SONY DSCCountless books land on my desk throughout the year. It’s one of the blessings and burdens of being an editor. (There are some really bad books out there.)

However, receiving review copies of good books is indeed a blessing. They come in all shapes and sizes and by a wide range of authors.

Sometimes I stick one in my computer bag to read (or scan, at least, to see if I want to read it) in airports, hotels or between appointments. Others I take home for evening reading.

Occasionally, a book will arrive that is so impressive in its presentation that I stop immediately to look through it. Such is the case with Who’s Who In The Bible: Unforgettable People and Timeless Stories from Genesis to Revelation by Jean-Pierre Isbouts, newly published by National Geographic.

It is impressive in size, depth and graphic appeal. The art, artifacts, maps and other graphics (including National Geographic photography) are worth thumbing through the volume even if a word is not read.

Key events and numerous characters found throughout the Bible are identified and explored in seemingly continuous entries.

Very few of its 384 pages are untouched by art. For those who do read the text, however, the scholarship is deep and without the usual presuppositions.

Detailed attention is given to the political and historic contexts in which the biblical story is told. The alphabetical listings of timelines and persons make it an accessible resource as well as the kind of book that finds a prominent place to display simply because of its beauty.

And it’s one of the few books of many in which I put my name in front to keep it from walking away too easily. Perhaps there is someone on your Christmas list who would welcome such a treasure.

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