During a trip to Israel two years ago, Focus on the Family President James Dobson was struck by the country’s geographical and archaeological ties to modern biblical teaching.
But it wasn’t just enough for him to make that observation and return home.
He wanted to share what he had learned with the people who support his Colorado Springs-based media ministry.
The result is Focus on the Family’s new biblical video series, “That the World May Know,” which takes viewers to the land of the Old and New Testaments.
The content is based on the teachings of religious historian Ray Vander Laan, who led that 1993 tour of Israel and inspired Dobson’s project.
“He was really excited about the material and its application in helping families understand the Bible,” Vander Laan said.
Vander Laan, an instructor at Holland Christian Schools in Holland, Mich., and host of the video, examines Israel’s geology, archaeology and culture to provide contemporary applications for the Bible.
“One of the focuses of my teachings has been to understand that Christianity is rooted in Jewishness. The Bible is a Jewish book, and we must put the characters back into that context,” Vander Laan said.
The video series consists of 27 “faith lessons.”
The first faith lesson, for example, explores the importance of Israel’s location.
“It was the most public piece of real estate in the ancient world, and God put people on the crossroads so they would discover Israel’s God. As people of God today, we’re supposed to live on the crossroads of life,” said Vander Laan.
The first 10 faith lessons are from the Old Testament. The remaining 17 are from the New Testament.
Eight tapes make up the series, which will be released through the spring of 1997. The first two videos premiered this month.
An American and Israeli team filmed the video in about three weeks, and all post-production work has been done in Colorado Springs.
“It’s not your typical Holy Land travelogue,” said Bob Garner, senior producer at Focus on the Family Films, who produced and directed the video series. “It’s unique in bringing God’s word to ancient cultures and how that applies to our culture.”
Full orchestration and 110 pieces of original artwork depicting the ancient land and its people also are part of the work.
The video series may be purchased with an accompanying 140-page book with each video set, or transparencies.
The first set is available from Focus on the Family, 8605 Explorer Drive, Colorado Springs, Colo., and at Christian bookstores.
The series’ price ranges from $35 to $120, depending on which package is purchased.