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1584 pages
Apr 2011

Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary

by Moises Silva

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary has been a standard of one-volume Bible dictionaries for decades. In April 2011, the good people at Zondervan publishing released the latest update on this modern classic. The first copy of this work was published in 1963 as the Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, and was edited by Merrill Tenney. Twenty-four years later, the text was re-released under the title New International Pictorial Dictionary, and this edition was overseen by J.D. Douglas. Now, with twenty-four more years passing, Moises Silva has guided the revisions and additions to this edition of the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary. The result is an excellent update to the two previous editions of the text. Several needed updates are made, and the changes are completed without leaving the strong foundation that the original work set for casual readers and church leaders alike. The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary is an excellent resource for nearly any Christian teacher -- from a Sunday School teacher to a college professor -- to have on their bookshelf.

Several updates to this work are from adding or revising content. The introduction tells the reader that “almost 1800 new entries have been added, bringing the total to over 7200” (p. v). There have also been updates to photographs and new maps added. The content of the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary has been brought into the twenty-first century.

Other updates to the text are more cosmetic, creating a more pleasant study experience for the reader. The nature of the alphabetization of the new text makes the entries more accessible to lay persons. The fonts and the layout have been updated for a new generation. The pictures are sharper. The maps are more visually appealing.

As a pastor, what I enjoy about this reference is the relative brevity of the entries. In many Bible dictionaries, one entry can be pages long. This is not the goal of the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Instead, most of the entries last from 1/8 or a page to a full page, and can be read in only a few minutes. For instance, if I wanted to know what the “abomination of desolation” was, I could turn to page 12 in the text and read a brief overview of the term in less than a half of a page. I would have several Scripture references to look up, and a good idea of the scholarly issues and debate about that term. This is very helpful for me, especially when I am familiar with the issue people are speaking about, but don’t necessarily know all the terminology that they are using.

Also, the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary is relatively affordable. For around twenty dollars you can have a Bible dictionary on your shelf that will be a treasured resource for years. It is worth investigating! – Clint Walker,

Book Jacket:

The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary provides a visually stimulating journey for anyone interested in learning more about the world of the Bible. Through the articles, sidebars, charts, maps, and full-color images included in this volume, the text of the Old and New Testaments will come alive for you as never before. As a condensation of the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, the information contained within this reference work is solid and biblically sound. The material is based completely on the NIV and cross-referenced to the King James Version, and it contains over 7,200 entries, 500 full-color photographs, charts, and illustrations, 75 full-color maps, and a Scripture index … making this wonderful Bible study resource a must-have whether you’re a general reader of the Bible, a pastor, or a student.