Biblical Reconstructions – Why they are Important for Visual Teaching

A Biblical Reconstruction is where an artist recreates what things (often cities) looked like during Biblical times. One of the most famous is the model in the picture below from Logos Bible Photos of the 1st Century Model of Jerusalem currently on display Israel Museum. Almost every book source of pictures will contain a close up of at least the temple.

Jerusalem Model

These reconstructions would be the equivalent of giving the reader scenery when retelling a Biblical story visually. It can give them a feeling of space and movement, which maps do as well, just the three dimensional nature of a reconstruction does even more.

If you want to get really crazy, the best reconstructions I have found are in Glo Bible Software. Glo has these insane 360 degree virtual tours (See my review of Glo here). Some are of modern day Biblical sites (like the Pool of Bethesda excavation) or some are from computer reconstructed models, there is one that you can walk from the Damascus gate to the Temple, through the Temple and then all the way down to the Pool of Siloam.

These are crazy detail and fun. I encourage you to use reconstructions, it will let your students have a good picture in their mind when they read the Bible.

Eighteen Types of (Mostly) Visual Media to Use in Biblical Narrative Teaching

In teaching Biblical narrative if you are retelling the story there are a variety of useful types of media that can and should be used when teaching, here is a list:

  1. Paintings and sculptures that represent the text – these burn the event into the viewers mind and make the whole thing more real.
  2. Maps – Give the student a view of where things happened
  3. Modern Day Pictures of Where things happened – This grounds into the student that this stuff is real.
  4. Architectural Reconstructions – I love these, they give the student a feel of the ancient world.
  5. Scripture Quotes – In general when telling the story only a highlight of the scripture should be shown, Logos Bible Software has some great methods of making these which I will go over in another post.
  6. Quotes from Famous People – I will go over making these as well
  7. Archaeology Pieces – Again impress on the students that this stuff is real, very important with young people.
  8. Object Reconstructions – See what the Ark of the Covenant would have looked like, through an artist’s eyes.
  9. Comedy – Put cartoons, to add levity
  10. Moral Application Slides – This is important to balance the story with the greater meaning.
  11. Time Lines – To give viewers a sense of when things happened.
  12. Cultural Artifacts – These are artifacts that don’t relate directly to the Bible, but that show an ancient practice was in place. This is usually what most visual Christian books are full of and are the most boring for visual teaching. (I will write more on this later)
  13. Games – Intersperse mini-games in teaching, it highly engages people and helps them to remember more.
  14. Social Situations – Have a projector that can project a background? Then you can create any social situation you want to play out and is a great way to engage an audience
  15. Movie Clips – Nothing gets the blood pumping like a movie scene
  16. Documentary Clips – Sometimes it is more memorable for an audience if they see someone else say it instead of you.
  17. Song Clips – I usually try to stay below a minute and either use the songs as openers or lyric videos, but they add flavor. Like playing the Indiana Jones song before I show archaeology.
  18. Sound bites – I use little sound bites, like impacts (duh duh duh) and catch phrases for emphasis, transition and comedy.