The World of Jesus

Making Sense of the People and Places of Jesus’ Day

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Know Jesus Better by Understanding What Shaped His World

Sometimes it’s hard to find your bearings in the New Testament, as you enter the time and place of Jesus and His disciples. There are confusing practices, new people groups, and even unexplained religious conflicts. How did it all come about?

Dr. William Marty walks you through the history leading up to the arrival of Jesus in order to help you better understand His life and teachings. He answers such questions as:

• Why did "Israelites" start being called "Jews"?

• What's a "synagogue" and what happened to worshiping in the temple?

• Who were the Pharisees and why was Jesus so upset with them?

• Why didn't anyone like the Samaritans?

Get to know the times in which Jesus lived, so you'll better understand His teaching and ministry. And along the way, discover how God prepared the world for the One who would turn it upside down.


Most of us probably think we know a lot about Jesus. After all, we've read all the Red Letters in the gospels. But you never really know or fully understand Jesus, His stories and ways, until you know the world in which He lived. A big thanks to my friend Bill Marty who has lifted the lid to give us a peek into the culture that shaped the message and methods of Christ. This book is a great opportunity to get to know Jesus better!

Dr. Joseph M. Stowell, President, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Life in our high-tech, fast-paced society places modern readers of the Bible at an extreme disadvantage when they seek to understand the biblical backdrop behind the story.  Dr. Bill Marty solves that!  His careful but plain explanation of The World of Jesus is a gift to everyone who desires a rich grasp of Scripture.  Keep this close when you study the Bible and you will not be disappointed.

J. Paul Nyquist, PhD
President, Moody Bible Institute

The Author

  1. Dr. William H. Marty

    Dr. William H. Marty

    Dr. William H. Marty has taught at Moody Bible Institute for 40 years. His main emphasis has been teaching an Old and New Testament survey to freshman at the Chicago campus, and the fruit of his focus on teaching the storyline of the Bible has been published...

    Continue reading about Dr. William H. Marty


A concise and very readable work... Solidly historical in nature and aimed toward a nonscholarly audience, the author lays out the political and religious context of Jesus' world in a clear, concise manner that will appeal to a wide audience.

Publishers Weekly

Marty's brief volume is a less-than-200-page survey of the history between the Testaments that helps set the stage for the entrance of Jesus Christ and the New Testament era. If one can keep up with the real-life cast of characters--mostly rulers and rebels--this book is a gem for the beginning student of biblical history and for the Bible study teacher investigating the backdrop of Jesus' life and teaching.

The Baptist Standard