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Bible Project
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What is the Shema?

The Shema refers to a couple lines from the book of Deuteronomy (6:4-5), that became a daily prayer in Ancient Israelite tradition. It’s the equivalent of the Lord’s prayer (“Our Father in heaven…”) in Christian tradition. The Shema gets its name from the first Hebrew word of the prayer in Deuteronomy 6:4, “Listen, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone.” The English word “listen” renders the Hebrew word “shema.” In traditional Jewish prayer practice, these lines from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 were combined with other passages from the Torah (Deut. 11:13-21 and Num. 15:37-41), and were prayed in the morning and the evening. This prayer has been one of the most influential traditions in Jewish history, and functioned both as the Jewish pledge of allegiance and a hymn of praise.

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Israel’s Rebellion in the Wilderness

In last week’s blog, we explored Israel’s central sacrificial ritual, the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). No matter what happened, Israel’s sins were covered and removed for yet another year. Now that Israel has a working tabernacle, the tribes are organized and prepared to leave the mountain. While you may be hopeful, get ready for disappointment, because this road trip goes south quickly. Numbers 11-21 contains seven narratives about Israel’s rebellion as they journey through the wilderness; these narratives tell you a great deal about the dark side of humanity, but also the covenant faithfulness of God (even when the Israelites don’t know it). Dive deeper with this weeks blog.

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Old Rituals & New Realities

In last week’s blog, we talked about animal sacrifice within the context of the Ancient Israelite culture. If we lost you at “animal sacrifice,” we suggest you go back and read that blog first! We explored how these sacred rituals were symbols of God’s love and mercy for the Israelites. These images point forward by highlighting the great rift between God and his people, even as he dwells among them. It’s a tension that was climatically resolved in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In fact, many of the ways that Jesus’ death is talked about in the New Testament don’t make much sense without a basic grasp on the meaning of sacrifice in the Old Testament. So, today, we’re going to focus on one particular sacrificial ritual and its connections to the death of Jesus, the Day of Atonement.

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Animal Sacrifice? Really?

There is a chance that when you enter Leviticus and start reading about animal sacrifice, you’ll want to shut down. This is so foreign to the life experience of modern Westerners; most people simply don’t have categories for what’s happening here. We want to help with that, though at the end of the day it’s still going to feel weird. Our modern notions about animal sacrifice come from all sorts of places, most of which are not biblical at all. Over the next two weeks, our blog will focus on atonement, sacrifice, Jesus, and how it is deeply revealing about God’s good nature in all of it.

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When Pharaoh’s Heart Grew Harder

Let’s be honest, Exodus 1-18 is a super intense part of the biblical story, which raises some heavy theological questions. The epic showdown between God and Pharaoh over the fate of the enslaved Israelites is a page-turner. Pharoah is a really bad man—actually the worst person we have met in the Bible so far. As you read these stories, you may be tempted to ask, who is really calling the shots here? Is it God? If so, why would he allow this? And, why does this showdown become so violent and intense? These questions pick up the key themes we introduced in last week’s blog about the conclusion of Genesis (human evil vs. God’s purpose to do good), and explore them even more deeply.

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Biblical Storytelling : Repetition & Themes

The narratives of the Old Testament are brilliant, literary works with mind-blowing depth. You just have to learn the literary style of these writers, and one of the easiest styles to start with is the repetition of keywords and themes over the course of multiple stories. The narratives from Genesis to Chronicles are filled with intentionally repeated ideas that are interwoven through whole books and even across multiple books. Once you start to spot these, you know you’re on the trail of the biblical author’s main point. In this weeks blog we focus on one such theme, and it connects the Genesis and Exodus stories.

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God Has a Name… Many, Actually!

Have you ever been reading the Bible, especially the Old Testament, and thought God seems to be called by a lot of names? Who is this Yahweh, Elohim, El Roi, Adonai, Savior, Redeemer, and Angel of the Lord? What happened to the simple Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? There are, in fact, dozens of ways in which the people of Israel referred to God, and many of these are revealed to us in Genesis and the rest of the Torah. This multiplicity of names can be a little confusing for those who don’t know ancient Hebrew. So, we thought we’d do our best to open up this fascinating can of worms and show you why it’s important to understand the many ancient names of God.

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Genesis & Ancient Cosmic Geography

The Bible is historically the most well-read, well-circulated, commonly quoted, yet widely-criticized book of all time. There is no shortage of topics to debate, and pages one and two of Genesis have unfortunately been a frontrunner for controversy due to the creation vs. evolution debate. Whichever side of that argument you might agree with, it begins with the interpretation of the book of Genesis, which sort of makes sense as Genesis is Hebrew for “in the beginning.” It’s here we see God set the stage for the Garden of Eden and all that will unfold with Adam and Eve. Nevertheless, before we move onto the Garden and the Fall, there is so much to explore in this first chapter of the first book.

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Luke Chapters 1 & 2 – The Birth of Jesus

Have you ever excitedly anticipated something only to find that when it arrived it was nothing like what you had expected? Maybe as a kid you were expecting to get a BB gun for Christmas, but instead you unwrapped pajamas. Let down. Well, when we unwrap the story of Jesus’ birth, it isn’t what you might expect, but it certainly isn’t a letdown. In this video installment, we explore the first two chapters in the book of Luke and the extraordinary circumstances surrounding this Earth-shattering event. Dive into the blog after you watch this exciting video on the birth of Jesus.

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Live Q+R: Jonah

We’re diving (no pun intended) into Jonah! If you haven’t already seen it, watch the video and then hang out as Tim and Jon talk about literary ninjas, big fish, Snapchat, and how the secret of the book is all about cows. Enjoy!    

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Live Q+R: Holiness

Holiness: It’s not just about hip, ripped jeans. In this live Q+R Jon and Tim talk about purity, the phrase “set apart,” the dangerous power of God’s goodness, and what they would wear if they had dinner with the President.    

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BTS#015: The Big Move

Check out our new digs! We’re stoked to be hunkered down in the wood shop at the old Washington High School building in the heart of SE Portland. We’re loving sharing an awesome office space with our Copious friends, a top-notch digital marketing firm of rad people. If you’re in town, stop by for a … Continued

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Live Q+R: Numbers

Hey Gang! Dive deeper into the bible with us as we respond to viewer queries on the Read Scripture Numbers video.

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Understanding Heaven and Earth in the Bible

Have you ever been to a place that felt especially sacred? A spot that radiated with God’s presence? There is a phrase from early Irish history that names this mystical phenomenon: “Thin Places.” Contrary to popular belief, “Thin Places” are not just gyms and juice bars in Los Angeles. Travel Writer Eric Weiner defines them … Continued

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New Website is Coming!

Welcome to our New Website! We’re glad you’re here. And we know what you’re wondering: “WHAT’S BETTER?” All the videos are still here, but now it’s easier to watch through our site! It’s more streamlined and intuitive to navigate through all the content You can now share videos with anyone! Add a video to your … Continued

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BTS#014: The Minor Prophets

Ever wonder how we plan out the production of videos? Scope out this behind the scenes video and you’ll see our giant wall of work stuff, illustrator’s techniques, and a little bit of the making of the Proverbs Wisdom Series video. Plus, meet illustrator Everett who created all the Read Scripture posters!

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Live Q+R: Leviticus

Do you have questions about the Torah laws concerning tattoos, tithing, blood sacrifice and more? Tim and Jon answer viewer questions on the 3rd book of the Bible, Leviticus! If you haven’t already, check out the Read Scripture Leviticus video and then LET’S DO THIS.

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Live Q+R: Exodus Part 1

If Disney’s “The Prince of Egypt” is your main reference for the story of Moses and the Israelites, this video is for you! Come along as Tim and Jon answer questions about God’s chosen people and their journey out of Egypt.

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Live Q+R: Heaven and Earth

Is there marriage in Heaven? Are our views about heaven different than the Israelites? How will TBP celebrate their 2-year anniversary? Get answers to these inquiries and more, as Jon and Tim answer questions about our first theme video: Heaven+Earth. 

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BTS#013: 3 Ways to Get a Poster

Probably the #1 question we get asked: “How can I get one of those cool posters?” This video holds all the answers, you guys. Plus, Tim and Jon ride bikes! Ken talks strategy! Miriam grooves in the car to Maroon 5!

Bible Project
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Live Q+R: Genesis Part 2

This was our second live-stream Q+R that, due to the wonder of the internet, is still available to watch at any time! Check out the Read Scripture Genesis Part 2 video, then join the conversation and nerd out on the Bible with us! (Remember: Nerding out is a good thing).

Bible Project
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Live Q+R: Genesis Part 1

Welcome to our new Bible Project web endeavor: the live Q+R (Question and Response). In these videos we’ll be going more in depth into our fully animated videos and answering specific questions from BP viewers in the Youtube community.

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BTS#005: Deuteronomy Sneak Peek

What’s next? Deuteronomy! We’re finishing up the Torah series, closing out the story of the Israelites as Coach Moses gives them the pep talk to enter the Promised Land. Plus, you’ll meet illustrator Kayla–who talks about the artistic process behind the upcoming video.

Bible Project
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BTS#004: The Big Picture & How to pronounce ‘Torah’

Jon walks us through the Big Picture (capitalized for emphasis) of what’s coming up for The Bible Project in 2016. Tim makes a cameo appearance and mentions blueberry crumble. We all learn how to say the word “Torah.” And you can find out info on reading through the bible with us!

Bible Project
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BTS#003: Book of Numbers Discussion – What is Manna?

Get ready, Tim and Jon are gonna throw out some super-special tidbits from the Numbers video! Plus, you’ll get to meet illustrator Mac (who drew the “gnarliest” Balaam ever), see a deleted animation of Moses as a Jedi knight, and dive into what “manna” is (Spoiler: not a delicious sounding thing).

Bible Project
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BTS#002: What is “The Great Command?”

Have you ever wondered about the 613 laws God gave to the Israelites? What’s the deal with all this talk about being un-clean? Why can’t we wear poly-cotton blend again? What did Jesus say about the laws? In this behind the scenes video Tim talks a little bit more about the law and how it … Continued