It’s no secret around here that we’re huge fans of Dave Stotts and Drive Thru History®. We love the series so much that I even wrote a post about it. So, when we found out we could review Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, we jumped at the chance. This is a fascinating series that kept both me and Bookworm captivated.
About “The Gospels”
This series contains 18 – 30 minute episodes. They cover the following topics:
Episode 1: The Historical Landscape
Episode 2: The Announcements
Episode 3: Jesus is Born
Episode 4: Jesus Grows Up
Episode 5: Jesus Starts His Ministry
Episode 6: Jesus Returns to Galilee
Episode 7: Jesus Begins His Miracles
Episode 8: Jesus Teaches with Authority
Episode 9: The Sermon on the Mount
Episode 10: Jesus Travels the Sea of Galilee
Episode 11: Jesus Travels North
Episode 12: A Final Trip to Jerusalem
Episode 13: Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem
Episode 14: The Last Supper
Episode 15: The Trial of Jesus
Episode 16: The Crucifixion of Jesus
Episode 17: The Resurrection of Jesus
Episode 18: Who is Jesus?
Through the course of this series, Stotts travels to more than 50 ancient sites! I found this series absolutely fascinating because, let’s be honest, most of us will never have the opportunity to travel to these sites. Stotts, with his usual dose of humor, shows the reader the sites and explains their significance.
One thing I found very interesting is that when we read about Jesus being born in a stable, the stable was likely an area underneath the home as that is where most people in that time kept their livestock. The stable was not a separate building as we tend to think of today.
This series also serves as part history lesson. For instance, in episode seven, Stotts explains that Jewish marriage took place in three phases at the time of Jesus. At the time of the engagement, the man signs a contract agreeing to the dowry, or purchase price of the bride. Once the couple gets engaged, they are considered married, but they can’t live together for several years, until the man raises the money for the dowry. Then, they are free to partake in the last part of the wedding ritual, including a 7 day wedding party, and become officially married. Mary and Joseph were in the second stage of this process when Jesus was miraculously conceived.
How We Used “The Gospels”
When we received this, I had Bookworm set aside his religion curriculum to use this in its place. Bookworm would watch an episode, and then he would answer the questions contained in the little booklet that comes with the DVD. The booklet contains pictures from the series, as well as summaries of each episode and “side roads” that give a bit of additional information about the Bible readings that are covered. Each episode has five questions to answer. For instance, for Chapter 8, which covers Jesus’ interaction with the Samarian woman at the well, one of the questions is, “Who was the ‘Woman at the Well’, and why is her story so powerful?”
During the review period, Bookworm watched approximately two episodes a week. However, I could see where someone could go at a pace of one episode per week and really delve into the information presented.
I also watched the episodes and enjoyed every single one of them. They are very entertaining and informative. The scenery is gorgeous, and Stotts does an excellent job giving context for every site he visits. He references Bible verses and helps explain them within the context of the ancient sites.
This series is designed for 5th graders and up. I highly recommend it as it brings the gospels to life. I plan to watch this series again after I finish it, and I can’t wait until the girls are old enough to watch it. I can’t recommend this series highly enough.
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