Using BibleProject to Enhance Your Bible Reading
One of the things I love about Refuge Church is the increased desire amongst us to read God’s word both broadly and deeply. I believe Dennis Moranha set the standard for us years ago when he committed to a reading plan of the Bible in 90 Days; his worship leading extended properly beyond just music. I was challenged by this personally, and I decided to do it as well. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, so much so that I determined to do it again. But reading the Bible broadly is hard, whether you do it in 90 days or over 2 years. It’s an ancient book written by people who lived thousands of years ago with a different language and a different culture. There’s way too many characters and people groups. How is one to make sense of all of this?
A few months before I was to begin my second reading, I was reading a website I frequent called The Rabbit Room (www.rabbitroom.com). On this particular visit, I came across an article by Heidi Johnston that briefly highlighted BibleProject, an animation studio in Portland, Oregon. Having never heard of them, I decided to watch some of their videos. I was blown away at both the level of biblical teaching and the beautiful artistry of these short 5-8 minute videos. The conversational style of Tim Mackie and Jon Collins is incredibly engaging and inviting. The goal with all of their videos is to show how the Bible is not a behavior manual or theology dictionary. It is one unified story that leads to Jesus and has wisdom for the modern world. Not only was I enjoying these resources myself, but I was also finding ways to use them in teaching at New Life Camp, at Refuge, and even in personal conversations. The craft and quality of all of their resources would normally be something a ministry would charge at least a reasonable fee to access. But BibleProject is crowd-funded – all of their resources are completely free. Here is some of what they offer that I have found most helpful in case you want to check them out.
The studio has created an animated video for each book of the Bible (some books are split into two videos). Each video gives historical context, overarching themes, key verses, and practical truths for today. I encourage anyone who is studying a book of the Bible or reading through the whole Bible to watch these videos. As our church is currently studying Mark, why not start with that one? Watch Read Scripture: Mark video.
How to Read the Bible
BibleProject has many Video Series such as the Torah Series, the Wisdom Series, and Spiritual Beings Series. But my favorite has been the How to Read the Bible Series, and as of this writing, they’re still working on it! There are lots of books on practical Bible reading and studying habits, and they are valuable. But this series focuses on what the Bible is, how it came together, the different types of literature in the Bible, and more. I am writing Bible lessons for our families at New Life Camp, and we are currently going through this series together this school year. Several parents have commented on how enjoyable and rewarding these videos are.
They also have individual videos called Themes. These videos are designed to show how a specific idea or truth runs like a thread through the tapestry of Scripture from beginning to end. Some of my favorites are God, Exile, Son of Man, and Generosity.
These little videos highlight a biblical word in the Bible and show its original meaning and how it gets used in the Old and/or New Testament. Some of them have been grouped into series such as the Shema Series, the Advent Series, and the Bad Word Series. They are excellent teaching tools that bring fresh meaning to the story of the Scriptures.
Their podcast is one of my weekly treats: I usually listen to it while getting ready in the morning, on my way to Life Group, or on long trips. In this podcast, Tim and John will have a casual conversation to discuss the Bible’s teaching in an area with which they want to make a video. Tim has a Ph.D. in Biblical History and Languages. Translation: he is a Bible nerd. But he is joyfully academic, meaning he is enthusiastic about what he is teaching. Jon is more like an everyman, listening to what Tim is saying and asking questions to make sure he understands. He’s a good stand-in for the casual listener. This makes the discussion incredibly accessible. They have over 180 podcasts or better put, 180 conversations about the Bible. As that is a lot, I think the podcasts on Generosity (Episodes 149-153) are a great starting point.
There are different learning types, both in children and adults. I tend to be a visual learner, so BibleProject videos have been such a gift to me in both my own learning and teaching of the Bible. I do not necessarily agree with all of their teaching. But I have not found any teaching that leads me anywhere but to Jesus as God, Savior, and King and a greater hunger and thirst for reading and knowing the word of God.
I cannot recommend the videos and resources of BibleProject enough to anyone who wants to read the Bible, both broadly and deeply.
BibleProject is a non-profit animation studio that produces short-form, fully animated videos to make the biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere. We create videos, podcasts, and study guides that explore the Bible’s unified story by focusing on its overarching themes and each book’s literary design. We are committed to understanding the Bible in its historical context and communicating its wisdom for the modern world. Ultimately, we want to change how people read and use the Bible. Please visit BibleProject at http://www.bibleproject.com/.