Abelardo Rivas, pastor of the Multicultural for the Community Church, completed a Bible release last year after several years of work.

Rivas, a Ph.D. student of Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Archaeology at Andrews University, was asked to assist in creating a new study Bible that gives readers archeological and cultural background information. The Archaeology and Cultural Background Study Bible was published earlier this year by Editorial Safeliz, and shipments began in August 2022.

The Study Bible was a significant endeavor. The project took about seven years to complete and had lots of funding. Rivas said more than 100 people helped make the Bible possible.

Rivas was initially approached to write articles included in the Bible, given his background in archeology. He was later asked to participate in creating videos, which the Bible readers can watch by scanning QR codes throughout the Bible.

The videos were filmed on Biblical sites. In preparation for these visits, Rivas said he would read several articles that gave him a greater appreciation for the locations. Rivas said this was a highlight of the project for him. “Traveling there just opens new windows for you to understand and to relive, almost, the stories you find in the Bible,” Rivas said.

In addition to writing articles and filming videos, Rivas was asked to be an associate editor for the project. He and his wife also assisted in translating English articles into Spanish.

Rivas said the project took a lot of effort, but he believes the outcome was worth the work.

“There are other archeological Bibles, but none of them come close to the magnitude of the information shown in this project,” Rivas said.

According to Rivas, besides the included articles and QR codes for videos, the Bible also contains blueprints of temples, maps, timelines, and access to a database of over 1,000 pictures of Biblical locations.

Rivas believes that having an archeological and cultural understanding of the Bible can help readers better understand the text.

“We tend to interpret the Bible through our own modern cultural lenses and world views, but in order to understand the text, we have to step outside our modern concepts and then travel through time, to ancient lands to ancient backgrounds, different cultural settings, so we can actually understand that text from their perspective,” Rivas explained.

If you are interested in purchasing the Bible, you can do so by visiting www.safelizbibles.com.