All the lines of force that we call the history of the worm converged and crossed in a tiny country called Palestine almost 2,000 years ago—converged in the life of a man called Jesus, crossed on a hill called Golgotha. And nothing afterwards was the same.
But set against the transcendent significance of that man and that country is the humble appearance of those same things—the man and the country. He was a Jew, a carpenter, a subject of Rome. The country had hills and lakes, lilies and wheat. He walked through the dust of its country roads and the clamor of its city streets.
Through the pages that follow, we learn to understand the time and place that nurtured Jesus. A chart fills in the historical gap between the Old and New Testaments. Both Greece and Rome influenced the political and social structure of Palestine. The mundane realities of farming, fishing, taxes, and Sabbath observances united the Jewish people even while political and religious sects divided them. Maps will let us appreciate the topography of the rugged little country, its political provinces and geographical divisions. And a harmony of the gospels provides a chronological overview of the major events in the life of Christ.
Welcome, then, to the world of the New Testament.