Fairly often, I have spotlighted teachings and methodologies of two friends who’ve written books about scripture and who’ve taught me a great deal. I continue to believe each of those men has a great deal to offer (and, collectively, links to their websites comprise 60% of all my “Scripture Studies” category below), but I thought it was time to bring in a new source: The Bible Project.
I have regularly viewed videos produced by this group for several months and have been impressed positively with each one. The producers have a knack for communication and getting at the essence of things. In fact, one of the two voices heard has founded communication companies, and each of them seems to understand biblical truths far better than most.
Now, with that, a caveat or two:
First: no teacher is infallible. Not these guys, not my other favorites, and not your pastor (and not the Roman pope).
Second: I can so far recommend only this group’s Book Videos since I’ve only see a couple of their Theme Videos. The typical Book Video message is significant and on-target, steering clear of esoteric or niche approaches and not taking cues from fundamentalist agendas. As for the Theme Videos, I am always, always wary of thematic or topical approaches, worried that personal agendas or clouded vision might affect the whole. I have only noted one brief departure from scripture analysis in favor of a particular, theological/eschatological view. (I won’t say which video that occurs in, but if you find one, I’d be happy to hear what you think it is!)
The Bible Project’s Book Videos are typically from 6-10 minutes long. The video style is one I don’t really have the vocabulary to describe. It’s a style that seems to elude categorical labeling but moves quickly, using progressive line-drawings and voice to teach about the biblical text. If you tend to be overwhelmed by exegetical studies that have seriously investigated original languages and literary structure, and/or methodologies that include rhetorical and historical analysis, TBP’s Book Videos might be a good place to start. The material is seriously informed and well undergirded, and it is communicated intelligently, but it will rarely overwhelm even a relatively inexperienced Bible student.
The Psalm video is a particularly impressive example. When I watched that one I think my mouth dropped open at the end. It involves a striking application of TBP’s common method of analyzing sections of a biblical document one at a time, in order, and concluding with a bird’s-eye view of the whole. Each Psalm grouping (“Book”) is discussed in sequence, culminating in the overall, zoomed-out view below.
I recommend the Book Videos wholeheartedly. They are freely available, although donations are sought. Go to this page and click on the Videos link in the upper-right corner, then the Book Videos pane on the left. The Bible Project also has a YouTube channel, and the convenience of YouTube on your mobile device may be of interest.
P.S. For a yet-more-brief-and-even-more-thoroughgoing video “take” on Bible books, try this page. Here, Dr. Gary D. Collier looks at books or sections of books one at a time, in 3-minute videos. His is a “take” I tend to trust even more than The Bible Project’s.