“Where does he find this stuff?” It’s the question asked over and over again by people wanting to find the interesting tidbits that make for spell-binding teaching. The unfortunate answer is often that a lot of boring research will yield one or two gems.
However, there are a few repositories for these gems online. Here are three of my favorites:
Follow The Rabbi — Teaching by Ray Vander Laan on the Jewishness of Jesus that was a source of much of Rob Bell’s early teaching on the subject. The site is not totally clear or easy to use, but it’s worth the extra time digging. For the largest portion of the stash scroll down to read, click on browse more guides, and then click on articles.
Biblical Archaeology Society — This is a fascinating site full of exactly what its name implies. Pictures, ebooks, articles, you name it. I will often log on to BAS and just search the name of a city or person mentioned in the text I am teaching to see what sort of archaeology there is to inform the text.
Wikipedia/Media — In Study after study, the accuracy of wikipedia has been verified as surpassing Encyclopedia Britannica. However, I find it most helpful in finding links to articles on other sites. But the real gem is wikiMEDIA. It is full of great images, classic artwork, and some audio and video. The best part is that it is all free to use.
Go forth and rock some Bible background!
Jeremy Steele has been working in youth ministry for the past sixteen years and now serves as the Next Generation Minister at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, AL. He writes for Group Magazine, RETHINK Church and various publications and organizations. You can find a link to all the places he contributes on his website at JeremyWords.com.
Follow him on twitter: twitter.com/unpretending