More Maps to Come

This blog is not forgotten. My plan is to map through the book of Matthew as an example of how to make simple Bible maps. I want to record and include oral tellings of the scripture passages.

Right now I am deaf, so making the recordings is on the back burner. I am also looking for an easier way to draw and place the maps on the blog. Drawing on paper and scanning is too cumbersome.

So, this blog will be back soon enough and full of nice reference maps for the first book of the New Testament that anyone can learn to draw and remember by heart.

God bless,

Ps, If you would like to know how my hearing is coming along, visit my cochlear implant blog.

Posted on by Stephen Young

How To Memorize Bible Names and Places

Memorizing lists can be difficult and frustrating.

All of us have some recollection of repeating a list of things over and over in order to remember them. When we do finally get the list by heart, we tend to forget one or more of the items a short time later.

Most people have to train their brain to memorize lists.

There are lots of mnemonic techniques that can assist. Rhyming, alliteration and funny mental images are frequently employed by memory specialists. I remember one man sharing about how to memorize peoples names telling the audience to picture a quiet cow skiing. The name Kwiatkowski is pronounced quiet-cow-ski.
These are learned techniques, though. Each one requires a set of skills and the discipline to employ them. There is a large gap between knowing about a memory technique and actually being able to use it effectively.

As lists get longer, they become exponentially harder to memorize.

A list of twelve strange names is fifteen times harder to memorize than a list of six names. Imagine memorizing the names dates and locations of hundreds of people and places!
I’ve written all of this, not to discourage you, but to offer an alternative. God wired our brains in such a way that we can remember things. The key is, we remember narrative and story quite vividly the first time we hear it.

Information stored in narratives are easier for our brains to recall.

My four-year-old son knows the names, numbers and relationships of over 50 different characters from Thomas & Friends. He knows their stories, where they’ve been and what they have done. This feat of memorizing happened during the enjoyable times of listening to me read stories to him, watching DVDs, and playing with his trains.

Bible names and places can be remembered by heart through the learning of the stories of the Scripture.

If you know certain stories you know certain names. Adam and Eve? That was an easy one. Ehud and Eglon? This one is a little harder. I’ll bet, though, if you heard the story one time, you would know immediately who they are and might even laugh a little bit as you recall the story.
Drawing out the locations of stories as simple maps will help you to be able to remember these places easily.
We will do a few of these stories and their maps together on this blog in the coming weeks.
Posted on by Stephen Young in

Simplify Your Map

 Jesus Map Too Much InformationJesus Map No Labels TMIJesus Map Super Simple

The maps found in Bible atlases are wonderful sources of information. Most of the time, it is actually too much information. In order to make a simple map, the first thing that needs to be done is to reduce the amount of information on the map.

Above, in the first figure, there is a traditional map of “Bible Lands.” There are hundreds of cities and scores of rivers, mountains, regions and bodies of water.

In the second map all of the labels and city markers have been removed. Still, though there is too much information, topographical and geographical. It is too much to draw.

In the third map all is removed except for a few simple identifiable things. There is the Mediterranean Sea, the Lake of Galilee, the Jordan River, and the Dead Sea. These can be easily drawn.

Learn to draw Bible Maps by heart.

Combining a Bible Map with Scripture Narrative

Base Map: Abraham

Cities to Plot: Ur, Haran, Shechem

Background: One of Noah's descendants through his son Shem was named Terah. The Bible tells us that he lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods. During this time, it was common for men to marry wives from within their own tribes, often step-sisters or step-cousins.

Scripture: Genesis 11:27 - 12:7 

This is the account of Terah and his descendents:

Terah himself fathered three sons. Their names were Abram, Nahor and Haran. His son Haran also had a son named Lot. They were all living in Ur of the Chaldeans. That was their home. Haran died there while Terah was still alive.

Abram's wife was called Sarai. She was unable to have children. Nahor's wife was called Milcah. She was one of Haran’s daughters, along with Iscah.

Terah took Abram and his wife Sarai, along with his own grandson Lot, who was Haran’s son, and they set out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. When they came as far as Haran, they settled there, not continuing on to Canaan. Terah lived to be 205 years old and died there in Haran.
The LORD spoke to Abram and said, "Leave this land where you are living, leave your relatives, and your father's home. Go to the land that I will show you. There, I will make you a great nation, I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse. Through you every family on earth will be blessed."

So Abram left, just as the LORD had told him to do. Lot went with him. This happened when Abram was 75 years old.  That is when he left Haran. Abram set out for Canaan. He took his wife Sarai with him, along with his nephew Lot, and all the possessions they had accumulated and the servants they had acquired in Haran.
When arrived in Canaan, Abram traveled through the land to the oak tree belonging to Moreh at Shechem.  The Canaanites lived there in the land at that time.

Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, "I will give this land to your descendants." So Abram built an altar there to the LORD, who had appeared to him. 

Set the speed at 4 or 8 and press replay to watch me draw the map. You can draw simple Bible maps too!

Learning Base Maps

There are a few base maps that must be learned before you can begin to map stories. You do not need to learn all the base maps at once. Most base maps will have some similarities with the others. They will either be a portion of another map amplified, or included a similar location.

The base maps should be learned as you go, in chronological order. I have named each one after a major Bible character it is associated with. Here is a list of the base maps we will learn.

  1. Abraham
  2. Moses
  3. Joshua
  4. David
  5. Solomon
  6. Daniel
  7. Jesus
  8. Paul
The Abraham map is the first one, because we really don't know what the world was like or where certain places were before the flood. So our mapping starts in Genesis 11.
Posted on by Stephen Young in