As a pastor-shepherd to teenagers, I desire to see God conform my students into the image of His Son (Rom 8:29) and that they made complete in Christ (Col 1:28) through the teaching and admonishment from His Word (2 Tim 3:16-17). Because of this, two things are true about my youth ministry: (1) I am always looking for resources that will spiritually help the teenagers I shepherd, leading them into further knowledge about the truth in the Bible, so that they will love God, love His truth, love His people, and love the word; and (2) I am NOT willing to sacrifice Biblical truth for “coolness,” “popular,” or “trendy.”
So when I see youth ministry curriculum that is based upon the culture, is “cool” and “trendy,” but lacks Bible depth, I dismiss it and pray that God would help me to “preach the Word, in season and out of season” (2 Tim 4:2), which really just means “all the time, every time.” I have come across a number of youth ministry curriculums based upon popular movies/books, such as Divergent, Hunger Games, The Simpsons, and Harry Potter. Each of these come complete with handouts, teacher guides, activities, and cool graphics. Some have you to watch part of the movie and then discuss the implications. Others make the guarantee “to be awesome … [or] we’ll give you a full refund, and big hug.” For the record, I like hugs, but I want to feed my students the Bible.
Now, I am not against movies or books in general. I love the creativity that God has given to humanity to write compelling stories and gripping characters. But I AM against resources that sprinkle Bible verses without context, allow the leaders/pastors of student ministries to be lazy in their study, and teach students just to be nice people with the label of “Christian.” Students lack the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual maturity necessary to discern what they need to be learning. Therefore, just like adults, they need to be taught the objective, inspired, infallible, inerrant, life-changing Word of God (2 Tim 4:1-4) in order to come to faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 10:17) and become Christ-like throughout their life (2 Tim 3:17).
This brings me to “The Bible Project.”
First, I do not know the guys (Tim and Jon) personally who have put this together. So this is not a shameless endorsement of my own personal friends (although being friends with them would probably be a delight).
Second, “The Bible Project” is a video project that explores the entire biblical narrative by (1) walking through each book of the Bible in order to expose the meaning of each book, and (2) looking at major themes that run throughout Scripture (e.g., “Sacrifice & Atonement,” “Messiah,” etc.).
Third, the OT and NT are done a bit differently. The OT is done in a video format, whereas the NT is done in a walk-through format where a chart or poster is being sketched before your eyes, so that at the end you have a nice poster to look at to get the whole picture.
Fourth, this is extremely well done. Now, I am not an artist (stick figures for me only!) or a video editor. However, living in a digital age, I recognize that there is a professionalism to “The Bible Project” and that makes it worth checking out. In other words, I am not cringing with the effects through each video, but rather each video is thoughtfully cared for (i.e., the graphics to not get in the way of the message).
Fifth (and final), these video overviews are Biblically and theologically accurate! Context is established, original languages are used, hermeneutics are upheld, and implications from the text are present. This is what makes this videos and this project a joy and the reason that (up to this point) I fully endorse “The Bible Project.”
So, go check them out. Make a family night out of them. Discover what you have missed in the macro-lens of Scripture. Oh, and did I mention that they are FREE!! Yup, free, no charge, no dinero. They ask for a donation, which I believe they are worthy of, but if you can’t give, they are happy that you grow in your knowledge of God’s Word.
Go! Enjoy! Be edified! JointheBibleProject.com
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Addendum: please note that I fully endorse them “up to this point,” meaning if “The Bible Project” ever goes theologically or biblically askew, I will end my endorsement.