Have you ever had one of those DVDs that you think is going to be really neat and you are really excited about but when it is time to put it in, the kids all moan and groan? Well, Exploring Ephesus was this video for me. FishFlix.com sent us this really neat looking video, taking us on a tour of biblical Ephesus and the surrounding areas. When the giggly girls moaned and groaned, I told them that it was fine for them to skeedadle out of the room because this review was for me and At Home Dad. They didn’t have to watch it. However, once it got started, guess who was in the room pretty quickly, engrossed in what was going on – yep, all three of the giggly girls. And it fit into our Bible study perfectly because they were studying the book of Ephesians in preparation for Lads to Leaders when we got the video.
FishFlix.com is an online store that specializes in Christian movies and TV shows. This family friendly site has a lot to offer and a desire to meet your needs in quality entertainment. This company was born out of a desire to let the world know how rich the country of Turkey is in biblical history. FishFlix also partners with a radio ministry in Turkey to help spread the gospel in that country.
Exploring Ephesus features Dr. Andy Jackson and Dr. Mark Wilson. This video allows you to be a fly on the wall, or camera as the case might be, listening to the conversation between these two scholars as they discuss the impact of culture and religion on the region and the dissemination of Christianity. As they travel through the area that today we call Turkey, we see the old city of Ephesus, the island of Patmos, Laodicea, and Smyrna.
I have always been fascinated by the apostle Paul, so to get to view Ephesus and the surrounding area is exciting to me. Dr. Jackson and Dr. Wilson’s discussion is conversational but filled with history and learning. For example, at the time Paul was in Ephesus, it was the 4th largest city in the Roman empire; it was the capital of the province of Asia; it had a large Jewish population; it was a transportation hub of both land and seas; and it was a center of Artemis worship.
Have you thought about what the church was like in Ephesus? Our guides tell us about it and share with us examples of where they would have met. During the time of Paul in Ephesus, the church would have been meeting in houses. But there houses are nothing like our houses. We are shown examples of what terrace houses were like. These are the houses where the elite of the city would have lived. There was beautiful artwork drawn onto the rock of the walls and ceilings, as well as on stone floors to create the illusion of rugs. Even now, these are beautiful. There were several small rooms shown but they also showed that each terrace house would have had one large room where the house church of 40 or 50 people would have met. Now I don’t have to imagine it anymore. They showed me.
And remember Acts 19? Demetrius the silversmith and the riot against Paul because the craftsmen were losing money and afraid that their businesses would close? Dr. Jackson and Dr. Wilson take us from the commercial agora (business center) where the silversmith would have been selling idols of Artemis, down the road that the riot would have taken them and up into the theatre that held 25,000 people. They allow us to see, and they bring to life, the emotion that would have been flowing both in the Ephesians and in Paul and his companions. This passage comes to life now in a way it didn’t before. And this happened with so many biblical passages because I was shown:
- caves where churches might have met;
- the island of Patmos;
- the cave where John received the Revelation;
- walking from city to city, over hundreds of miles;
- the Ephesian Gate;
- aqueducts and water systems and how important they were;
- the challenges the Christians in Ephesus faced striving to follow God in the center of Artemis worship and emperor worship; and so much more.
The cinematography in Exploring Ephesus is so well done. We are shown beautiful vistas, blue waters, and majestic ruins. We see landscapes that are indescribable. We are taken into areas that are impossible to imagine so that now we don’t have to. Just seeing the video and the landscape allowed me to learn so much about this land that the apostles Paul and John traveled. But to add more interest, throughout the video, little tidbits are added to the bottom of the screen, giving you more information relevant to the site or the history of what is on the screen.
We thoroughly enjoyed this video. In fact, I learned so much that I have four pages of notes on the video. There were a lot of little things that brought this period of the New Testament to life. I know that we will be viewing this again and using it in the future. It is a treasure to have found FishFlix.com and Exploring Ephesus.
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