Chris Hunter, Guest Contributor
October 24, 2012
The last time the Brick Bible was in the news, it was getting pulled from shelves in Sam's Club stores. But that was almost a year ago, and since then creator Brendan Powell Smith has come out with a New Testament version. I wondered how this iteration of the book compared to the earlier one, and asked former seminary student, and Geek To Me Guest Contributor, to give us a review of The Brick Bible - New Testament:
Even though it makes perfect sense, I had no idea that the new volume of the Brick Bible from Brendan Powell Smith was even in production. The latest volume of the Brick Bible: The New Testament made its way to my doorstep just a few days ago and I was as excited to receive this volume as I did the first volume. This particular volume of the Brick Bible focuses on the New Testament and primarily focuses on the Gospels, particularly the book of John, the Book of Acts, and the very last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation.
Going through this new volume of the Brick Bible, Smith covers so many important aspects of the New Testament - from the birth of Jesus to his time as an adult, all the way up to his crucifixion. He also covers the miracles that he performed, parables that Jesus told, how he went about gathering his disciples, and the many stories that took place with the disciples at his side. After telling the story of Jesus from the Gospels, Smith moves on to the Book of Acts, following the adventures and exploits of the Apostles as they took up the mantle of Jesus's work once he had left the earth. The Book of Acts is one of my favorite books of the Bible and I love to read the stories of the Apostles during that time and what they did, the many transformations that took place within their lives, and the transformations that they helped to cause in the lives of others during that time, so for me it was pleasantly fun and exciting to read the exploits of the Apostles in the Book of Acts.
After reading the Book of Acts, Smith tackles one of the most controversial and one of the most widely interpreted books of the Bible, the Book of Revelations. Even though this book has been subject to much interpretation over many years by generations upon generations of ministers, preachers, and pastors, I simply love the way that Smith portrays the events of the book. Smith brings back his superb storytelling and photographic skills in a much grander way with this second volume. I'm blown away by the way that he interprets specific scenes in the storytelling of all three sections of the Brick Bible. It also seems as if Smith actually expands the scope of his storytelling abilities with this particular volume because the sets that he uses, in so many scenes of this particular volume, are mind blowing and it makes me wonder how he was even able to do it in the first place. Smith also conveys a sense of modernism, especially when it comes to the Gospels as told by John.
Smith makes the parables told in the Gospels much more relevant and modern than you what you would expect to see or what you would expect to have interpreted from anyone else. He generously uses modern examples throughout the storytelling to bring the parable into a modern setting and to hopefully guide the reader through to an understanding of the parable through the use of modern settings. Something I did not see performed in the previous volume of the Brick Bible, primarily because the storytelling did not lend itself to it, is Smith's use of special effects in several scenes, especially concerning the Gospels and the miracles that Jesus performed, such as casting out demons out of possessed people during that time. The special effects Smith employs in several scenes of the book are very well done and helps to convey the story in a more precise manner.
One of my favorite books of the Bible is the Book of Acts. I love the stories in this book and the Book of Acts also expresses a lot of scriptural context for my own faith, how I live, and what I believe. I was a little bit disappointed though whenever Smith seemed to simply gloss over the events of Acts Chapter 2 and the story that involves the day of Pentecost. I don't know if he had time constraints by which to tell that particular story or if he lacked understanding of the importance of the events in Acts Chapter 2, but I would've greatly loved to have seen him expand more of the story concerning the events of the Day of Pentecost, but we see fantastic depictions of the story of Saul becoming Paul, the story of Ananias and Saphari as they tried to deceive the Spirit of the Lord, and many other well told stories concerning the Acts of the Apostles that were greatly expressed through Smith's unique brand of storytelling. One thing that I did find particularly funny was just how much Ananias of the Book of Acts looked like our modern day Conan O'Brien.
Truth be told, the section of the Brick Bible: The New Testament that captured my attention the most was the last portion of the book which deals with the Book of Revelation because this is where I feel that Smith's talents, storytelling abilities, and pure imagination show through the most. Between the previous volume and this volume, Smith's imagination in depicting and showing us the Book of Revelation is simply fantastic all throughout the pages here and, to be honest, his telling of the Book of Revelation is worth the price of admission alone. Smith goes through and portrays so many unique and imaginative versions of the characters and events prophesied in the Book of Revelation that when you see it, you're simply mesmerized.
Based on my knowledge of the Book of Revelation and the interpretations I've been taught over the years, Smith handles this book with so much ease that it's staggering. I love just about every page of the Book of Revelation because it's imaginative, very modern with its storytelling devices and scenes that he uses, and the scale by which Smith employees. Smith uses his imaginative storytelling abilities to give us one of the best looking widescreen format tales mixed with award-winning photography and storytelling that really immerses you into the Book of Revelation and engages you with every panel. The scenes of the prophesied Dragon with the seven heads and ten horns is fantastic. The scenes of the horsemen that come and rise from the deep are imaginative, accurate, and simpy amazing. Creatures that would be hard to explain, let alone create in the form of Legos, are handled with what appears to be ease and make total and perfect sense in the context of the storytelling. To be honest, reading through the volume and this particular section of the book, you won't be able to grasp it all with just one viewing. It will take multiple readings to simply appreciate everything that he has done with the design of the layouts, design of the sets, and the design of the particular Lego characters that are used. It's simply mind blowing.
With the storytelling of the Book of Revelation alone, Smith has made all of his Brick Bible work something that you must own and that you must read. Without a doubt, this is a spectacular volume of the Brick Bible and the New Testament is told in such a way that raises questions, that explains situations, that tells a fantastic story, an age old story, and not only tells you about the life and times of the people in the New Testament but also draws you in to the life and times of the people of the New Testament. This particular volume is worth reading and rereading over and over again and I have to agree with Wanda M. Lundy, the professor who provided the foreword for this particular volume, that this is a book that will get you talking about the Bible, asking questions, and get you involved in wanting to know more. Even though the book may not be completely accurate in every specific detail that it portrays, this book will get you asking questions and be a fantastic conversation starter for your home, for your friends, and for your family, especially if you want that conversation to center around the Bible and the word of God.
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