|Here are some of the best resources I've come
across—from extremely varied sources. I'll continue updating this page as I find more
(January 2002 update: I have several books,
videos, and Bible studies I need to add . . . and will try to get to in
the next month.)
— Get ready for a
huge surprise in The
Visual Bible™'s stunning "Matthew" video,
taken word-for-word from the New International Version® (NIV) Bible.
Once you see this "Jesus movie," you'll never
question why so many people were drawn to Jesus 2,000 years
ago—and why they still are today. The Jesus you see
nailed to a cross will be someone you now know and
care deeply about. This four-volume video set takes
you through every word and event of the Gospel written by
one of Jesus' 12 disciples, Matthew. This
strong, passionate, intimate, laughing Jesus will absolutely
blow you away. Bruce
Marchiano plays Jesus.
I've recently found "Matthew" on DVD and VHS at much lower
prices than several years ago. I don't endorse any
of these sites or get money from them (in fact, I've never
even ordered from them), but here are some I happened to find that
are selling "Matthew" at good prices (you must decide
whether to trust ordering with these sites):
Worldwide Christian Stores (DoveStore online).
When searching a site for "Matthew," be sure you do two things:
- Use "matthew visual bible" in your
search—not just "matthew"
- Be sure you get the full 4-hour version;
shorter (condensed) versions are not as good.
In the Footsteps of Jesus — Bruce
Marchiano's award-winning first book takes you on an intimate adventure into the life of Christ
as Bruce describes the Jesus of joy he discovered while immersed
in filming The
Visual Bible™'s film, "Matthew." He challenges all to take
a fresh look at Christ, who is often lost in somber
religiosity—a Savior who freely shares His affection,
compassion, and joyous excitement with His children.
In ministry, Bruce reveals how his faith went from a simple
belief in Christ to a profound awareness of God's powerful
reality in his life. (You can go to the In
of Jesus excerpt section of this web site to see
seven excerpts, along with photos.) I'm a big reader and have a
lot of favorite books—but I must say, this one is my
all-time favorite, of any category. And I've
stick-noted and highlighted it to death. I can never
read any part of this book without getting extremely excited
about Jesus and at how wonderful He makes our lives.
Are you depressed? Read this book.
2007 update: You can find this book at
Amazon.com and on
Bruce's web site.
Jesus . . .
Yesterday, Today, Forever —
second book, Bruce
Marchiano digs deeper into the reality and the heart of
Jesus: "What was it like 2,000 years ago?
What was it really like?" This book is
filled with more than 80 breathtaking photos from
"Matthew" ... that again show the Jesus of
joy and compassion so well. And the first page I
happened to read in this book (page 61) made me cry—tears
of love and awe for this Jesus and how He feels about us.
(You can go to the Jesus...YTF
excerpt section of this web site to see nine
excerpts, along with photos.)
2007 update: You can find this book at
Amazon.com and on
Bruce's web site.
of Bruce Marchiano, whose life radically changed when he played a stunningly real,
compassionate, joyful Jesus in The Visual Bible™'s
"Matthew." If you ever get a chance to hear Bruce speak,
do it— you'll never be the same. I see Jesus so easily
through Bruce—so much of Jesus has rubbed off on him. Every time I hear
him speak or read his words (especially in his In
the Footsteps of Jesus book)—even if I've
heard them before—it makes me love Jesus even more.
Ministries, radio/TV, audiotapes, etc.:
(here are some of my favorites, although not a
Unlimited (Dallas and Linda Strom), at www.LifeRow.org
—Dallas and Linda head the unique prison ministry I've was
privileged to get involved with in 1999. Their prison
ministry changes the lives of the inmates and of the
volunteers. "You'll never be the same after going to
Gatesville (Texas prison)," they all say. "Being
involved with this ministry has spoiled me for luxury—the
volunteer explains. Linda just wrote her "Karla
Faye Tucker: Set Free" book in 2000—the story of
how God changed Tucker, convicted of a brutal double murder, and
continues to change lives through her even though she was
executed in 1998. Linda's own story
is also a highlight of the book. Linda is one of my
favorite people—as one of her friends put it, "When
I think of Linda, I see her embracing with her eyes, then her
arms, anyone who comes within range."
I can't think of any vacation I'd rather take than going
with this group of volunteers, of multiple colors,
denominations, and backgrounds, to prison—and not only do I
learn more about God, but I have an absolute ball with this team
of volunteers. And then there's their "secret
weapon," too—tiny little 80-year-old "Sister
G." (See my "Prison
Ministry 2000—A Glimpse of
Heaven" and "Prison
Ministry 2001—What I Learned" articles for more.)
Well—surprise, surprise! In mid-January 2001, I got the
privilege of taking over the programming of the www.LifeRow.org
web site ... I never would have thought that would
happen. God is something else—here I am, for the second
time, doing a web site for a ministry or company that I
for Living (Charles "Chuck" Swindoll) —Astonishingly
insightful radio messages (re-broadcasts of his sermons as he
pastors Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas)—I'm
always left slack-jawed and/or teary-eyed at the awesome
goodness and wisdom of this God of ours and His truly
magnificent Son. Chuck writes some great books, too (try his Moses
and Joseph biographies—two of a HUGE list
of great ones).
You can listen to his radio messages on the Internet at his
Insight for Living web site, and he has tons of audio tape
series that are excellent. One of my favorites from
anyone is his "The Majesty of God's Son" audiotapes ...
I learned so much background information that answered many of
my questions about Jesus' life, Jewish customs 2,000 years ago,
and especially about His trials and crucifixion. I love
the way Chuck goes into the original meaning of the language of
the Bible—sometimes that makes all the difference in the world
in understanding what God was—and is—up to.
Ministries (Charles Stanley) —I stumbled across this radio
ministry, too—but as far as I'm concerned, it's a real
"find." In fact, only a few days before I
launched this web site, Charles Stanley answered what has been
my "big God question" for
years now: "If the Old Testament folks were 'saved by
faith,' then why did they need Jesus? Since the
Bible says that all humans of all time need Jesus, then
this Old Testament issue really confuses things. And Jesus
Himself made a very clear, controversial statement on this in
John 14:6 (New Testament): 'I am the way and the
truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except
through Me.' "
there was an answer, but I couldn't find it no matter how hard I
tried. And then I heard it, in two key words ("believed
God"), on the
radio. As I suspected, it was right under my nose.
The title of this broadcast was "The Cross: A Debt Paid in Full,"
which I heard on April
19, 2000. I can't find it on the InTouch internet
archives anymore in 2007. However, the gist of
what Stanley was teaching
is on my web site on the "God's Story" page. It was so
critical to my understanding that I put it on my site for others
- A good explanation/description of the
main English Bible translations (versions)
and how they differ (and a great way to pick the one you think
will be best for you) is in Josh McDowell's little book, Reasons
Skeptics Should Consider Christianity. Look for
the chapter called "Which Version of the Bible Should I
Use?" This information made it very easy for me to
choose my main Bible version and a couple of backup versions for
cross reference. These are the two I've found most useful:
New International Version (NIV) translation—an extremely readable
version and one of the most-used available (it's also the translation used as the only
script for The Visual Bible™'s "Matthew"
video). The NIV Bible version is a good, accurate
translation that translates the idea/meaning of the
original languages of the Bible into modern
English. However, using another translation along with the
NIV, such as the very accurate New American Standard Bible (NASB), is also quite useful to be sure you are coming up
with good interpretations.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) —an
excellent, extremely accurate (yet still very readable) translation.
The NASB is a word-for-word translation from the original
languages of the Bible into modern English. You
can find this translation used in several good study Bibles.
The Quest Study Bible (NIV) —great
for answering a lot of those hard Bible questions.
may eventually want another reference study Bible that has extensive
cross references to other parts of the Bible.
NIV Study Bible —Lots of study
notes, plus cross references to other Bible passages from just
about every verse in the Bible.
Application Study Bible—I've heard a lot of
people whose opinions I respect say this is a good one, too—and
it looks like it is available in three translations with a
fourth on the way: New International Version® (NIV), New
Living Translation (NLT), King James Version (KJV), and New King
James Version (NKJV).
And don't be fooled by the term
"student Bible" in any translation—I find that these "student"
Bibles are some of the best whether you're a college kid or a
LOT older. Do you want to learn and understand and get to
know this amazingly good God? Then go into the Bible as a
"student"—or better yet, as a "child"; I
guarantee it works:
"I tell you the truth, unless you
change and become like little children, you will never enter the
kingdom of heaven." —Jesus (Matthew