Maps & Sketches
Maps are an invaluable tool in helping the Biblical stories come to life in our minds. See where Biblical places were and how the Bible developed in the New Testament.
Scroll down to see maps relevant to Biblical history or select an era using one of the following links:
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Surviving Original Letters of the Apostles
In 190AD, Tertullian wrote that the apostles' original letters could still be found in the churches they were written to. He named five cities: Thessalonica and Corinth (which each received two letters from Paul) along with Philippi, Rome and Ephesus (which received two letters from Peter, one from Paul, and John was known to have made copies of his own gospel for various churches, he left one at Ephesus).
In 290AD (190 years after the Apostle John died), Peter of Alexandrea said that John's original gospel was still to be found in Ephesus. This is the city where John spent his final years after returning from exile on the nearby isle of Patmos.
We do not know exactly how long all the apostles' original letters survived after these accounts, but we do know that Roman Emperor Diocletian made it his mission to destroy them between 290 and 305AD.
Early Church Development (Roman Empire 286AD)
In 286AD the Roman Empire was split into two regions. Rome was the capital of the Western Empire. Constantinople was the capital of the East. By this time 3 major church centres had formed with their own textual tradition (Biblical text). One in Rome (which became the Catholic tradition), one in Antioch (which became the Byzantine and later Protestant tradition) and the last one in Alexandria (which died out by 450AD and was revived in the late 1800's and has since become the basis of both Catholic and Protestant bibles in recent years). To read more on this click the button below:
Byzantine Empire (395-1453AD)
The earliest Gentile church centre was established by Paul and Barnabas at Antioch. This became the home base Paul used during his ministry travels to Asia Minor and surrounds (including the cities shown on the above map). Antioch is also where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians (Acts 11:22-28). In later years, the city was preserved within the Byzantine Empire which was independent of Western Roman control. Hence the Biblical tradition which was established and preserved here was not under Catholic influence. When the Byzantine empire fell to Muslim invasion in 1453AD, Christians fled West bringing their Bible's with them. These became the basis of the Protestant Reformation.
Letters of Revelations 1-3
The book of Revelations records messages from Jesus sent to 7 churches in the Roman province of Asia (Revelations 1:11 - 3:22). Though these letters have a further reaching meaning than simply to be applied to those 7 physical churches, we have shown where the original churches of those names were.
The following sketches depict how the city of Jerusalem would have looked at the time time of Jesus Christ.
King Herod – Great Palace
Pontius Pilate – Roman Fortress
Map of Jerusalem 30AD
Reconstruction of "Jerusalem 30AD" oil painting by Lené Pienaar
The following maps depict the years following Jesus's crucifixion when Christianity was being established.
Paul's 1st Apostolic Journey
Paul's original missionary journey began from Antioch directly after he and Barnabas had been commissioned by the Holy Spirit and the church (Acts 13:1 to 14:26).
Paul's 2nd Apostolic Journey
Paul's second journey begins in Act 15:35 trough to 18:22. It takes him from his home base (in Antioch), through Galatia, Phrygia, Asia, Macedonia and finally Corinth. Then he makes his way back along the Mediterranean to Jerusalem and back to Antioch.
Paul's 3rd Apostolic Journey
Paul's third journey begins in Act 18:23 through Acts 21. It takes him from his home base (in Antioch), through Galatia, Phrygia, Asia, Macedonia and finally Corinth. Then he makes his way back on a slightly different route and finally ends in Jerusalem where he expects to meet his final fate.
Roman Empire (146BC - 476AD)
The Roman Empire was in power at the time of Jesus Christ. As you can see above, they had control over the entire Mediterranean (including Israel). They invented crucifixion as a means of capital punishment. Before the empire fell, it was divided into two parts. The East had Rome for its capital and fell to Barbarian invasion in 476AD. The west had Constantinople for its capital. Though it lost ground, it remained standing until 1453AD when it fell to Muslim invasion. This portion later became known as the Byzantine Empire.
Greek Empire (333 - 146BC)
The rise and fall of the Greek Empire was prophesied by the prophet Daniel in chapters 2 & 7.
Medo-Persian Empire (539 - 333BC)
The rise and fall of the Medo-Persian Empire was prophesied by the prophet Daniel in chapters 2 & 7. This empire also spans a fair section of Israelite history and the era of its prophets.
Babylonian Empire (606-536BC)
The fall of Babylon Empire was prophesied by the prophet Daniel in chapter 2, including a list of the empires that would rise afterwards. God used the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar to execute judgements on other unrighteous nations for which he was rewarded with great wealth.
Assyrian Empire (900-606BC)
The Assyrian Empire falls in the very early days of the nation of Israel.
Egyptian Empire (1600-1200BC)
Israel had a long relationship with the Egyptians, starting back when Joseph was taken there as a slave and finally rose to the rank of second in command. Then the Egyptians subjected the growing population of Israelites to slavery, for which reason God finally brought judgement on them by reducing them to a lowly empire.