One challenge to reading the Bible is that it is a historical book in a specific geographical context. Getting a grasp of the geography of the events described is a great help to getting the “big picture” of the passage.
But how can we understand the geographic setting? There are several approaches possible.
1. Look at the maps in the back of a typical Bible.
2. Use reference works (Bible dictionary, Bible atlas, etc.) to research the places named.
3. Take a trip to the Holy Lands to get a personal feel for locations, distances, terrain, climate, etc. This is invaluable. That is why I am planning to lead a group to Israel in June 2015.
4. Use a Bible map web site. I have a great suggestion for this: http://biblemap.org/
This site allows you to look up a passage of Scripture and see the places mentioned on a map of the Bible lands. Here is the map for 1 Samuel 16
Clicking on one of the marked sites will bring up a box with information about that place.
The Bible text can be hidden to give a clearer view of the map.
5. Another exciting option is to use the Bible Map App for iPhone/iPad: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bible-map/id523451171?mt=8 . The cost is only $0.99 and is well worth it. The app provides locations based on the text that is selected, or by searching directly for a site.
Here is the iPhone screen of the satellite view of 1 Samuel 16 (with Ramah selected—clicking on the i would bring up information on Ramah):
Here is the map view of the same Scripture:
This app is a great help to Bible study. While you are reading your way through the Bible and come across the mention of a location, with a couple of quick clicks, you can see the place on a map and better understand the account in the Bible.
This app has been a blessing to me and hope it will do the same for you.