Alice Bond’s passion for communicating the Bible found a new outlet, which God had given her in a dream: Biblios, the Bible in a box
The dream was incredibly short – a vibrant flicker accompanied by the words: “Turn what is black and white into colour.” Alice had no doubt God was speaking to her. She’d given her heart to Jesus when she was six years old and couldn’t remember a time when God wasn’t part of her life: “I just always knew Jesus was the way, the truth and the life – I can only describe it as a gift of faith.”
Growing up in a charismatic evangelical church, Alice’s walk with God deepened as a teenager, as did her familiarity with the Holy Spirit, so when God told her that he wanted her to wait instead of going straight off to university, she trusted his timing. It was five years later that God finally told her to go, and at her very first Christian Union meeting she noticed a guy called Chris, her future husband. Their paths would never have crossed if she hadn’t obeyed God.
After marrying, Alice and Chris moved to Bristol and joined a thriving church plant, which they later became the leaders of. Alice threw herself into being mum to their young children, but also asked God if he wanted her to get involved in anything else. After her dream, she knew God was prompting her to do something about her passion to communicate the Bible.
Alice had run Bible study classes accompanied by printed handouts, but found the format just didn’t work. She sensed the Holy Spirit saying: “Turn those pieces of paper into a visual, kinaesthetic, experiential learning experience that meets all styles of learners.” A seed had been sown, but how could Alice bring it to fruition?
Rising to the challenge
Alice was skilled in the world of words, but finding a way of communicating the Bible that worked for every age and style of adult learner was a tricky problem. She already knew formal learning bored people, so she turned to play and exploration for inspiration, adding elements of fun and competition to help people engage.
However, she had no idea how to turn her scribbled ideas and rough sketches into a concrete product, but as she progressed through the project, she knew God was in it as somehow the right person would always turn up with the practical knowledge and experience needed to complete the next stage. Right at the beginning, her artist friend Robyn drew lots of pictures to encapsulate Alice’s ideas, which were then developed by Sarah Dickins, an experienced product designer.
Sarah proved to be a real catalyst, coming up with the idea of using satellite imagery to print the map cards, and highlighting a missing feature: “We need to see the people.” Alice knew immediately that Sarah was right, so two photographers were commissioned to take 70 photographs of real people on location in Israel and Palestine. The project was coming to life, but still more was needed.
Alice hadn’t intended to get involved in the teaching material, but when her brother, visiting from China, turned to her after watching some Alpha videos and said: “That’s what you need to do – film on location”, Alice felt a rise in her spirit. She knew once again that God was prompting her to action.
Adventures in Israel
God blessed the filming in so many different ways, opening door after door during the team’s time in Israel, especially at the Garden Tomb where they didn’t have permission to film. Undaunted, Alice decided to ask in person as she felt so strongly that God wanted them to film there. They were initially turned down, but then the manager turned up, although it was his day off, listened to their story and granted them access the following day from 7–8am. Alice was ecstatic: “I had felt God say: ‘This is something I’ve given you to do and I’m going to make a way’ and, sure enough, I was able to give the resurrection talk just outside the Garden Tomb.”
The most moving moment during filming came when Alice stood above a rocky valley, which reminded her of the valley of the shadow of death in Psalm 23. While there, she talked on film about Psalm 27, the messianic Psalm, and how David points to a Messiah to come who will fulfil the prophecies. It was an incredibly moving movement. “I tear up in the video and we haven’t changed it. I was blown away, knowing Jesus was the one David was talking about. I remember thinking: ‘This is the good news…the Messiah came and fulfilled those writings. He was the one whose hands and feet were pierced’.”
Now Biblios is finished and Alice is thrilled with the end product. Designed to be accessible for all stages and styles of adult learners, a sturdy eco-friendly box holds everything needed to navigate the fast-paced, twelve-session course. Unpacking it is a bit like opening a treasure chest, as multiple items fit neatly inside including over 200 cards introducing key people, locations and events that can be used for various games and activities, little wooden blocks to build models of temples and tabernacles, cardboard map pieces to plot journeys, and larger reference cards to teach us about the books of the Bible and Jesus’ family tree. Each session includes three short video clips accessed via a member’s log-in code, while a comprehensive handbook gives all the information needed to run the course.
Alice comments: “I feel like God has helped me upskill on technology and business practice and I’ve loved the challenges that lie behind a start-up. Rather than setting it up as a charity, we decided to just make it a company where you put money in and get money out, but then we carry the ethical values of provenance in what we do with the money.”
Alice’s vision was to turn reading the Bible into an adventure and the Biblios feedback suggests she’s done just that. One user, Sam had always struggled with reading the Bible, seeing it as a complicated piece of flat-pack furniture that defeated every effort to fit the parts together. After completing the course, Sam commented: “Biblios helped me assemble all the pieces.” Alice also loved a story she heard of a family who did the Biblios course together during lockdown with the satisfying result that some family members came back to faith. Even Alice herself is discovering new things through engaging with Biblios in a group setting, making fresh discoveries that surprise and delight her. “Every session is unique and a living encounter with God. That’s what’s lovely about it.”
Find out more about the Biblios adventure at bibliosadventure.com