I am a retired educator who has spent over 35 years studying and at various times, teaching the Bible. God’s Word is so precious to me. My denominational background is Southern Baptist. My family has always been actively involved in church. I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 6.
Have you ever noticed how God opens your eyes to see something you’ve never seen before and then as you seek, He reveals more and more? In 2012, I had read through the Amplified Bible chronologically. One of my many realizations was that creation, in some form, is mentioned continually throughout the Bible.
On August 8, 2013 a Goggle search yielded reading the Bible in 3D by Michael Bull. Through this book, Michael showed me the creation pattern, God forms then God fills for a future. This pattern is repeated over and over throughout the Bible. I created a PowerPoint as a way to help me internalize this pattern. With 3D PageFlip Professional, the ppt became a flipbook.
In the spring of 2014, I made the comment to my pastor that despite my involvement in church, group Bible studies and personal Bible studies, in many ways, I was Bible illiterate. While I was familiar with many parts of the Bible, I didn’t have an overall view of all of it. As I left his office, I believe God spoke to my heart and said, “As a teacher, how would you teach an overview of the Bible to children and youth.” Since I am a visual learner, I knew my “product” would include lots of pictures.
It took a while to get started however the pieces began to come together. I really enjoy the Bible Reference Game app on my Kindle. The game displays a verse with four references. While I knew various verses were in one of the four gospels, often I didn’t know which gospel. Therefore, I decided to start my overview with Matthew, Mark Luke and John. A few weeks later, I “saw in my head” a four columns table that would allow me to place pictures side by side to create a pictorial harmony of the gospels. From the beginning, my desire was that every picture would be public domain or permission granted with credit given. To give credit, I assigned a color to every site and every picture from that site was framed in its assigned color. At last count, I have used twenty-one different websites for graphics.
One of my early resources for combining the four gospels was The Story of Jesus This site was a great beginning however it didn’t cover every scripture. I soon realized I needed a resource with more details. One of many “Thank you, Lord” moments occurred when I found The Fourfold Gospel – by McGarvey and Pendleton. (At some point I will research whether or not there is a family connection between Phillip Pendleton and my husband’s family. For today, I’m just thankful for their work. Mine would not exist without theirs and the work of many others.)
In the beginning, finding accurate copyright free graphics was very difficult. One site was particularly helpful, Visual Bible Alive (VBA). This site contained the work of many artists and along with Bible Picture Gallery provided great encouragement for me to continue working on my pictorial harmony of the gospels. However, often there were only one or two graphics for each story. One morning, a search yielded Free Bible Images. The graphics were better than I could have ever hoped for. Free Bible Images told the story using multiple graphics. Their vision is to illustrate the entire Bible. Many artists have joined with them to accomplish this vision. What a blessing this site has been! Soon after finding Free Bible Images I returned to VBA to discover the site had been closed. How thankful I am that it was available in the beginning. Without it, I might have given up creating a pictorial harmony of the gospels for lack of graphics. I also might not have discovered James Tissot.
Throughout this project my need has continually been supplied. Of course there were moments of frustration but as I would seek, God always supplied.
During the spring of 2016, I completed my pictorial harmony of the gospels. It had been such a wonderful journey that I decided to start over to incorporate more graphics and to connect each graphic with the scripture it portrayed.
This time as I read Matthew 1:1-17, I realized there was biblical and historical information on many of the people listed in Jesus’ legal genealogy. At first, I was just going to use these 17 verses and give a short summary of each person mentioned. As I studied, I realized that these 17 verses provide an overview of much of the Old Testament. To incorporate more biblical events, I used colored pages to represent the three groups of fourteen generations in the genealogy and white pages for additional stories. I hope that The Royal and Legal Genealogy of Jesus will be as helpful to my grandson and to you as its been to me.
My third flipbook started as a visual in Vacation Bible School (VBS) during the summer of 2017. The literature used two stories from Genesis and then three more from the gospels. To help the kids see the whole, I searched for a simple overview and found the one-sentence summary of each book of the Bible was written by Jeffrey Kranz. I made very slight changes to fit the format and goals for this project. During VBS, I printed posters for each book and mounted them on the wall. Later I realized that with a flipbook, I could combine Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and show which chapters included a particular story. The Overview of the Books of the Bible also created a way for me to share a portion of my pictorial harmony of the gospels.
My plan is to provide my grandson with hardcopies of these books so that we can sit and read and learn together. However, the other day I pulled up The Overview of the Books of the Bible on my computer. My grandson watched as I clicked on 34 which yielded the story of the paralyzed man lowered through the roof provided from Free Bible Images. He sat and listened to the whole story. Online does have the advantage of connecting to additional resources.
These three books have given me so much joy. I constantly see God’s Word in His creation and His creation in His Word. The list of names in Matthew 1:1-17 have become real people to me as I imagined Nahshon and others stepping into the Red Sea. I don’t have words for my journey of studying the gospels. It was as if each day there was a feast prepared for me. I never knew where my study would lead me but it always took me to where I needed to be.
May God bless and keep you as you journey through His World and His Word,
Lolly to my grandson
Lu Lu to my family and friends