JACKSON, Tenn. – July 8, 2010 – Students of the Bible will soon have a new resource at their disposal, thanks in part to the efforts of Union University faculty.
BibleMesh, a new, interactive, subscription-based website that will launch later this month, was designed for individuals, church groups and teachers to use as an online educational platform for pursuing biblical literacy.
“One of the greatest challenges our culture faces is low levels of biblical literacy,” Gregory Thornbury, dean of the School of Christian Studies, said. Thornbury joined other like-minded leaders in the Christian intellectual community, including C. Ben Mitchell, Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy at Union, in seeking a way to combat this problem.
Working together under the leadership of Emmanuel A. Kampouris, publisher of the Kairos Journal, they created BibleMesh. The goal of the online resource, Thornbury said, is to “re-enchant people with the biblical story.”
A focus on teaching the biblical story with an emphasis on the gospel sets BibleMesh apart from other online Bible study sources, Thornbury added.
“You can’t teach the Bible just as facts, you have to tell the story,” Thornbury said.
To do so, the website contains a sequence of videos that tell the biblical story visually. As theological editor, Thornbury wrote an 80-page summary of the biblical story that served as the framework for the video scripts. Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and a leader in the Christian community, is a primary commentator in the 90-minute video that tells the story of the Bible.
Thornbury, Mitchell and other professors and pastors also narrated some of the short video commentaries on specific characters, concepts, places and events in the Bible.
In addition to the videos, BibleMesh provides maps, articles, tests and even social networking in an easy-to-navigate format that is individualized to users through membership log-in. Each of these learning tools is designed to engage the user so that he or she can retain the information found on the website.
Before the website was available to the public, Union students became the first class to test it for learning effectiveness. Mark Dubis and Taylor Worley, both professors in the School of Christian Studies at Union, incorporated BibleMesh into their Old and New Testament Survey classes, respectively, during the 2009-2010 academic terms.
While the website has been useful in the classroom, Thornbury said BibleMesh was not created specifically for use by professors.
“It is primarily for people who are wanting to re-engage in the faith,” he said.
The new study resource is being promoted at several conferences in the United States and the United Kingdom this summer.
Find BibleMesh online at www.biblemesh.com.
By Samantha Adams (’13)