To help you better appreciate our upcoming trip, I would like to suggest some resources you might want to consider in advance. I have included some books and online videos to give you a variety of different kinds of material. I have also limited the material to an introductory level.
Of course, I do not endorse all the views advocated in these materials, but they are still a good starting point for further discussion and study. I guarantee you will appreciate our trip much more if you read and watch this material in advance!
#1 The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt, Toby Wilkinson, Random House, 2013
MY FAVORITE BOOK on Egypt and a NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER. Wilkinson tells some of the interesting stories about the Pharaohs of Egypt. It doesn’t cover everything, but what it does share is fascinating.
#2 Genesis 37-50 – Joseph in Egypt
#3 Exodus 1-14 – Moses and the Exodus
#1 BBC Egypt Rediscovering a Lost World — A MUST VIEW
This six-part historical drama/documentary is a must watch for our trip to Egypt. It tells the story of the amazing discoveries made in Egypt—many of which we will see. Once you start watching them, it is hard to stop. This series used to be available on NetFlix, but seems to have disappeared. You can find it on YouTube, but the quality is not as good. I don’t know how long these links will last, so view them soon!
Episode one: The Search for Tutankhamun –
Episode two: The Curse of Tutankhamun
Episode three: The Pharaoh and the Showman
Episode four: The Temple of the Sands
Episode five: The Mystery of the Rosetta Stone
Episode six: The Secrets of the Hieroglyphs
#2 Egypt: Engineering an Empire. 90 minutes — A MUST VIEW
An interesting account of several ancient Egyptian monuments and how they were built—including several we will see during our trip–Djoser’s Step Pyramid, The Giza Pyramids, the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut, Hypostyle Hall Seti I built at Karnak, The Temples of Ramesses II and Nefertari at Abu Simbel.
You can view this video for free on YouTube. Just do a search in google for “Egypt: Engineering an Empire”
Here is current link:
#3 Egypt’s Ten Greatest Discoveries. 1hr 27 minutes — A MUST VIEW
Another interesting account featuring several ancient Egyptian monuments. You will want to watch the account of Khufu’s Boat, the Unfinished Obelisk, Tombs in the Valley of the Kings, and the Temples at Abu Simbel.
#4 Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus. Timothy P. Mahoney, 2015.
A fascinating consideration of the evidence for the Exodus—though it is rather long. I don’t agree with every aspect of this theory, but it is still valuable information. It is 118 minutes.
You can either buy it online, or rent it for only $3.99 at Google Play. Just search “Patters of Evidence Google Play.”
#1 Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices. Mosab Hassan Yousef. Tyndale, 2011. ISBN 978-1414333083
Once you get started in this book you won’t want to put it down. It is an amazing story that leads
to a spiritual discovery of faith in Jesus.
#2 Blood Brothers: The Dramatic Story of a Palestinian Christian Working for Peace in Israel. Elias Chacour. Baker Books, 2013. ISBN 978-0801015731
An interested account of the plight of the Palestinian people and the problems they face.
#3 Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. Nabeel Qureshi. Zondervan. ISBN 978-0310527237
Unlike the two books above, this book deals far more with the Muslim culture and the obstacles Muslims face in becoming Christians. The author “describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way.”
#4. Married to a Bedouin. Marguerite van Geldermalsen. Little, Brown. ISBN: 978-1844082209
This book provides some insight information about the Bedouins we will meet in Petra, Jordan. The story is entertaining, though not written from a spiritual perspective. My wife got the book before our trip and really enjoyed it. We might even meet the author when we visit Petra.
#5 Read the Gospel of Matthew and the Acts of the Apostles.
#1 www.relivingmark.com This is a six-part docudrama that I filmed in Israel. It traces the ministry of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. It features most of the places we will be visiting. It will help you understand the significance of the sites we will visit.
#2. BBC Documentary – Ancient Pilgrimage:
Start viewing 12 minutes into the video. An excellent overview of many places we will visit.
#3 Saving Petra – 60 Minutes Report
#4. Archaeological Secrets of the Temple Mount –
An hour-long presentation our Jewish guide, Aran Yardeni, presented at WWU in 2015. He shares his exciting story of his role in the discovery and rescue of over 400 truckloads of “sacred” dirt that was illegally being removed from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in 1999, and the amazing ancient artifacts that have been discovered in it over the last ten years—artifacts that date all the way back to the reign of Solomon, the time of Jesus, and the Crusades. You’ll get a chance to search through dirt like this during our trip to Jerusalem!
#5. The Methods of Archaeology:
#6. Herod the Great:
Review of the life of Herod and some the majestic buildings he built.
#1 The Apostle Paul: A life of Paul. John Pollock. Tyndale, 2012. ISBN 978-0781405737
A good introduction to the life of the apostle Paul. Written in an easy to read manner, this book will you understand the man who, outside of Jesus, has shaped the nature of Christianity as we know it. https://amzn.to/3Dz9psY
#2 Paul: A Biography. N.T. Wright. HarperOne, 2018. ISBN 978- 0061730597
Another good account of the life of the apostle Paul, but more geared to the reader who wants to go a little deeper than a general introduction. N.T. Wright is one of the foremost scholars on the apostle Paul. His book is packed with information. https://amzn.to/3LWZvlq
#3 The Acts of the Apostles. Learn the biblical account of how the Apostle Paul spread the message about Jesus across Asia Minor, which is modern-day Turkey.
#1. Steve Reeves – Turkey: You will enjoy this twenty-five minute video that gives an excellent overview of Istanbul and many of the wonderful tourist sites we will visit, including the Spice Market, the Hagia Sophia, and more.
#2. BBC Documentary – Ancient Pilgrimage: View the first twelve minutes to learn about the Hagia Sophia and Turkish baths in Turkey.
#3. BBC Documentary – Cave Houses in Turkey: View this short five-minute video to discover the natural wonders of Cappadocia.
#4. Islam: Religious Culture:
This 25-minute video introduces you to one aspect of the religious life of an Islam Imam (similar to a Christian pastor)—the Call to Prayer. I like to call this video the Turkish equivalent of American Idol. Pay close attend to the mosque in Istanbul shown in this video, we will visit it on our first full day in Istanbul. In case you wonder what is being chanted in the video, the longest chant contains the first two lines of the Call to Prayer: Allahu Akbar (God is Great), said four times. Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allah (I bear witness that there is no god except the One God), said two times.
#5. Christianity in Turkey: Video
Although modern-day Turkey is a secular state whose constitution officially provides for freedom of belief, in reality the country is overwhelming Muslim. While Turkey certainly allows for far more freedom than Syria or Iran, it still limits the religious freedom of Christians. This 12-minute video will introduce you to the challenges Christians face in Turkey.