Where do the stories happen?
What should that lead us to expect?
We can ask these questions even before the story really starts.
So the setting is mainly about places – it can be helpful to know where these places are in relation to one another.
Most Bibles have maps in the back but if yours doesn’t, here’s a good set. There are 15 different maps. Each time you look, choose the one relevant to the part of the Bible you are reading and its historical context.
Since I’ve used the H-word, we might as well go on to consider that the historical and political context of a story is part of its setting.
Sometimes kings and rulers are important characters in a story, but often they are just part of the background as God points us to more important people, the ordinary men and women.
The part of the Bible that is most densely packed with kings are the books 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings and 1&2 Chronicles. There are also prophets in these books speaking God’s message but they can have Bible books of their own, too – from Isaiah to Malachi at the end of the Old Testament.
Here is a really helpful table showing the kings and prophets, and how they relate in time.
The other group of kings that confuses people are the Herods in the New Testament. There are five or six men with Herod in their name mentioned in the gospels and Acts. This page helps you sort them out (and explains why you might count them as five or six!)