Children’s Heroes of the Bible

Children’s Heroes of the Bible aka “Great Stories – Bible Stories” was a 13 episode Bible cartoon made in 1978 by the American Lutheran Church. From my knowledge this is the first Bible cartoon made. The animation is stiff and angular and if it was just the animation I would never use this series in teaching, but this cartoon series has three things that I find very special.

 

  1. The voice acting, thinking back to my favorite cartoons “Super Friends” and “Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends” those cartoons had a strong sense of heroism embedded in them and that was a result of the strong voices and heroic music. These Bible cartoons were a result of the same philosophy, they are not going for realism with their voice acting, but strength of voice and theme. The voice acting is actually very intense.
  2. Each 30 minute episode is a bunch of short five minute episodes tagged together, meaning it is easy to extract just a single Bible story form the whole to use in teaching.
  3. The third thing this cartoon series has going for it is an episode on Jeremiah, which if you were to look through the other ten or more Bible cartoons that have been made an episode on Jeremiah is very hard to find. The reason is that the book of Jeremiah unlike other books in the Bible that are easier to read, switches from prophetic doom to narrative story and back and most of it is not chronological so it is very difficult to tell what is going on. Finding someone that will adapt a cartoon for that is difficult. They definitely deserves props.
Jeremiah talking to the Potter from episode 5 of “Great Stories – Bible Stories”

The amazing thing is that even if you are unsure about the series or using it in any form of teaching, the whole season is available on DVD for $1.99 at Christian Book right now. Currently I use Jeremiah arguing with the priests to open a 4 parter on the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem.

The Films of Danny Carrales ranked

I have not really posted yet in how to use movies as teaching tools, but there is so much Christian media that needs promoted and used to build people’s faith. Case in point are the movies of Danny Carrales. Many Christian movies have insipid morality that does not go anywhere and it drives me crazy, because I crave deep Christian truth and virtue in my movies. Everyone of Danny’s movies accomplish that. The production values are not the strongest, but they have constantly improved. I highly recommend watching his movies from in my opinion the best to the worst:

  1. Heaven’s War – Easily the highest quality in technical aspects as well as having a deep spiritual story. This film is a gem that it is tragic that more people are not aware of. The special effects in the movie are worth the price of admission in and of themselves. Here is the trailer:  https://www.heavenswarmovie.com
  2. Final Exit – Though some of the conflicts were tough to portray without feeling a little cheese, the overall movie was powerful and the dialogue excellent. The movie focuses on who is saved and why, when multiple people enter judgement together and a demon and angel conflict over them. Not only inline with the Bible, but goes much deeper into the ramifications of Biblical philosophy.
  3. The Harvest – End times movie, I just enjoyed the lead actor and his hope and love for what he discovered in Jesus.
  4. Escape from Hell – Doctor kills himself to have a near death experience and discovers what really happens on the other side while his friends try to revive him. Super fun.
  5. Pilgrim’s Progress – Based on the classic John Bunyan tale.

 

 

Beitzel Photo Library from Logos

The “Beitzel Photo Library” available when using Logos software is a photo library of Bible locations that includes 14,000 photos of Biblical places for only $29.99. This seems like an amazing deal and it would be if any of the photos were labeled. In using the photo library most of the time I have no idea what I am looking at. So, there is random Egyptian temples and random locations in Greece… what bearing does it have for the Visual Bible Teacher? None!

If you want a good set of Bible locations pictures here are the sources listed with price:

  1. Padfield – This is a personal collection of photographs by the pastor of the Church of Christ in Zion. Though the labeling is not perfect, he puts a bunch of great pictures out there for you to use.
  2. Glo – (Update Glo desktop has become unusable, do not buy the desktop version, it needs interaction with a server, that is no longer available) From the old Bible software if you buy an old desktop copy and install it. There are around 3,000 great pictures about 25% of them are unique to logos and 75% of them are from Todd Bolen’s Bibleplaces that I will discuss next. This software should only cost you $30, but extracting the pictures is somewhat difficult. You have to copy and past the screen using windows snipping tool.
  3. Accordance Photo Guide – The photo guide sets from accordance are wonderful. Ton of explanatory data fantastic photos. If you get them on sale all six sets can run you under $100.
  4. Bible Places – Somewhat pricey and so many pictures that often time have little bearing to scripture, sometimes it is easy to get lost in a sea of irrelevant pictures. I would definitely recommend the Photo Guide above, it is less expensive, has great pictures and has more pictures from important places in Iraq and Iran, than Bible Places has.
  5. The Barry Beitzel Photo Library from Logos – This one as I mentioned above is not worth the $29.99 price tag because the notes and organization are so bad that it almost renders the whole thing unusable.

There you have it the best places to get great Bible location pics.

Kingstone’s 101 Questions about the Bible and Christianity

Kingstone’s 101 Questions about the Bible and Christianity vol 1 I have to applaud for choosing to put this sort of content in comic fashion.

101 Questions about the Bible and Christianity Volume 1 by Kingstone Comics

The comic answers five questions:

  1. Where did Cain get his wife?
  2. What does the Bible say about dinosaurs?
  3. Where was Jesus for the three days between his crucifixion and the resurrection?
  4. What happens to people right after death?
  5. Does the Bible mention aliens or UFOs?

The questions are answered by addressing different views, but in general from a conservative literal reading of the scripture. So the dinosaurs is a young earth creation point of view.

The challenge of using comics in visual teaching is that the conversation bubbles sometimes detract from what you are teaching. In general buying copies of this and giving it to youth, might be the best way to teach.

This comic can be found in Vyrso, which will load it into the logos software here.

The Kindle copy can be found here.

Accordance Bible Art

When looking for good Bible art there are many sources. Both Logos and Accordance Bible Software has art sets that are either embedded in their base packages or are for sale.

The reviewed set here is Accordance Bible Art which can be found at the attached link. This set includes around 340 pictures. I say around because they are in order of Bible reference so many images show up multiple times for multiple passages.

Two thirds of this set is made up of Gustave Dore’s biblical engravings which are very common. The set does not include Dore’s Deuterocanonical etchings for Maccabees and Tobit etc. The Dore drawings are good size and resolution.

The other third is a mixed bag of classical artists and one modern artist named David Lang. All of these other artists pictures are dark tinted, the comparative pictures that are found in Logos Fine Art collection are better colored. The one redeeming feature of these pictures is there maybe fifteen rare paintings here that I have not found anywhere else.

To make a long story short, it is a good source for Dore’s paintings, though Glo is better. Both Accordance and Glo are hard to extract the paintings from for use in Presentation.

Visualized Bible Art Library

The Visualized Bible Art Library is a collection of paintings done in the 1980s. What is unusual about this collection is it spans almost the whole Bible with over 4,500 images. Some of the images are verse by verse representations of the story. Which is especially great when focusing on single stories. The art purposely tries to be family friendly in that there is no gore or blood and the more violent sections of the Bible are just hinted at.

The below low res example image is from 2 Kings 11:1 Queen Athaliah ordering the death of all the heirs to the throne. Here you see the value of the set, it is extremely rare to find an image set that has images for these obscure pieces of the Bible. This particular story in 2 Kings 11 has 16 images illustrating it verse by verse.

2 Kings 11:1 Athaliah orders the death of the heirs

The full information on the set is a little scattered. The original images were sold on this Gospel Services and this is still the best place to get info on the set, but they are actually sold now in a series of 10 volumes by Glad Tidings Publishing

Making Your Own Bible Study Pictures

A friend of mine pointed me towards this great article where a church is making their own Bible Story images using play mobil. This is great, lego has been used most notably by Brendan Powell who is an atheist. Brendan’s public books are inline with Christian beliefs, but in reading his website and looking at his images it becomes clear his is an unbeliever. That is why it is nice to see people doing still motion toy Bible pics that believe the history.

Check out what one church is doing with Play Mobil at http://www.covchurch.org/bible-story-slides/

 

Kingstone Bible – An unbelievable source of great art

The Kingstone Bible is an amazing piece of Christian art for the visual teacher, because it contains so many pieces of scripture that for otherwise there are no pictures.

Kingstone Bible Volume 8
Kingstone Bible Volume 8

For instance, who else fully illustrates Nahum and Habakkuk, not many, but you find it in the Kingstone Bible. The Kingstone Bible is actually more complete in this sense than the “Action Bible” it’s chief competitor.

The main site for the Kingstone Bible is here: https://kingstone.co/

Some parts of the Bible are available in Logos Software, you just have to buy them from Vyrso and they will show up in your logos.

Most issues are available for Kindle Kingstone on Amazon

 

 

Glo Bible Software – (Former) King of Visuals at an Economic Price

(I had to edit this article)

Apparently the desktop version of Glo depended heavily on an online server, so much so that even if you install all media locally (all the pictures, maps, art) it still needs to interact with the server.

When and why I am not sure, I did successfully use it offline at points, but now it is a brick. Every since the parent company shut down their desktop support servers in 11/2017 the desktop application wants a login that will not work. Bummer this was a great resource, that a lot of people paid for and it is now useless. They still have a subscribe phone version, but it is not useful for visual teaching at all and it is missing all the virtual tours.

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Glo Bible Software by Immersion Digital is one of the best sources for pictures that you will find.

glo-bible-software

All the greatest are pulled together here with unbelievable resolutions.

  1. All of Gustave Dore’s Biblical Work
  2. Some of James Tissot’s Gospel Paintings (Re-Touched)
  3. Most of David Roberts location paintings from the late 1800’s
  4. Some of Todd Bolen’s Bible Places photos
  5. Some of the Library of Congress’ Holy Land collection
  6. Immersion Digital Virtual Reality 3D Panoramic Tours of Holy Land Spots
  7. Exclusive content created by Leen Ritmeyer
  8. Immersion Digital Reconstructions in Virtual Reality 3D Panoramic of spots and Biblical Events
  9. Additional classic Biblical Artwork.

I am not even including the maps, which are fun, because they used MapQuest and were able to zoom in, unfortunately on their classic software the support from MapQuest which was only available over the internet has ended, but the rest of it is well worth the cheap price tag. To buy the classic software on Amazon buy Glo Bible Premium Multi-Device Digipack, it includes all of the stuff above, it might be a little hard to install on Windows 8 or 10, I had to install mine in safemode.

Glo is the successor to Illumina and has a new web and smart phone based version in the mix, though these versions seem to be going away from the dominance in visual resources that the original version had. Check out their website at Glo Bible for more information.

The search in the program works well, but can be slow and if you used the VR tours in teaching you need use the program directly. I have not found a way to use the VR tours directly in Power Point. With the other visual pieces there is a copy button that allows you to put them in a Power Point presentation.

This is well worth and highly recommended.

 

Reverend Fun – A Good Source for a Comedic Insight

Reverend Fun is a website from Harper Collins that has Far Side like Biblical cartoons. These cartoons range from bad puns, like the “Golden Calve” instead of the “Golden Calf” to some more insightful cartoons.

On the pun side here is one of hundreds that I like:

Reverend Fun

The other day I was explaining Syncretism to some of my students and one of the cartoons has a guy telling Jesus that he used to be an atheist and then he was reincarnated and now he totally gets where Jesus is coming from (Syncretism is mixing two different world views to come out with a new one).

In visual teaching I like to sprinkle in one or two cartoons or visual jokes just to change gears a little and since Reverend Fun has a search, it is a great source.