The Bible was originally written to an ancient people removed from today by thousands of years and thousands of miles. The Scriptures include subtle culturally-based nuances, undertones, and references to ancient events, literature, and customs that were intuitively understood by those who first heard the Scriptures read. For us to hear the Scriptures as they did, we need a window into their world.
[See the Bible Gateway Blog post, Zondervan to Release NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible]
The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (Zondervan, 2016) (website) with notes from Dr. John H. Walton (Wheaton College) in the Old Testament and Dr. Craig S. Keener (Asbury Theological Seminary) in the New Testament, brings to life the ancient world of Scripture for modern readers.
[See the Bible Gateway Blog post, NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: An Interview with John Walton and Craig Keener]
For example, the Infographic below helps to explain the cultural context of the story of the Last Supper in John 13 in the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. (Also see the Infographics The Good Samaritan and The Tower of Babel.)
You’ve heard many Bible stories hundreds of times, but how many behind-the-scenes details are you missing? Get a FREE online course on Bible backgrounds taught by Wheaton College professors John Walton and Andrew Hill. This course will help you to gain a deeper understanding of Scripture and allow you to treasure it more.