Review of the Infographic Bible

Contrary to its name, the Infographic Bible isn’t a Bible. And for me, that’s a point in its favor. I’ve admittedly gotten a little weary of the dozens and dozens of Bibles that Zondervan has marketed that call themselves “The _____ Bible”, which end up just being a standard NIV or NKJV Bible interspersed with a few articles or notes.

How would I characterize The Infographics Bible? Well, you know how when you’re reading a great Study Bible or other Bible reference book, and a certain figure or table catches your eye, and you end up fixated on it for long stretches of time? Well, imagine a book of nothing but those figures and tables blown up to large, full-color 8.5 x 11 inch pages and that’s what this book is.

The word “Infographics” has been misused and misunderstood by a lot of people in recent years. A lot of graphic designers will just take words, organize them in pretty ways, and call them “infographics”. But true infographics are more than just clever design. The best infographics do something called “data visualization”–taking complex and perhaps esoteric information and concepts, and using great visual design to help you more fully comprehend and interpret that information. Put another way, you’re using both sides of your brain to get a fuller understanding of concepts.

While a handful of the figures in this book do fall into that trap of being visually clever but not particularly enlightening, I’m happy to say that there are a great number infographics that really do add unique and valuable context to your understanding of Biblical text. Some of my favorites:

  • Several pages are dedicated to listing out Old Testament prophesies, and showing visually how they were fulfilled in the New Testament. The results are visually stunning, but also drive home how closely intertwined the two Testaments are.
  • There’s are cool “blueprints” that visualize Noah’s Ark, the Tablernacle, and the Temple.
  • There are a few pages that help break down Jesus’ teachings; what were the top subjects he taught on? Who was his audience? Where did he preach?
  • There are some thought-provoking historical infographics. One page helps visualize the enormity of Solomon’s wealth. Another visualizes data about the fishing economy of Galilee.
  • I particularly like certain pages where they take a lot of historical information and distill it into an at-a-glance page. For example, they list out all the kings of Israel and Judah and identify what they did in their reign and whether they were good or bad. They take the events of Paul’s life and lay them out in a timeline that’s much clearer than the traditional “Paul’s Journeys” map you see in most Bibles. They list out all the letters in the New Testament and list, at a glance, the sender, the recipient, where it was sent from, where it was sent to, and the subject. The one sort of obvious missing opportunity was that I didn’t see any visualization of the minor prophets, although there are timelines dedicated to the Exile and the return from Exile where they reference the relevant prophets.

Something else I love about this book is that it just shows the visualization, but doesn’t provide commentary on how you’re “supposed” to interpret it. They let the data speak for itself, and it’s up to you, preferably with the guidance of the Spirit, to figure out what it means and its significance.

Overall, it’s a book that’s as beautiful to look at as it is enlightening to read. You probably won’t be reading it page-by-page, but if you’re preparing a Bible Study, you’ll definitely want to keep this book handy to give you just a little more context behind certain topics. The large, hardcover cloth book is a great conversation piece that goes as well on your coffee table as it does in your reference library.

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