I first came across Buck Denver Asks: What’s in the Bible? through Danika Cooley’s Bible Road Trip. I was frustrated with the shallowness of many of the children’s Bibles and storybooks I’d encountered and was searching for a way to help my young sons engage with their Christian faith in a deeper, more authentic way. When we initially started watching What’s in the Bible?, I thought it might be a bit over their heads. Both of them — ages two and four — pleasantly surprised me by staying totally engrossed through the first half-hour episode. Then they asked to watch it again. And again. And again.
Over the next few weeks, my four-year-old began gleefully reciting the books of the Pentateuch. At naptime, my two-year-old requested that I sing him to sleep with a song from the show that lists the twelve judges from the book of Judges. They also started asking me questions like: “What is sin?” “Who is God?” “What does ‘holy’ mean?”
That’s when I knew we were on to something.
Unlike children’s Bibles and devotionals, Buck Denver Asks: What’s in the Bible? is a comprehensive study of the Scripture, not a disjointed collection of stories. The 26-episode series takes kids on a cover-to-cover journey through both Testaments, discussing every book in turn and how they all fit together. It’s greatest strength is in its presentation of the Bible as a single, cohesive narrative, described by creator and host Phil Vischer as “the story of God and what He’s done for us.”
You may know Vischer’s name from his work creating and producing the popular Veggie Tales franchise. While those familiar with Veggie Tales will certainly recognize Vischer’s humor and voice work in the puppet cast of What’s in the Bible?, it is quite a different animal. Vischer has spoken openly about where he feels Veggie Tales went wrong, and it boils down to exactly the problem I have with so many spiritual resources designed for children: it’s shallow. All too often, adults underestimate what young people are able to understand, diluting and oversimplifying ideas until they lose all of their meaning and purpose.
Then we wonder why kids are bored at school.
I make a conscious effort to challenge my kids intellectually because I believe that is what helps them grow. Why wouldn’t we do the same spiritually?
In What’s in the Bible?, kids get a clear and uncut look into the Scriptures. Meaty theological terms such as “salvation” and “apostasy” are clearly defined and explained to make them accessible to children without watering them down. Vischer does not shy away from controversy, including a reoccurring segment titled “Tricky Bits with Phil,” in which he addresses issues like the timeline of the creation story, the Hebrew conquest of Canaan, and other touchy topics. Rather than sanitizing unpleasant passages — such as King David’s adultery — Vischer explains what really happened, why it happened, and what the consequences were. He also does a beautiful job connecting all of these ideas to their applications and implications for us. To quote from the theme song: “How should we live? What should we do? And why should I be nice to you?”
Packed with catchy songs, wacky characters, and spiritual truths, What’s in the Bible? delivers a solid foundation in Biblical understanding for the youngest scholars. Parents might learn a few things, too! You can purchase What’s in the Bible? on DVD or stream it through jellytelly.com or the JellyTelly app.