between two rivers.

Chaldea – also called Shinar and Babylonia. Greatest city of the east in 536 BC.

Desert of Arabia – Called in scripture “Land of Kedar.”

C. Lands of the Mediterranean

Asia Minor, Egypt, Syria, Land of Goshen, Phoenicia, Cyprus, Palestine, Edom, Wilderness of Paran, Moab

D. Capital Cities



Early Bible Lands and People

I. Mesopotamia

After the flood, the mass of humanity remained closely together and did not spread out through the earth. This was in direct disobedience to God’s command: be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Gen. 9:1)

Noah’s Descendants Gen. 9:1—And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. Gen. 10:1—Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.

Gen. 10:8—And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. 10 And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

Nimrod was a city builder,(11-14) but his birthplace and his father and mother is not Known.

We find that the goal of this particular settlement was not to fulfill God’s command but to defy God and His Word. From the very beginning, the Babylonians goal was to resist any further scattering of the people over the earth and instead to create a city where the achievement of a united, integrated people that would be centralized and more readily be controlled.

IV. After the flood

Gen 11:1—And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2—And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

Shinar (also translated as Babylonia) Located between the two rivers in Mesopotamia. It had rich agriculture land. The Land of Shinar became known as the world’s first civilization with a network of cities built up of mud brick and stones, it was dominated by approx. 30 Ziggurats made to honor their gods.

V. Description Tower of Babel

In the Bible a spiral shape tower built with brick for stone and slime for mortar, located in the plain of Shinar whose top may reach unto heaven. A tower people started to build to make a name for themselves, causing God to show his anger by making them speak different languages, which led to the collapse of the project and ultimately to the scattering of people across the world. Gen. 11:7—Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8—So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. The purpose for the Tower of Babel was to make a name for them and keep everyone together for a one-world government and one-world false Religion.

If a world-wide god-less empire was allowed to rule the world than God could not raise up a godly people through whom He could send the Promise seed, the savior of the world . In confusing the language and scattering the people, God stopped man’s godless purpose, effort and works and then raised up a Godly people through Abram, by calling him out of Mesopotamia.

Symbol of one-world Government and One-world Religion The land of Shinar was a geographical term for what is today, Iraq known in ancient times as Mesopotamia. Nimrod founded the kingdoms of the land of Shinar. Babylon was the mother of false religions.

Sometime after the flood, Noah’s descendants travelled south-west and congregated in the fertile plain between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers above the Persian Gulf. Genesis calls this the “land of Shinar” or “Babylonia” which is located in southern Mesopotamia. This area would be populated with mud brick structures (especially ziggurats to honor their false gods) and a network of cities. The land of Shinar is modern day Iraq.

Genesis 11:1,2—And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

II. Tower of Babel

Led by Nimrod, the people built a tower attempting to reach the heavens. This tower was made of mud for brick and slime for mortar. The purpose of this building was for a symbol of the unity of humanity. It was the earliest attempt at a “one-world government and religion.” Their foolish plans were brought to a complete halt by the intervention of God. God took the language of the world that was one and confounded or mixed it into many languages and scattered the people throughout the earth.

III. Early Nations of the World

Read Genesis 10:1.

Shem Ham Japheth
Hebrews Genesis 40:15 Canaanites Gen. 10:19 Greeks Acts 14:1
Chaldeans Isa. 23:13 Egyptians Ex. 6:13 Scythians Col. 3:11
Assyrians Jer. 50:18 Philistines I Sam. 17:4 Europeans
Persians Esther 1:19 Hittites Neh. 9:8
Syrians I Chr. 19:12 Amorites Ex. 3:17

Shem’s descendants were called Semites. Abraham, David, and Jesus descended from Shem. Ham’s descendants eventually settled in Canaan and Africa. Japheth’s descendants eventually settled mostly in Europe and Asia Minor.