This short book is divided into 22 brief chapters, each based on a biblical ‘picture’. The reader is led on a brief tour of life in Bible times, such as fishing, shepherding and living in tents. At each stop along the way, the author gives biblical examples and draws spiritual lessons from these topics.
This is not a book to be judged by its title. It is quite light on historical detail and is weighed more toward gospel application of the various vignettes. There are no illustrations, but this is amply offset by the vivid and evocative writing style.
There are many valuable and insightful chapters. These include sections on marriage, death and burial, and a chapter explaining the importance of bread. Other highlights are the discussion of a Roman soldier’s armour and Israelite festivals and feasts.
However, the book can be a little frustrating at times. Subjects can be skimmed over as the author moves to devotional application. About half the book is taken up with these didactic elements and occasionally they are a little strained. The chapter on clothing is one example. The chapter on the temple is also very brief compared to others — a surprise given the richness of the subject.
Rather than a detailed reference work of life in Bible times, this is more of a devotional work. It uses portraits of everyday sights and sounds in Israel as springboards for spiritual lessons.
It is difficult to pinpoint the ideal audience, but most Christians would read it with profit, especially if new to the topic. My suggestion is to read the book devotionally, perhaps a chapter at a time, to help inform your Bible reading and encourage your prayers.