I consider this reference work one of the most valuable in my library. As we said in our article entitled, “Know the Author’s Setting,” the biblical writers wrote within certain historical, cultural, and linguistic settings. Nelson’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Bible Facts (NIEBF) is a one-volume resource providing many of the background facts which help illuminate and clarify the scripture.
NIEBF is different from “Bible handbooks” which take the Bible book by book and briefly outline and provide background. Instead, it approaches the Bible’s background topically. It has 45 chapters on topics such as Bible Chronology, Text and Translations, Pagan Religions, Animals and Insects, Agriculture, Languages and Writing, Geography of Palestine, Worship and Rituals, etc. Such an arrangement allows zeroing in on a specific topic while still getting the broader setting.