Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Exploring Ephesus - City of Apostles (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

I am fascinated by Biblical archaeology, but I've never been to any of the sites mentioned in the Bible, nor does it seem likely that I'll go any time soon. So I have to do my sight-seeing through DVDs, and was especially glad to review Exploring Ephesus from FishFlix.com.
FishFlix.com Review
FishFlix.com is an online store dedicated to making Christian and family-friendly films available at great prices. They have thousands of titles that include drama, apologetics materials, and children's titles. The company is owned by Lukas Media, a family owned business seeking to honor God with hard work, good service, and quality products. With all that to recommend them, I have started browsing through the online store, and there really are a ton of titles to choose from!

We were given the DVD Exploring Ephesus to review. This DVD has a running time of about one hour, and the viewer is invited to come along on a tour of the city of Ephesus and some of the surrounding areas in Turkey. Your hosts are historians Dr Andrew Jackson and Dr. Mark Wilson. Together they explore the excavated sites in Ephesus and they discuss its importance in the life and ministry of the apostle Paul and the early church. They also travel to nearby sites, including the Isle of Patmos, where the apostle John was exiled and received the Revelation.

Ephesus was the center of Paul's ministry in what was then known as the province of Asia, and he spent three years there, so several significant events in his life took place there. It was home to Temple of Artemis, and this is where the riot mentioned in Acts happened. Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians from Ephesus, and tradition holds that John wrote his gospel and epistles in Ephesus. It is also believed that John spent his last days in Ephesus after returning from his exile on Patmos.

Along with the views of Roman theatres, pagan temples, aqueducts, streets and gates that date back to the time of the early church, Dr Jackson and Dr Wilson provide commentary explaining the significance of the sites and references in the New Testament. For example, the seven churches in Revelations are all within the same area, and what is known about life in each of those cities gives insight into the rebukes and commendations given to each church. And the Isle of Patmos - it's now a Greek tourist destination, but during the time that John was exiled there, it was quite bleak, with only a very small population and a Roman garrison. Even that was news to me - I guess somehow I pictured John being dropped off on a deserted island! We also saw the remains of a home that would have been very like the one Aquila and Priscilla lived in, and was mentioned in Paul's letters, where he sends greetings to or from a "church that meets in their house."

The Bonus Features included further discussion of the book of Ephesians, the seven churches mentioned in Revelations, and a segment on the lessons Christians can learn today from those letters.

View the trailer:

What we liked best:

  • I liked that the two experts essentially carried on a conversation with each other throughout, and that's how all the information was imparted to the viewer. Yes, it was a little contrived at times, but it didn't feel wooden or overly scripted, so I preferred it over a detached lecture.
  • I loved seeing arches, caves, and parts of buildings that had been there since the apostles had ministered in those locations, and it gave wonderful context to the stories and events mentioned in Acts and in the epistles. 
  • The combination of travelogue and discussion of Scripture kept my attention throughout - sometimes on the edge of my seat! Really! Both men read directly from the New Testament often when discussing particular passages, and the references are always given in a sub-title.
  • From time to time additional information on the sites is given in sub-titles as well.

Our bottom line: I really enjoyed this insightful travelogue to Ephesus and Patmos, and I think there's so much information to take in that it's worth viewing a few times to catch it all. It's a great addition to the video library for anyone interested in Biblical history or archaeology, and I think it would be valuable to students when they are focusing on the history of the early church.
FishFlix.com Review

Would you like to explore Ephesus, or other films from FishFlix? Here's what you need to know:
Visit the website: http://FishFlix.com/

Pricing: Exploring Ephesus, City of Apostles DVD is currently available for $11.99.

You can follow FishFlix on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Google+, and on YouTube.

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for more information and to read other reviews. Crew members reviewed several different titles from FishFlix.com so be sure to check out all the reviews!
FishFlix.com Review

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