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by Kari Aanestad, M.Div. Middler
EntertheBible.org is a free online resource that thoroughly explores all 66 books of the Bible in a fun, interactive and completely unique way. It was recently released by Luther Seminary to the public. The process took five years and thousands of hours of preparation by more than 40 people.
"The project is a massive undertaking, but the site is truly a gift to God's church and the people of God," said Sally Peters, Enter the Bible project manager and director of the Center for Lifelong Learning. "We're blessed by incredibly talented, knowledgeable faculty, and this site allows us to share them with the world."
The project began in 2004 when a few Luther Seminary faculty members and media consultants discussed creating new multimedia resources for studying the Bible. Nearly five years later the work of 23 faculty members, 10 staff members and at least 10 other individuals has finally culminated into a completely unique product. "There really is nothing else like it out there," said Peters.
What makes Enter the Bible unique is not only the depth of the information it provides on the Bible but also the breadth. Luther Seminary faculty members provide summaries, outlines, backgrounds and information about introductory issues and theological themes on all 66 books of the Bible. In total there are close to 3,000 pages of information. "The overall content on the Web site is easily an encyclopedia worth of work," said Peters.
"The Web site demonstrates that Luther Seminary takes deep, critical study of the Bible seriously," said Matthew Skinner, associate professor of New Testament. "It shows that we intend to be at the forefront of discussions about the Bible and its interpretation." Skinner serves as general editor for the site's New Testament content. Fred Gaiser, professor of Old Testament, is the editor for the Old Testament content and general editor for the site.
In addition to thoughtful summaries, the site offers other resources that allow individuals to more deeply explore each book. Faculty members interpret certain passages, explain important people and places, and speak about themes in video clips that can be streamed over the Web site. Centuries of artwork inspired by each book's content are available for viewing and maps of the geographical setting of each book were specifically designed for the Web site.
Anyone can visit the site and use its resources for free. Free membership includes bonus features such as tracking the pages previously visited, a notepad where users can record article details and a profile allowing members access to their notes or bookmarked pages.
"The site doesn't try to spoon-feed—or force-feed—people all the answers," said Skinner. "It offers information and perspectives that will make people more informed and intelligent readers."
Added Peters, "There are infinite ways of approaching reading and studying the Bible." The vastness of Enter the Bible both allows and inspires infinite ways of doing just that. "The site's content was written with care and demonstrates deep biblical knowledge. You can really trust it."
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