• Illustrated 3 minute Bible study videos by Scott Smelser

new video: Journeys of Paul (Acts 13-28)

Posted in Information | 1 Response

3 minute video: Historicity of Jesus

Below is a text version of the audio script (citation sources shown in video above):

“Welcome to 3-Minute-Bible-Study on Historical References to Jesus.

The primary historical documents on Jesus Christ are in the New Testament. But references to Christ are also found in ancient writings from unbelievers. From the historical context of the Roman Empire, Greek culture, and the Jewish people, we will examine external references to Christ, beginning with Rome.

Tacitus was a Roman senator and historian born about AD 56. In his account of Nero’s rule and his persecution of Christians, Tacitus gives the following background: “Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate.” This gives us Roman reference to Christ, to his execution, and to same political time frame as recorded in Luke 3:1.

Greece: Lucian of Samosata was a Greek satirist of the second century, who wrote the following. “The Christians, you know, worship a man… who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account.” And again, they “worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws.”

Jewish: the works of Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, include two references to Jesus. One, in relation to his death, and a second, in relation to his brother James. The consensus of scholarship is that while the second text is original, the first text represents the combination of an original statement from Josephus, plus some favorable embellishments added by a later hand. The excerpt shown here represents not those later embellishments, but a minimal part of the core recognized as being from Josephus, and records Jesus being condemned to the cross under Pilate. Josephus’ second reference concerns the stoning of James, the brother of Jesus who is called Christ; thus providing external first century references to both Jesus, and his brother James (compare Gal. 1:19).

We’ve seen historical references from Roman, Greek, and Jewish writers. But as noted earlier, the primary documents on Jesus are found in the New Testament itself, whose very origin and existence would be inexplicable had Jesus never existed. The New Testament texts include accounts about and testimony from witnesses who knew, heard, and saw Jesus.

And for those who inclined to view the new Testament as later generation legends, we’ll close with a text that is both early and dateable. First Corinthians is a letter from Paul, dates to about AD 55. In chapter 15 on the resurrection, Paul is reminding them of what he taught in person, back when he came to Corinth, around AD 50. This is dateable by the proconsulship of Gallio (see 3 Minute Bible Study on archaeology for further info). Now AD 50 brings us within about twenty years of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Note also that in chapter 15, Paul gives a witness list with known people, still living, who had seen Jesus. Not some later generation – this is a dateable list with living witnesses that knew and saw Jesus.

From the biblical text foremost, and additionally from history provided by unbelievers, we can document the historicity of Jesus. But Jesus of Nazareth did more than exist in history. He also changed history. The single most influential person in the history of the world was not a myth. He was, and is, Christ Jesus of Nazareth.

For a transcript and more videos, see 3minutebiblestudy.com.”


Thanks for visiting! Be sure to share the video with others. If you’d like to be notified of future 3 Minute Bible Study Videos, enter your email below to subscribe!

Bible Timeline in 3 Minutes


Posted in Videos | Leave a comment

The Good Samaritan – 3 Minute Video

Here is the latest 3 Minute Bible Study video – the story of the good Samaritan, found in Luke 10:25-37.

Hope you can use it and share it with others.

the good samaritan

Posted in Videos | 3 Responses

Romans: 3 minute video overview

Here is the newest 3 minute video – an overview of Paul’s letter Romans. Below, you will find the text of the video:

Welcome to 3 Minute Bible Study on Paul’s letter to the Romans.

The theme of the letter is to teach the gospel of Christ. A secondary goal was to unify believers in Christ. The theme is laid out in 1:16;  the gospel (the good news of Christ) is the power of God to Salvation to those that believe, to the Jew first, and to the Greek or Gentile.  This was in contrast to the Pharisee view described in John 5;  they thought eternal life was in the LAW and set their hope in Moses. It was in contrast to Pharisees in the early church who said Gentiles need to be circumcised and keep Mosaic law to be saved.  Paul declares the opposite in Romans 1.16; it’s the Gospel (not Law), and the power of God (not works of men ) that saves believers in Christ.

Follow the text numbers in blue to see how the chapters relate to the theme.

(1) Gentiles need salvation because they’ve sinned.

(2) Jews need salvation because  they’ve sinned.

(3) Both are guilty,  and works and law will not justify evil workers and lawbreakers.  Redemption is in the blood of Christ, a gift of grace for sinners who put their trust, or faith, in Christ;

(4) as Abraham believed the Lord and was justified before circumcision was ever commanded.

(5) And unlike Adam who brought sin and death, Jesus died for our sins and brought life and grace.

(6) Question: does grace mean we may continue in sin? No. Being freed from sin demands service to righteousness.

(7) Before Law a sinner stands guilty,

(8) but there is no condemnation for those in Christ, who also walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh. This is the plan and elect of God,

(9) who elected of old to give the promise in Isaac & Jacob, and who now gives mercy (he has mercy on whom he wills), not to vessels of wrath who trust in themselves – but to Gentiles and others who trust in Christ,

(10) who confess him as Lord & who believe he rose from the dead.

(11) Salvation is offered to both Jews and Gentiles. All have sinned, and salvation is offered to all.

That’s the end of the conceptual part of the letter. Next he turns to practical application; based on the mercies of God, be living sacrifices, not conformed to this world.

And since the Lord accepts both you Jews and you Gentiles; you need to accept one another.

What Romans is saying:  neither works nor law can redeem. It’s the gospel that is the power of God to save those that trust in Christ.  But contrary to a popular misconception,  Paul does not say salvation is by “faith only” – a term he never used. Nor is he saying we don’t need to obey.

The power of redemption comes  from the blood of Christ alone. He is the Savior. We must put our faith in him (ch.3). But did Paul mean a dead and unfaithful faith? Or a living and faithful faith?  Chapter 6: Paul speaks of putting to death the old man, being baptized into Christ and his death, and rising to walk in a newness of life, no longer a slave of sin  Are we to sin because we are under grace? No! You are slaves of the one you obey,  either sin to death, or obedience to righteousness.

The letter ends with these words: the preaching of Jesus … to bring about obedience of faith . To God be the glory, through Jesus Christ, Amen!

Bible Timeline in 3 Minutes


Posted in Videos | 3 Responses

3 minute overview: archaeological evidence of biblical figures

This 2nd video highlights archaeological finds. To catch all the references and other info simply go back through using the pause button where needed. Thanks!

For more extensive articles on biblical archaeology and on biblical locations, visit Ferrell Jenkin’s blog: http://ferrelljenkins.wordpress.com/

text below

Welcome to 3 M Bible study : archaeological evidence for biblical figures. Like most ancient people generally, most people in biblical history have never been archaeologically found in ancient engravings.  Occasionally however,some of them are, and with rulers more likely than peasants to have their names engraved in the rocks, we’ll begin with the Kings and look at a few examples. King David, a key figure in the OT,  lived and reigned 1,000 yrs. before  Christ, and was the father of  a long line  of kings in his own bloodline, one of whom was defeated by  the king of Aram in the 9th  century BC. An inscription from that king was found at Tel Dan in1993. In it, he records his  victory over a king of Israel and over a king from the “house of David” thus establishing external archaeological refernce for King David.

We’ll look next at Omri, the wicked father in law of Jezebel, who during  the divided kingdom ruled Israel in the north in the 9th c. BC.  The B records his reign, the reign of his son Ahab, and the reign of a Moabite king named Mesha, who  was forced to pay tribute to  Israel. A record  from that same Moabite king was found in 1868 in  Jordan.  The Mesha stele refers to all 3 of these people:  Mesha himself, king of Moab; Omri, king of Israel; Omri’s son, king of Israel after  him. Another king of the northern  tribes that is recorded in tribute payment is Jehu, though  this time, the  king of Israel is  not receiving tribute … he’s paying it to the King of Assyria. The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser, discovered in Nimrud in 1846 depicts payment received from lesser vassal kings including tribute submitted from Jehu to Assyria.

A century later, the NK of Israel will be destroyed  by the Assyrians and  in the south in the reign of Hezekiah, they will almost conquer all of Judah as well. They took the fortifified cities of Judah, and threatened the cap. Jerusalem itself, but did not take it.  This is recorded in the Bible, and also in this Assyrian prism, where the invaders commemorate their taking of 46 strongholds, and also of penning Hezekiah in Jerusalem like a bird in a cage, but with no mention of taking  the city, which did  not happen (cf. Isa. 37.)

The last OT king we will look at is Jehoiachin, who was  taken  captive to Babylon and who later was  released from prison and provided with rations from the Babylonian king. This babylonian chronicle records his being taken away captive, and the Babylonian ration lists record rations provided to Jehoiakin, King of Judah.

Inscriptions of  NT figures include Pontius Pilate, the roman governor at the crucifixion of Christ, and the ossuary, or bone box, of Caiaphas , the high priest who counseled the Jewish senate to have Jesus killed. From Acts 13, we have Sergius Paulus,  the administrator in Paphos who became a believe. And from the delphi inscription,  we know when Gallio was proconsul in Corinth, who Paul stood before in Acts 18. Another interesting engraving  is of Erastus of Corinth,  quite likely the same Erastus who was both a believer and the city treasurer (or manager) of Corinth, mentioned  in Rom. 16 as sending his greetings to fellow brothers in Christ in Rome. For external  evidence on  Jesus, watch for a separate 3 minute study on the historicity of Jesus. More info @ 3minutebiblestudy.com.

Posted in Information, Videos | 1 Response

Overview of Bible History Timeline in 3 Minutes

Here’s the first video, a Bible timeline in 3 minutes. Hope you can use it and share it! I’m posting the script here (with scripture references added), in case you’d like to review it in a text format.

If you would like to get updates when new videos are posted, just enter your email address in the subscription box below. Thank you for visiting!

Bible Timeline in 3 Minutes


Posted in Videos | 15 Responses

Script for the 3 minute TIMELINE video

First 3minute video is now online: “Overview of Biblical History,” a timeline. If you’d like to review the script in text form, I’ve posted it here (with textual references added). 

Welcome to 3 Minute Bible Study on biblical history:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1), and God created man and woman (Gen. 1:26-27). Creation was good (Gen. 1:31). Then Adam & Eve rebelled & fell from God (Gen. 2.17 & Gen. 3). Wickedness increased and judgment came in the flood on all but Noah and those in the ark (Gen. 6-7). Noah’s descendants  were dispersed at the tower of Babel (Gen.11), and God chose Abram and his seed to: a.) receive the promised land; b.) to become a nation; and c.) to bless all nations (Gen. 12:1-3). The promise continued through Abraham’s son Isaac (Gen. 21, 26:1-4) & his son Jacob, also known as Israel (Gen. 25-28; 35:9-15). Jacob had 12 sons (Gen. 35:23-26), one of which would rise to the right hand of power in Egypt (Gen. 37 & 39-41).  The Israelites came down to live in Egypt (Gen. 42-47), but later became enslaved for about 400 years (Gen. 15:13; Exod. 1).  Through Moses (Exod. 2-3:10), God delivered them (Exod. 5-14) and made a covenant with them at Sinai (Exod. 19) where they received the Law (Exod. 20 & ff.) and instructions for his tabernacle (Exod. 25-31:11). But being unfaithful (Exod. 32; Num.11; Num.13-14:4), they were detained in the wilderness for forty years (Exod. 14:26-38), and the next generation (Deut. 1:34-39) took the promised land under Joshua (Josh. 1 & ff.). Judges (Judges 1&ff) then led the people till Samuel’s day (1 Sam.1 & ff) when Saul was appointed the first king of Israel (1 Sam. 8-10). After Saul’s rejection (1 Sam. 15), God chose David to be king (1 Sam. 16:1-13), and promised that his seed would would be: a.) a son to God; b.) would build a house to God; and c.) his kingdom would be established forever (2 Sam. 7:12-14). David’s immediate son Solomon did build the temple (1 Kings 6), but the promise of a kingdom forever would be part of the messianic hope in Israel.  After Solomon’s death, the nation divided into northern and southern kingdoms (1 Kings 11:9-13; 11: 29-38; 11:43-12:20), both largely unfaithful and ignoring the prophets calling for repentance (Amos 2: 4-14; Micah 1; 2Chron. 36:15-16). As prophesied, both nations fell; Israel to Assyria in 722 B.C. (2Kings 17:1-18), and Judah to Babylon (a. Dan. 1:1-4; b. 2 Chron. 36:10), along with the destruction of the temple in 586 (c. 2 Chron. 36:17-20; 2 Kings 25:1-15).  After the Babylonian captivity (2 Chron. 36:17-21; see also Ezekiel & Daniel), many returned to the land with Zerubbabel (Ezra 1:1-2:1) and Ezra (Ezra 7:1ff) and rebuilt the temple, followed by Nehemiah who rebuilt the city walls (Neh. 1-6).

Four hundred years pass, and Israel looks for the promised Messiah to come (Luke 3:15; John 1:41; 4:25; Jn. 7:26-31). The New Testament brings us to the first century with John the baptist announcing “the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” (Matt. 3:1-2) and he identifies Jesus of Nazareth as the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29) that takes away the sin of the world! The four gospels (Mark, Matt., Luke, John) record the teachings of Jesus, his work with the apostles, and the miracles that identify Jesus as the Messiah (or “Christ”) (Matt. 11:4-5; John 7:31; John 11).

At the end of his life, he establishes the Lord’s supper, (Matt. 26:26-31) surrenders to his enemies (John 18:1-12), and his disciples flee (Mark 14:50). In fulfillment of of Psalm 22 (6-18, esp. vs. 16) and Isaiah 53 he is tortured, crucified, and buried … but on the third day, the tomb is found empty (John 20:1-10), and he appears to the apostles (John 20:19-31)! He tells them to wait for the Holy Spirit, and he ascends to the Father (Luke 24:44-51; Acts 1:8).  Acts 2 records the day of Pentecost when the Spirit falls upon them and Peter preaches Jesus as the risen Christ (Acts 2:22-36)! Three thousand Jews are baptized that day in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins (Acts 2:37-38; 41)!

The church grows quickly (Acts 4:4; 6:7)… but soon faces intense persecution (Acts 7:57-8:1) from opponents like Saul (Acts 8:3), later known as  Paul (Acts 13:9). But after an encounter with Jesus (Acts 9; 22; 1 Cor. 15:8), Paul himself is converted (Acts 22:16) and begins preaching Christ (Acts 9:20-22), helping to spread the gospel far beyond Israel (Acts 9:15; Acts 13-28). The letters of Paul, along with texts from James, Peter, John, etc., round out the rest of the New Testament. That’s your three minute overview of Old Testament and New Testament history.


Posted in Information | 5 Responses

3 Minutes…

Obviously, a 3 minute video is not a substitute for more thorough and longer Bible study later. But if you have 3 minutes and would like a graphics loaded introduction to a biblical topic, we hope you will find these compact videos to deliver “good measure, pressed down, shaken together,” [Lk. 6:38].  May they also serve to prompt & assist in further study of the word.

Posted in Information | Comments closed
  • 3 Minute Bible Study Videos

    Timeline Overview Video:

    Biblical Archaeological Evidence:

    Romans Overview Video:

    The Good Samaritan: