By Pastor Phil Cooley On a recent Sunday morning, many of us gathered to eat ice cream and read the book of Galatians. As people ate their ice cream, they read through the six-chapter book. I knew that everyone present could, and I hope did, encounter the living God through His living word simply by the act of reading it. But I also knew that Paul’s letter is dense with cultural and theological meaning and a single reading would not do justice to the richness of his letter. With that
in mind, I utilized a resource that I and many others have found useful in pursuing a deeper understanding of scripture, the website The Bible Project.
The Bible Project is an organization whose mission is “To help people experience the Bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus.” What a great mission! They do this by producing videos on a wide variety of Bible topics and by making them available for free on the internet. The Bible Project has videos on how to read the Bible, the major themes of scripture, significant words found in the Bible, and for our purposes this last Sunday, the Bible Project has video summaries on every book of the Bible.
And so, having done a quick read of Galatians, we watched the nine-minute video that summarizes the message of Paul’s letter to Galatia. When the video ended there was applause. People were excited to quickly and clearly gain a deeper understanding of Galatians. With that newfound understanding they read through the book again. I expect that in their second reading their delight only grew.
In my mind that is the sign of a great Bible study aid. It does not replace scripture but allows us to grow in our knowledge and understanding of the word, and ultimately leads us to greater delight in God and the drama that he is working out in and through His children.
I want to encourage everyone to take on a challenge. Challenge yourself to watch all the videos for the 66 books of the Bible produced by The Bible Project (They can be found at https://thebibleproject.com/explore/ under the headings Old Testament and New Testament). I expect that you will walk away from the experience with a newfound depth of knowledge and insight and a heart swelling with joy and Thanksgiving at the God of the universe who loves us so much that he sent His son to die for us so that we might join in the beautiful story that God is writing.
If that sounds daunting, consider how many episodes are in some very popular American TV shows: The Simpsons (660), American Idol (564), Survivor (554), Law & Order (456), NCIS (362), Big Bang Theory (279), Murder She Wrote (264). I expect that many of us have seen more than 66 of these episodes. I guarantee that the drama found in the Bible Project videos is far grander and more exciting.
Take the challenge. Let me know what you think.