Biblical Geography Lesson # 5 New King James Version  online:

    "Palestine in the New Testament" Pt 1

Students, take notes over the lesson for a grade.  Write down the green headers/questions then the blue/link as the answers.  Skip lines between each, use two different colored pens.

Why was Palestine important to the Jews?

1. Synoptic Gospels:  Palestine in the New Testament.
We are told that our Lord was born in "Bethlehem of Judea"; and theory of Neubauer, adopted by Gratz, that Bethlehem of Zebulun (Josh 19:15)--which was the present Beit-Lachm, 7 miles Northwest of Nazareth--is to be understood, is based on a mistake. (1) The Jews expected the Messiah to appear in the home of David (Mic 5:2); and the Northern Bethlehem was not called "of Nazareth," as asserted by Rix (Tent and Testament, 258); this was a conjectural reading by Neubauer (Geog. du Talmud, 189), but the Talmud (Talm Jerusalem, Meghillah 1 1) calls the place Bethlechem-ceridh (or "of balm"), no doubt from the storax bush (Styrax officinalis) or stacte (Ex 30:34), the Arabic `abhar, which still abounds in the oak wood close by.
(1) Galilean Scenery.

Where did Jesus spend his pre-ministry life?

The greater part of the life of Jesus was spent at Nazareth in Zebulun, and the ministry at Capernaum in Naphtali (compare Mt 4:13-15; Isa 9:1), with yearly visits to Jerusalem. The Gospel narratives and the symbolism of the parables constantly recall the characteristic features of Galilean scenery and nature, as they remain unchanged today. The "city set on a hill" (Mt 5:14 ) may be seen in any part of Palestine; the lilies of the field grow in all its plains; the "foxes have holes" and the sparrows are still eaten; the vineyard with its tower; the good plowland, amid stony and thorny places, are all still found throughout the Holy Land. But the deep lake surrounded by precipitous cliffs and subject to sudden storms, with its shoals of fish and its naked fishers; the cast nets and drag nets and small heavy boats of the Sea of Galilee, are more distinctive of the Gospels, since the lake is but briefly noticed in the Old Testament.
What was Nazareth like?

Nazareth was a little village in a hill plateau North of the plain of Esdraelon, and l,000 ft. above it. The name (Hebrew natsarah) may mean "verdant," and it had a fine spring, but it is connected (Mt 2:23) in the Gospels with the prophecy of the "branch" (netser, Isa 11:1) of the house of David. Its population was Hebrew, for it possessed a synagogue (Lk 4:16). The "brow of the hill whereon their city was built" (Lk 4:29) is traditionally the "hill of the leap" (Jebel Qafsi), 2 miles to the South--a cliff overlooking the plain.

How important was Nazareth to the Jews?

Nazareth was not on any great highway; and (1) so obscure was this village that it is unnoticed in the Old Testament, or by Josephus, while (2) even a Galilean (Jn 1:46) could hardly believe that a prophet could come thence. Jerome (Onomasticon, under the word) calls it a "village"; but today it is a town with 4,000 Christians and 2,000 Moslems, the former taking their Arabic name (Nacarah) from the home of their Master.

Where was the town of Capernaum? (Mt 4:13; 9:1) video

Capernaum lay on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee shore. , apparently (Mt 14:34 ; Jn 6:17 ) in the little plain of Gennesaret, which stretches for 3 miles on the northwest side of the lake, and which has a breadth of 2 miles. It may have stood on a low cliff (though this is rendered doubtful by the Sinaiticus manuscript rendering of Mt 11:23 --"Shalt thou be exalted unto heaven?"), and it was a military station where taxes were levied (Mt 9:9 ), and possessed a synagogue (Mk 1:21 ; Lk 4:33 ; Jn 6:59 ). Josephus states (BJ, III, x, 8) that the spring of Capernaum watered this plain, and contained the catfish (coracinus) which is still found in `Ain el Mudawwerah ("the round spring"), which is the principal source of water in the Gennesaret oasis.

What happened at Chorazin?

The site of Chorazin (Kerazeh) has never been lost. The ruined village lies about 2 1/4 miles North of Tell Chum and possesses a synagogue of similar character. Bethsaida ("the house of fishing") is once said to have been in Galilee (Jn 12:21), and Reland (Palestine Illustr., II, 553-55) thought that there were two towns of the name. It is certain that the other notices refer to Bethsaida, called Julias by Herod Philip, which Josephus (Ant., XVIII, ii, 1; iv, 6; BJ, III, x, 7) and Pliny (NH, v.15) place East of the Jordan, near the place where it enters the Sea of Galilee. The site may be at the ruin edition Dikkeh ("the platform"), now 2 miles North of the lake, but probably nearer of old, as the river deposit has increased southward. There are remains of a synagogue here also. The two miracles of feeding the 5,000 and the 4,000 are both described as occurring' East of the Jordan, the former (Lk 9:10) in the desert (of Golan) "belonging to the city called Bethsaida" (the King James Version). The words (Mk 6:45 the King James Version), "to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida," may be rendered without any straining of grammar, "to go to the side opposite to Bethsaida." For the disciples are not said to have reached that city; but, after a voyage of at least 3 or 4 miles (Jn 6:17,19), they arrived near Capernaum, and landed in Gennesaret (Mk 6:53), about 5 miles Southwest of the Jordan.

Where was the home of the "mad man"?

Country of the Gerasenes.
The place where the swine rushed down a steep place into the lake
(Mt 8:32; Mk 5:1; Lk 8:26) was in the country of the Gerasenes (see Codex Vaticanus MS), probably at Qersa on the eastern shore opposite Tiberias, where there is a steep slope to the water. It should be noted that this was in Decapolis (Mk 5:20), a region of "ten cities" which lay (except Scythopolis) in Southwest Bashan, where a large number of early Greek inscriptions have been found, some of which (e.g. Vogue-Waddington, numbers 2412, 2413) are as old as the 1st century AD. There was evidently a Greek population in this region in the time of our Lord; and this accounts for the feeding of swine, otherwise distinctive of "a far country" (Lk 15:13,15); for, while no Hebrew would have tended the unclean beast in Palestine, the Greeks were swine-herds from the time at least of Homer.


Memory Verse # 11

Memory Verse # 11    from Biblical Geography lesson #5

Luke 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!”


Memory Verse #1 from Creation lesson #1

Colossians 1:16  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

 Memory Verse # 2 from Creation lesson # 3

Hebrews (11:6) But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Memory Verse # 3 from Creation lesson # 5

1 Corinthians 13:12  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Memory Verse # 4 from Creation lesson # 6

Genesis 1:1–2 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Memory Verse # 5 from Creation lesson # 7

1 Corinthians 15:21–22

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive .

Memory Verse # 6 from Creation lesson # 9

Romans 3:4 ....let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written:  “That You may be justified in Your words,  And may overcome when You are judged.”

Memory Verse # 7 from Biblical Geography lesson #1

Matthew 2:15 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

Memory Verse # 8   from Biblical Geography lesson #2

Romans 1:17 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called [to be] saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Memory Verse # 9    from Biblical Geography lesson #3

John 3:21   But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.

Memory Verse # 10    from Biblical Geography lesson #4

Matthew 4:24  Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.

Memory Verse # 11    from Biblical Geography lesson #5

Luke 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!”




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Updated: January 7, 2011

Lesson Objectives

OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to:

1. Students will locate the geographic places on a map that are described in John Ch 6  During group work describe the significance of making the right choices while driving in search of wisdom.

2. Explain the significance of  why was Palestine important to the Jews?

3. Memory Verse # 11 from Biblical Geography lesson #5
Luke 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!”