Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pictures are worth ... a lot: Resources for Biblical Pictures

Sometimes you really need a picture of a biblical location to tell the story. Where, for example, are you going to find a picture of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives like the one above?

There are a number of issues to consider when looking for biblical pictures. First, you want pics of suitable quality. Be sure to preview the picture in the format you plan to use it. Second, the photo should tell a story or help you to tell the biblical story more clearly. Some resources provide clear descriptions to help you in this way. Third, do you want actual photos or drawn pictures/illustrations. The list I have created is focused on photos. For drawings/illustrations, check the Bible Illustration blog. Finally, one of the main issues you need to keep in mind is whether you can obtain permission to use a picture. (I've talked a bit previously about copyright issues with regard to biblical maps.)

I have compiled a list of programs, sites, and other resources that provide access to photos of biblical sites. I have a description of about 20 such resources for now, but I suspect that there are many more. Leave a comment, and I will update the list.

In addition to the descriptions, I provide some example pics (I am particularly amazed by the examples I show of what GoogleEarth and Microsoft VirtualEarth can do of replicating real, on-the-ground pics), and a summary of recommendations. If you are in a hurry, here are my recommendations for now:


For high quality, high-resolution pictures:

Best online sites:

Ways to get pictures to use in your own presentations (i.e., clear use permissions)

  • Holy Land Photos: Clear and generous permission policy; excellent quality
  • Most of the packages that you buy allow for presentation use
  • It will take some checking, but many pictures on Flickr have clear Creative Commons usages described
And here again is the complete LISTING of programs, sites, and other resources. Let me know if you have others I should add.


  1. Hi, what a useful list (and the longer one you link to) please consider adding my to the longer list. I know it is only Old Testament sites, but still ;)

  2. Thanks, Tim! I added your site to the listing. The slideshow videos are particularly nice.

  3. Thanks! They are quite easy to make and fun, and students seem to enjoy them.