By Carrie Brown McWhorter
The Alabama Baptist
Reading through the Bible is a challenging undertaking. Seeing the big story of how the Old Testament and New Testament work together to point to Jesus while addressing questions about the context, culture, history and geography of 66 different books can lead the average reader down confusing paths — and all too often readers simply give up.
‘Gets you excited’
The creators of The Bible Project want to help. Introduced in 2014, The Bible Project is a multimedia resource for individuals, teachers and anyone looking to dive deeper into Scripture in an approachable way.
The goal of The Bible Project is to emphasize the Bible as a unified story and to do so in a way that appeals to a broad audience and different learning styles, said Michael McDonald, director of strategic relationships for The Bible Project.
“Our hope is that when you watch one of the videos, it doesn’t act as a replacement for Scripture but gets you excited about reading the Bible,” McDonald said.
It’s an approach that’s gaining traction, especially among viewers ages 18 to 45 who have grown up in a tech-saturated world.
“We primarily started as a YouTube channel,” McDonald said. “YouTube’s audience skews toward 18- to 35-year-old males, and especially in the Christian West, that’s also the folks churches are having a hard time reaching.”
Available on a variety of platforms, including Vimeo, YouTube, The Bible App and The Bible Project website, videos cover a broad scope of subjects, from an examination of a single book of the Bible to an in-depth exploration of a theme throughout Scripture. The videos are animated, but the quality is Hollywood-studio level in both content and presentation, McDonald said.
“From young to old, viewers find their way onto Facebook or YouTube,” he said. “A lot of churches play the videos in Sunday gatherings. So animation doesn’t mean its just for kids.”
The Bible Project now includes more than 130 videos and 200 podcasts, plus Bible reading plans and an online class for moms — all focused on the gospel and all completely free.
“Everything we do is free,” McDonald said. “We try to figure out who is under-resourced or under-served and how we can equip and serve them in their path toward discipleship.”
A new video is released every 2–3 weeks, no small feat considering the months of planning and work that goes into their creation. But the nonprofit, crowdfunded studio has reached a big audience. It has more than a million subscribers worldwide and has garnered more than 100 million views in more than 200 countries across all its media channels.
Last year The Bible Project introduced its first digital devotional study, “Gospel Wisdom for Moms,” a study of Luke and Acts.
The new project is similar in format to any online class, with Scripture readings, content and videos included within each lesson. Each devotional takes 30–60 minutes, but a participant can do as little or as much as time allows within each unit. The materials are available for download for those who prefer print.
“We talked to a lot of moms as we designed this course, and their feedback was unanimous — they’re busy, they find it hard to get a moment of peace and they often feel that focusing on their faith is a struggle. This tailored devotional is free, it’s super easy to use and — most importantly — we’ve packed loads of personally enriching material into short bursts of time that make this digestible,” McDonald said.
‘That’s our heart’
Another feature of The Bible Project is a one-year Bible reading plan. The Scriptures are divided into 16 sections and organized in semi-chronological order. As readers come to a new book of the Bible, they’ll be directed to a short video about the book’s design and message and tips on what to look for as they read.
The daily reading plan is just one more way to help people connect with Scripture, McDonald said.
“That’s our heart — that people will not feel so separate from the Bible,” McDonald said.
More information about The Bible Project is available at thebibleproject.com/explore.