Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Video Review: What's in the Bible Vol. 10 - Jesus is the Good News!


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Entertaining overview of the Gospels and some theology
Cons: The songs don’t work for me
The Bottom Line:
Covering Gospels
And history before they start
Fun theology




What’s in the Bible? Gets to the Exciting Part as We Finally Hit the New Testament

For nine volumes, Phil Vischer and his puppet friends have lead us through all the books of the Old Testament, showing us how sinful we are and how holy God is.  With volume 10 of What’s in the Bible?, we’re finally entering the New Testament, and Jesus is the Good News! is a strong way to do so.

As always, there is lots of information crammed into these two half hour shows.  The first one is really background.  It covers the 450 year period between the two parts of the Bible and the theories on why God waited until the Roman Empire was established to send the Messiah.  We also get a glimpse of the authors of the Gospels and the major Jewish groups on the scene at the time.

With all that established, the second show delves into the contents of the Gospels.  It spends roughly half the time on the life and ministry of John the Baptist and then Jesus.  As has always been the case with these videos, very few of the familiar stories are retold.  The assumption is that everyone knows these stories from Sunday School.  Instead, the focus is on what the stories show and how they fit God’s redemption plan.

To that end, the episode talks about not only Jesus paying the penalty for our sin on the cross but also why we need to study both the Old and New Testaments what the kingdom of God looks like today.  Maybe because so much of my Bible training has focused on the New Testament, but this is the first volume where I felt Phil was skimming over the surface and not really covering the topics he brought up completely.  Of course, to really cover all the theology here, he’d have to spend hours, and he only had one.  I certainly don’t remember getting any of the information presented here at all in the target elementary school age range, so my hat is off to him for what he does teach.  There is some good theology here and kids will enjoy it.

So far, this is sounding kind of dry.  And the second half is certainly more serious than the first.  But rest assured that the cast of puppets do insert their jokes and interruptions throughout the entire thing.  Every is more serious when discussing Jesus, but the show is still entertaining.  And when you remember that Phil does all the puppets himself, the voice work is pretty amazing.

The real weakness here is the songs.  Once again, they’re okay, but nothing better.  Phil wrote them himself, and there are very few of them.  I could see kids enjoying them, and since that’s the target audience, they are all that truly matter.

So Jesus is the Good News! is a great introduction to the New Testament.  With only three more volumes to go, I’m looking forward to see how What’s in the Bible? wraps things up.

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