BiblePlaces Newsletter

Vol 21, #4 - November 28, 2022

When I tell people that we are working on a photo collection to illustrate the book of Revelation, I usually get one of two responses. Some ask if we have pictures of heaven. Others, however, reflect on how much visual imagery is contained in this book and get excited. We obviously don’t have photos of the New Jerusalem, but we do have an abundance of images of seals, lampstands, crowns, stones, as well as the cities of the seven churches of Revelation. The book is more visually impressive than many people appreciate.

The release of the Revelation volume marks a major milestone for us—completion of the entire New Testament. We began creating the Matthew volume in 2014, and now eight years later we have completed the Gospels, Acts, Paul’s Epistles, the General Epistles, and Revelation.

This has been from the start a team effort, and all credit goes to Steven Anderson, Kris Udd, Chris McKinny, Christian Locatell, Kai Akagi, A.D. Riddle, Charity Pearson, Kaelyn Peay, and Heidi Keller. Four of my children made important contributions as well. There are so many details, especially with a collection that includes more than 30,000 slides that combine photos and text. I am grateful to them all.

We would be grateful if you celebrated with us by purchasing this new volume, or the entire New Testament. If you would consider recommending the Photo Companion to the Bible to your friends or purchasing a copy as a gift, that would be very helpful to us as we continue forward with more Old Testament books. Our eager desire is that these photos will increase understanding and joy in God’s glorious Word. 

Todd Bolen
Photographer, BiblePlaces.com
Professor of Biblical Studies, The Master’s University  


Beginning with the description of Jesus in chapter 1, and continuing with the letters to the seven churches (chs 2-3), the vision of the divine throne room (chs 4-5), the judgments preparing for Jesus’s return (chs 6-19), and the restoration of all things (chs 20-22), the book of Revelation is loaded with imagery and symbols. Our new collection of more than 3,000 PowerPoint slides brings ancient images to the modern reader, and highlights include:

  • Photos of Patmos and the cities of the seven churches addressed in Revelation 2–3
  • Examples of ancient artifacts, including trumpets, swords, lampstands, keys, crowns, pillars, eye salve, and scrolls
  • Examples and explanations of various precious stones mentioned throughout the narrative
  • Imagery of victory, dominion, worship, temple service, and wedding celebrations
  • Greco-Roman depictions of creatures referenced throughout the book
  • Photos of meteorological and astrological phenomena illustrating apocalyptic events
  • Diverse examples of seals and signet rings
  • Historical photos of smoke-, locust-, and earthquake-related disasters
  • Many instances of the alpha and omega symbols across church history

Purchase Revelation today for $49 as a DVD+download or as download-only. Or purchase the New Testament (19 volumes) for $299 (with coupon ALLNT).

The New Testament

We believe this is the greatest collection of images ever assembled to illustrate the New Testament. Drawing on more than 20 years of living and traveling in the Greco-Roman world, and featuring photographs taken in more than a hundred museums, the Photo Companion to the Bible: New Testament is an extensive image library designed to help Bible readers understand the background of the New Testament world. The collection includes descriptive annotations, generous copyright usage, and free updates.

Purchase the New Testament today as either a DVD+download or as download-only. This week it is on sale for only $299 (with coupon ALLNT).

What the Experts Say

“The Book of Revelation includes a dazzling range of images drawn from everyday life, religious rituals, celestial phenomena, military conquest, and political life as well as geographical locations from across the ancient world. This rich variety of material culture can be difficult for modern readers to picture accurately. The volume on Revelation in the Photo Companion to the Bible series does a unique and invaluable job of illustrating Revelation’s full array of images to help the Bible teacher or student fill in this visual deficit in understanding. Highly recommended!”

–Buist Fanning, Senior Professor Emeritus of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary; author of Revelation in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the NT

“The Photo Companion series is a tremendous resource for anyone interested in studying and applying the Bible at a deeper level. It offers visual context and insight like no other. From ancient manuscripts to artwork, inscriptions, reliefs, mosaics, frescos, photos of ancient sites, and more, this rich and varied collection offers a wealth of background help for grasping the message of the Bible.”

–J. Scott Duvall, Professor of New Testament and J. C. and Mae Fuller Chair of Biblical Studies, Ouachita Baptist University; author of
Revelation in the Teach the Text Commentary Series

The Photo Companion to the Bible

Old Testament (10 volumes): Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, Esther, Psalm 23, and Daniel

New Testament (19 volumes): Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, Jude, 1, 2, & 3 John, and Revelation

COMPLETE SET (29 volumes): Purchased individually: $1,572;
Set Discount: $599; with coupon ALL29: $499

A Photo Every Day

Every weekday I choose an interesting photo from the biblical world and post it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow us to see our latest photos as well as some classics.

Featured BiblePlaces Photos: Revelation

The featured photos this month come from the new Revelation volume, a unique collection of images illustrating John’s vision of the Lord Jesus and His coming to establish His glorious kingdom on earth. For more free photos, download the Revelation 6 PowerPoint (160 slides). These and more than 3,000 photos are included in the new Revelation volume in the Photo Companion to the Bible.

Revelation 1: "I was on the island called Patmos"

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

According to Revelation 1:9 and early tradition, John was banished to Patmos by the Roman authorities. The volcanic island, composed of a largely rocky and treeless landscape, was an ideal place for a Roman penal colony, a use to which several church fathers attest. The island is about 7.5 miles (12 km) long from north to south and its width varies up to 6 miles (10 km) from east to west. Patmos has an area of 13 square miles (34 sq km) and a circumference of 25 miles (40 km). The island is divided into three parts by two narrow isthmuses and includes a few small islets. Today the most imposing building on Patmos is the Monastery of St. John the Theologian, constructed by Christodoulos in 1088 over the remains of a 4th-century church and an earlier temple of Artemis. The Revelation 1 PowerPoint includes more than 185 images.

Revelation 2: "And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write"

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

Revelation 2 and 3 are addressed to a series of seven churches in western Asia. Pergamum was the third city in the route, following Ephesus and Smyrna. The acropolis of the city rises some 1,300 feet (400 m) above the plain below, and it was filled with monumental religious structures, royal palaces, and an impressive theater. This model shows the acropolis with some of its buildings in the 2nd century AD. It was photographed at the Berlin Collection of Classical Antiquities. The Revelation 2 PowerPoint includes more than 250 images.

Revelation 3: "I counsel you to buy from Me... eye salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see"

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

In the letter to the Laodiceans, Jesus rebukes the church for its arrogance and self-sufficiency, ignorant of their poor and blind condition. Eye health was a great concern in the Greco-Roman world, and the use of eye salve is well-documented both in written sources and in archaeology. Different concoctions were formulated for different eye problems. Ingredients known to have been used in eye salves during the Roman period include apple juice, copper and iron metallic salts mixed with vinegar, copper oxide (aes ustum), zinc oxide (cadmia), iron oxide (haematites), garden cress or peppergrass (lepidum), aloe, opium, rainwater, spikenard, olive oil, saffron, incense, slag, and wine. This photo shows glass receptacles for cosmetics and salves from the Roman and Byzantine periods. This display was photographed at the Hecht Museum at the University of Haifa. The Revelation 3 PowerPoint includes more than 240 images.

Revelation 4: "And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a carnelian in appearance"

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

John uses the names of dozens of precious stones in his description of his heavenly vision. The term “jasper” (Gk. iaspis) was used more broadly in antiquity than its modern English equivalent. Jasper occurs in various colors, often in hues of yellow, red, or brown. Some suggest that this word could refer to a diamond. This example of yellow jasper from the ancient world is part of a flat bead ring and was photographed at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. The Revelation 4 PowerPoint includes more than 85 images. 

Revelation 5: "Each one held a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints"

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

In Revelation 5, the twenty-four elders are seen encircling the Lamb and singing His praises. They each hold a “harp” (Gk. kithara), a stringed musical instrument, sometimes referred to as a kithara or a lyre. Artistic depictions indicate that they were held upright as the strings were plucked. Each elder is said to hold a kithara in one hand and an incense bowl in the other. Some commentators have objected to the description on the grounds that one could not play a harp while holding an incense bowl. However, Apollo is often depicted as holding both a bowl and a lyre in Greco-Roman art. This statue of Apollo is considered to be a Roman copy of a 5th century BC Greek original. It was photographed at the Naples Archaeological Museum. The Revelation 5 PowerPoint includes more than 95 images.

Revelation 6: "It was granted to the rider to take away peace from the earth, that men would kill each other"

Click photograph for higher-resolution version.

When Jesus opens the seals of the scroll, judgment falls upon those who have resisted His grace. The second horseman of the Apocalypse brings worldwide battles. This relief carving illustrates the confusion and madness of battle. It comes from the Portonaccio Sarcophagus in the 2nd century AD, which appears to have been inspired by the Antonine Column in Rome. It was photographed at the National Museum of Rome. The Revelation 6 PowerPoint includes more than 160 images and may be downloaded in its entirety here.

This week you can purchase the Revelation volume at our launch price of $49, including immediate download and free shipping. Purchase the volume as a DVD+download or as download-only.

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All contents © 2022 Todd Bolen. Text and photographs may be used for personal and educational use with attribution. Commercial use requires written permission.