It is probably unnecessary to have permission from anyone to use online materials that are not copyrighted; however, if you use the materials you should credit the individual who created them. If you are uncertain of copyright issues, it is always a good idea to ask. If you intend to put the material on your own website, you should ask permission.
Text and Audio Bibles
There are several sources of online Bibles, but this presentation will feature primarily Bible.is, one of the projects of Faith Comes By Hearing. But I will mention another valuable site, Bible.com that provides several similar options.
Bible.is provides free access to "the world's largest Bible language library." It's purpose is to provide "a vast library of Bible translations to bring God's church together making disciples from every nation, tribe, language, and people with the tools and technology of today." Originally launched in 2010 with 218 languages, the site as of this writing features the Bible in 1182 languages. "From mobile apps and MP3s to podcasts and Proclaimers, our mission is to provide people everywhere with free access to God's Word in every translated language."
Text Bibles - In some languages the Bibles are "text only" and must be read using an Internet connection. The catalog of text versions in different languages notes whether you can read online on your computer or whether it is also accessible through a free mobile APP, available at the Apple Store or Google Play for all smart phone devices and tablets. At this writing the APP is available in Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Portuguese, French, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, and Russian. Many of the text Bibles are also available as "high quality, dramatized audio [Bibles] in hundreds of languages." Put on ear phones and listen any time, any place you have an Internet connection.
Audio Bibles - Besides Bibles which can be listened to online with Internet access, Bible.is provides audio Bibles that, once downloaded, no longer need Internet access. These can be transferred to smart phone devices and tablets, directly from one phone to another or by installing a micro-SD chip. Currently available are portions of the Bible in some languages and entire Bibles in other languages as an Audio Bible in multiple styles, translations and/or dialects. The 954 audio languages cover a range from A (Acateco - Guatemala) to Z (Zulgo - Cameroon). Open the language link to determine if there is an audio version available. The website states that there are still "at least 1860 languages without a single verse of Scripture." Teams of volunteers are working to resolve that problem. You can download the audio Bibles through the Bible.is site
The Deaf Bible
A special resource available through the Bible.is website is the Deaf Bible, which features Bible video recordings in 18 sign languages [American (SLS and SLV), Burundian, Columbian, Ethiopian, French, Ghanaian, Indian (Andhra Pradseh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu), Japanese, Kenyan, Malaysian, Myanmar (Yangon), Nigerian, Spanish (Catalan), Tanzanian, and Ugandan] - with more languages coming soon. Scroll down on the flag in the top left of the Deaf Bible website to access the various languages.
The Visual Bible project was actually two separate projects to provide video illustrations of verbatim readings of the New Testament. (My information about the project is from Wikipedia). DVDs can be ordered online as a complete set or as individual books, but individual books are also freely-available online and can be downloaded from YouTube. (I use VideoDownloadHelper and the web browser Firefox).
The first project used the New International Version (NIV) word for word in the English version, and vernacular Bibles in versions which were dubbed in Spanish, Cantonese and Mandarin and included
The second Visual Bible project included
- The Gospel of John (2:53:12) using the text of the Good News Bible.
- The Gospel of Luke (4:12:04)
Movies and Movie Clips
The WELS Films
As of March 2016, the following films, produced by BT Media and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, were available from Northwestern Publishing House. These movies (DVDs) are available for sale singly ($14.50 for single copies) and in large quantities (100 for $200 plus postage). Two of the films, Come Follow Me (Spanish) and My Son My Savior (Spanish), are currently on the Academia Cristo website available in Spanish to either view online or download free of charge.
Other video Bible stories - movies online
Jesus (128 minutes) is the complete 1979 film based on the Gospel of Luke and narrates the life of Jesus. With an internet connection it can be watched online, or downloaded to your computer to watch later without an internet connection. It is in English as well as dubbed in over 1300 world languages (from A-hmao to Zuni). There are also 61 video clips (28 seconds to 4 minutes long) featuring important sections of the film which can be downloaded and easily installed on cell phones to show as conversation starters and then transferred to other phones. Once installed on a phone, no further internet access is needed to play them. (See conference session on "Spreading the Gospel Phone to Phone.")
The entire Jesus Story and other films are also available in English (as well as other languages for some of the films — Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Urdu, and more) when accessed with an APP available free from Apple's App Store or Google Play. When viewing the films through the APP, you are accessing the Internet.
More films are offered on the Jesus Film Media Site. They can be viewed online, and most can be downloaded to view off-line. Several of the films contain parts edited from the Jesus film and are available in several languages. Direct URLs are included and the online descriptions are quoted below.
The Story of Jesus for Children (1999) was "interwoven into an edited version of the original film 'Jesus' and released in 2000" (). It is 62 minutes long and available in many languages to watch online or download. The film is described online: "In the first century, a group of children meet together to talk about what they've seen and heard about Jesus. Some believe Jesus is the Son of God. But others think Jesus may just be tricking the people. The children follow Jesus around, witness His miracles, and listen to Him teach. Jesus raises a girl from the dead, calls imperfect people like tax collectors to follow Him, teaches everyone to be kind and gracious to each other, and lets a woman wash His feet with tears. He teaches in parables no one really understands, calms a raging storm, gives sight to the blind, and helps those who no one sees as worth helping. He shows the children an amazing, powerful, and kind way to live. Benjamin and Sarah talk to the children watching their story about Jesus and what it means to believe who He is and accept Him as their Savior."
Rivka "is the compelling story of a first-century community experiencing the joys and sorrows that life brings. Their story demonstrates how our loving God through His Word and Holy Spirit gives us strength for the present and hope for the future. This 12-part series is designed to help women (and men) grow in their relationship with God." A direct link to the list of the 12 Episodes (each 18-27 minutes long) is available.
Magdalene Collection (58 Minutes), "the compelling film portraying Jesus' tender regard for women, is being met with incredible response around the world. Magdalena is inspiring women everywhere to realize and reclaim the purpose they were always intended for...to know Jesus, and with loving hearts and a gentle touch make Him known. This collection includes the 1-hour version of Magdalena as well as the original 82 minute director's cut. A series of short clips (2-5 minutes) with thought-provoking questions help viewers delve deeper into God's Word to discover hope for their lives."
Walking with Jesus (Africa). 5 episodes in English from 16-29 minutes long "is a mini-series designed to have new followers of Jesus grow in their relationship with Christ. The mini-series depicts common African life scenarios, modeling committed Christian discipleship. "Walking With Jesus" strengthens the African church by grounding new followers in their faith and equipping them to become fruitful members of the body of Christ."
Struggle and Triumph from Athletes in Action (34 minutes). In English with some of the athletes telling their story in their own language over English subtitles. The film is divided into six smaller sections and is described as follows: "From the grueling hours of training and repetition to the glory of the winner's podium, to be an Olympian is to experience all the hard work with no guarantee of reward. Yet it has been said that 'the important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well.' Struggle and Triumph follows the journeys of an American sprinter/bobsledder, a Kenyan marathoner, a Chinese speed skater, and a Brazilian swimmer as they share their stories of struggle and triumph in the Olympic spotlight."
Following Jesus (India) (5 Episodes, 17-20 minutes long) In English and ten languages spoken in India, "Following Jesus is a mini series designed to ground followers of Jesus in their faith and equip them to be fruitful members of Christ's body. Using storytelling techniques and incorporating images and clips from the JESUS film, "Following JESUS" teaches biblical principles and demonstrates how to live as a follower of Christ."
My Last Day (9 minutes) - a very graphic, animated story of the thief on the cross. Described online: "a prisoner watches as Jesus gets flogged in Pilate's courtyard. He remembers Jesus' teaching and wonders why they're hurting an innocent man. Horrified, he remembers his own crime. The crowds in the courtyard scream for Jesus to be crucified. The thief, another man, and Jesus are loaded with the beams for their crosses and march to Golgotha. They arrive and nails are driven through their wrists. Each man is hung on a cross, their feet nailed to a wooden shelf.Our thief claims Jesus is the Messiah and asks that Jesus remember him. Jesus promises him they will be in paradise together that day. A dark storm overwhelms the hill and Jesus dies. The thief passes away with a gasp and sees Jesus in a beautiful place."
Conversation Starters 26 short films, 1-16 minutes long, some only in English, others in additional languages, "to take the conversation deeper with 'old friends and new.' We've included questions with each film to help you get started. Our goal is to help you discover a person's story through the theme of the films. As you listen to their story, you can share your own and connect the viewer to the person of Christ."
.Bible.com also links to the Jesus film as described above, and also to clips from other films about Jesus. The Beginner's Bible on YouTube has free animated Bible stories for young children based on a best selling book of the same name by Zondervan, "an international Christian media and publishing company located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.. . . [and] . . . a founding member of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association." YouTube videos can be downloaded and shared. The videos are typically about 25 minutes long, colorful and appealing. Since there are at times some differences from the actual Bible stories, preview the videos to determine if you want to use them.
- The Dream (Pak Dtai) (19:11 minutes) Southern Thai language with English subtitles, an illustration of witnessing about Jesus
- The Final Prodigal (4:14 minutes) Hindi language film with English subtitles, a modernized version of the parable of the prodigal son with an appropriate message at the end.
- Reflection (Reflecksi) (23:25 minutes) Indonesian language film with English subtitles, has decision theology at the end, but before that a good story reflecting how a just substitute died in a sinner's place.
- There are several animated films on IndigiTube. Here is one example: The Prophets' Story in the Tatar Language (9:12 minutes) features several animated Old Testament stories (the first sin, Cain and Abel, Noah and the flood, Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac halted, Moses parting the Red Sea, The Passover, Sodom and Gomorrah - in all of them the figure of a lamb often appears), followed by New Testament examples of the fulfillment of the prophets' story from the birth of Christ through the resurrection. No English, but the story is very clear. (Also available with Korean subtitles and in several other languages).
Here are a few examples of entertaining movies, including some big Hollywood-type productions that aspire to be "epics," freely available on YouTube. Those drawn from the Bible often contain inaccuracies and imaginative (and sometimes lurid) additions to the simple biblical stories. However, they might draw the attention of some people to the real stories.
- The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) full-length movie in 23 10-minute segments that follow automatically one after the other. There is a long introduction to part 1 before the movie begins at 4:45
- The Story of Ruth (1960) full-length movie in English (2:11:39)
- One Night With The King full-length movie story of Queen Esther in English (1:54:13)
- The Book of Daniel (2014) full-length movie in English (1:27:43). The sound is not very loud, but with earphones it should be all right.
- David and Goliath (1961) full-length movie in English starring Orson Welles as King Saul (1:32:30)
- Joshua at the Battle of Jericho from Great Heroes of the Bible (1978) 59 minutes long
- Martin Luther (1953), the good old much viewed black and white film with Niall MacGinnis. This film was shown every year at Reformation to the upper grades at the school I attended (Madison Lutheran). There are more full-length Luther films and documentaries listed on YouTube, but I can recommend this one.
- The Hiding Place (1975) in English with Romanien subtitles. Wikipedia describes this as "a film based on the autobiographical book of the same name by Corrie ten Boom recounting her and her family's experiences before and during their imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp during the Holocaust in World War II." YouTube also has the entire The Hiding Place book read aloud in 15 video segments.
Other Online Bible Stories
"The Story of Jesus" audiodrama
can be downloaded and listened to in a variety of languages in MP3 format. It is made available through The Jesus Film Project.
A True Story (for ESL) is an extensive collection of freely-available short Bible stories (89 Old Testament and 43 New Testament) written in easy, simplified English for conversational English classes with accompanying questions and PDFs of pictures that can be used to retell the story. The stories were originally written by Gary and Evelyn Harthcock and the illustrations compiled by Debbie Corley who wrote, "The materials are available to be used by anyone with a heart for sharing God's Word with people learning to speak the English language. You are free to print them and use them as God leads without any special permission or cost to you. May He get all the glory!!" (personal correspondence, Oct. 2015) At least two ELS/WELS congregations are using these materials.
unfoldingWord "is a collaborative project launched by Distant Shores Media in 2013 and currently managed in partnership with Wycliffe Associates and Roma Bible Society." Their vision is "to see every people group with adequate biblical content, without restrictions, in every one of their languages." unfoldingWord provides access through an Android App or an Apple App.
50 key stories of the Bible from Creation to Revelation for evangelism and discipleship, in text, audio, and video, on any mobile phone, in MANY languages are available. Open the site to find a table with a number of languages, and a code indicating progress in preparing the stories in each language. Click on English and you will see a list of the 50 stories and can download the audio (only) by clicking the sound icon on the right. At the top of this page click "view low resolution" to open the slide show versions. A screen with the Creation Story appears. To find the list of all 50 slide show stories, there is a white arrow to the left of the screen. Click it and the list appears. Choose the one you want to see and use the BLUE arrow at the right to advance to the next pictures. Also under the heading "All Open Bible Stories" if you click the film icon on the right, you will DOWNLOAD all of the audio/visual versions (mp4) free. I opened "low resolution" and downloaded a huge "zip" icon which extracted into a large folder full of files. They are not named according to the story, but are all numbered and narrated slide show videos, nicely done. You can rename the files. These were created with free Bible illustrations from Sweet Publishing which can also be downloaded to create your own illustrated lessons, stories, flash cards, or PowerPoints. Story of the Farmer
Sweet Publishing Illustrations
Bible Storyteller comes from Gavin Owen from England who created freely-available audios of several Bible stories he told to over 10,000 children. His website states, "You are welcome to use my stories in your work provided that you do not use them for financial gain and that, wherever possible, you credit me as the author of the work. If you want to share one of my stories with someone else, please send them a link to my web site. If you would like to redistribute my stories, please get in touch to request my consent." In personal correspondence with Owen, he said, "There's nothing to stop people from downloading audio and video from my web site - right-clicking over the audio or video player will usually give a 'save as' option in the pop-up menu and I've done nothing to block that." I was also able to download each audio recording on my computer by opening the site in Firefox and using the free Firefox add-on "Downloadhelper." If you have a podcast app installed on your device, you can download the audio stories and listen to them when you are offline using iTunes/iOS, Android/Google Play, Windows Phone or manually import an RSS feed into your podcast app.
Bible.is KIDZ by Faith Comes by Hearing is a highly-rated free app in English for ages 6-8 that includes stories, games, and an armory. Designed for iPhone and iPad, it requires iOS 4.3 or later. The app currently contains the following illustrated stories, with more to be added soon: Birth of Jesus, Jesus is Baptized, A Feast for 5000, Jesus Heals Blind Man, Jesus Enters Jerusalem, Crucifixion, and An Empty Tomb. The online description states, in part: "While listening to the Bible, your child can play games to earn their Armor of God, as they increase their knowledge of Scripture. Play 'Find the Crosses' or build a puzzle to achieve the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, or the belt of truth. Earn the breastplate of righteousness with other games such as Color Pages and Memory Verses. Your child can also record their own voice to share a story, memory verse or a color page through email. Imagine your child staying in touch with family and friends as they share the Word of God! Using beautifully illustrated stories, your child will enjoy learning the Bible!" The Bible App for Kids is "a free Bible experience" for kids ages 6-8. It currently includes 13 episodes in a touch-activated animated storybook, colorful illustrations with touch-activated animation, games and activities that help kids remember what they learn combined with kid-friendly navigation. It is available in English, Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese, and Turkish, for viewing on Android, and on Macintosh iPhone, iPad, and Ipod touch, and on Kindle. Companion resources for parents include coloring pages, videos, and adventure books with memory verses, coloring activities and questions, which may or may not be used. The videos are 18-25 minutes long with the actual story (about two minutes or so long) starting someplace between 4-5 minutes into the video. You can download the video and extract the short story using the Download Manager trim option if you want.
Sermons4Kids has several Powerpoint presentations of Bible stories that can be used or easily adapted.
Christian Preschool Printables has many one cut books (minibooks). Use the step by step tutorial on how to fold and cut to create 8-page booklets. The site has four pages, each with several beautifully-done "minibooks" of Bible Stories and Bible lessons and an additional 3 pages of minibooks for memory verses which can be printed in color or black and white. Have children practice telling the Bible story to share with their friends and family.
Free Bible Story Coloring Pages to Download
Bible Printables is a single site that includes many Old and New Testament pictures. Read or tell the Bible story and download the free coloring pictures for children to color and retell the story to their friends and families.
Many other coloring page sites are on the Internet. Doing an image search (Bible story coloring pages) on your favorite web browser will uncover many examples including these:
- Christian (Bible) Coloring Pages from DTLK
- Sermons for Kids Coloring Pages
- Sequence Bible Story coloring pages from Ministry-to-Children -
- Kid explorers has multi-lingual coloring pages (Arabic, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog ). This site may take a long time to open.
Free online text devotions, magazines, streamed church services and archived sermons
Many organizations and congregations provide free email or text messaging devotions and magazines, as well as streamed services and archived sermons, which can be picked up on cell phones. These are good resources to use yourself or to recommend to others as they continue their own Christian journey. A few good examples are below.
- Free Email or Text Daily Devotions
- ELS (Evangelical Lutheran Synod) - sends by email a daily Bible verse, hymn verse and prayer - sign up to receive daily devotions.
- WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) - You can subscribe to a daily devotion. WELS also provides devotions (not daily) for women and teens and for those in the military or early childhood ministry.
- Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel (UW-Madison) can send a short daily student devotion from a Chapel student via e-mail.
- Free Magazine
- Faith Lutheran Church (WELS, Sherpsburg, GA) - Mark Parsons' "Bread for Beggars" has a repository of archived sermons by Pastor Jonathan Schroeder sorted into seasonal categories.
- Peace Lutheran (ELS, North Mankato, MN), Pastor Timothy Hartwig, Vicar Matthew Behmer - streams the Sunday morning service live, and also archives sermons and the entire service.
- Abiding Shepherd (ELS, Cottage Grove, WI) has recent and archived sermons from their pastors, Nathan Krause and Nathanael Abrahamson.
- Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel (WELS) serving the University of Wisconsin-Madison community and more - live stream and archived services, Campus Pastor Thomas Trapp.
One final resource to explore
International Christian Resources The Christian materials online are endless - and growing. There is no way for me to evaluate the materials on this site since they are all in various languages. However those serving individuals around the world may find some helpful resources here. The Jeus film appears frequently, as well as some music videos using Jeus film clips as visuals. Someone is working very hard to maintain and update this resource! If materials are vetted for appropriate content and doctrine, I see no reason for us to "reinvent the wheel." Enjoy exploring.
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