Berea Project

They received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. -- Acts 17:11

Berea Project is a site dedicated to going back to the Bible and examining it as the primary source for what we believe. The site contains resources and articles designed to help anyone who desires to study the Word of God. We are also creating tools to help ministers teach God's Word to others.

This site is under construction. We have been working on our layout and are about finished. We will start adding content soon. For now please enjoy the devotions that we have so far. Feel free to email me at jbatchelor@bereaproject.org if you would like to contribute your own articles, sermons or other materials. I have forms on several sections of the site asking for feedback and ideas specific to those areas of the site as well. 

Update - 8/2/16

Less Blogging, More Doing

It has been over a year since my last blog update, so I decided that I needed to fill you all in on what has been going on. Since the previous post, we have been very busy both on the site and off. We have had four separate foster children in your home, one of which I am holding as I type. We have also created and posted 400 Verses of the Day. 12 sermons are posted, and two more will be going up later today. We created several Bible reading programs and are working on ebooks with those programs built in. We also have social media accounts on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Needless to say, things have been busy over the last year.

We are still in the early days. By next year we hope to launch daily devotions along with the Verse of the Day content. We are also working towards launching at least one Bible Study. We are also working on several articles that will be coming soon.

Another thing that I am adding starting today is our affiliate links. Over the years I have owned and read hundreds of books about the Bible and ministry. I am going to start posting many of them in a Sources and Resources section. They will also contain links to various stores where you can buy those books. Using those links will go to support the ministry of Berea Project. This is one way of supporting the ministry while keeping with our mission to provide quality resources for those wanting to study the Word of God.

Update - 3/12/15

We are still here

The last few months have been incredibly busy for me. I have completely overhauled the network and most of the programs at the Library that I work for. Unfortunately this means I am way behind where I was hoping to be with Berea Project. We are still marching forward but there have been some priority changes.

Bible and Bible Reading Programs

This section is taking much longer than expected and I do not want to hold the whole site up for not having these things completed. For the time being I have moved the tab to these areas of the site to a private location until they are ready to be used.

Podcasts

One of the things I was hoping to accomplish this year was the introduction of a few podcasts. Initially I was going to wait until the site was fully functional before doing so. Since there is still so much to do on the site I have decided that I am going to go ahead and launch 2 of the podcasts that I had planned.

  • Berea Weekly: Berea Weekly is a podcast that will highlight articles and ideas that I have encountered in my studies. Each week I will present 5-7 articles that struck me and have a discussion topic. My prayer is that this podcast will be useful those studying the Word of God and will encourage writers to continue ministering to the community.
  • Sermons: Some Assembly Required Sermons: Some Assembly Required will take sermons I have prepared and break them down to their essential parts. I will take a topic or even a sermon series and give you the scriptures, main points, and possibly a Keynote or PowerPoint to work with. Its purpose is to give other ministers a launching point for their own messages.

Look for these to start being released in the next few weeks.

Update - 8/19/14

Bible Reading Programs

I have completed the first of the Bible reading programs. This one is a simple read through of the Bible from Genesis-Revelation based on the time it takes to read each chapter. I will soon be creating a second one that incorporates both passages from the OT and NT each day. The three context based ones that I discussed in the previous update will take quite a while to complete and are slated for next year. Currently I am adding the KJV to the site in chapter increments. Once completed I will add the first Bible reading program in daily increments. I will also have downloadable versions for those that like to keep a copy on their computer. These will be available before January 1st.

The Bible

I got a copy of the KJV through the Gutenberg Project and have been working on its formatting ever since. That took a long time but it also opens up some unexpected doors. I have been using a program called Scrivener to do the work. Scrivener is a book publishing app with allot of formatting and organizational tools. I chose it because of the sheer volume of text in the Bible. Now that the text has been entered and formatted I see some new opportunities. I am considering adding the Bible reading programs to Amazon and other book publishing stores for $.99 each. Placing these materials in the Kindle store adds a level of convenience for those wanting it on their devices. It also helps support the site. Free EPUB and PDF versions will also be downloadable on the site.

Now that all the material is in Scrivener and preliminarily formatted I am transferring them to the site. That is also proving to be time consuming. There are 1189 chapters in the Bible and each one is a separate page on the site. Each page also has links to the rest of the chapters in the book and sections that will list related articles and sermons. This will take time and I am sure my updates will be sparse while I am in this phase of data entry.

Moving

On a parting note my wife and I are considering purchasing our first home. This is an exciting and somewhat stressful time for us. We would appreciate all your prayers as we go through this transition. Please pray for wisdom, guidance, and peace as we continue to develop this ministry and look for a home.

Update - 7/16/14

Praise Report and Prayer Request

I wanted to start off with a praise report and a prayer request. Given that this is a site for the study of the word of God I figure that is appropriate. Thank God my wife is finally healthy. She had been battling an illness for several months and only truly recovered this June. It was a long and frustrating period but she is healthy now and I wanted to give thanks to God for that.

As for the prayer request we are still praying for wisdom and direction. For almost a year we have been praying about changing jobs and the possibility of moving out of our current residence. In February we felt God tell us to "Be still, and know that I am God"(Psalm 64:10) so we have stopped actively searching. Since then we have felt that God was preparing us for something new. I have been offered several better jobs since then but none have felt like God's will. The feeling of impending change has continued to get stronger and we have been packing. We want to be ready when God reveals His plan to us. What we need right now is prayer for wisdom and guidance to see God's will and the courage to follow it wherever it goes. I appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Busy Summer

As you may have noticed I have not posted an update in a few months. This is due to the illness, packing and the summer reading/tech programs I am in charge of at the library. Currently I have 9 programs/classes a week that I am responsible for. Those programs willed this month so I will be working on Berea Project more consistently soon. I apologize for the delay.

New Projects

My next task is to create the foundational content that will make Berea Project more usable. I have several projects in mind and I think I can get the first two off the ground in the next few months.

Project 1

I am creating a database for every character and location in the Bible. Each will have a brief bio, genealogy, location information, map, and notes on any discrepancies. While the bios and other info will be very basic this will still be a huge undertaking. Links to this information will be added to all articles, sermons, and other materials posted on the site. I also want the bios to list all the materials in which they are referenced. I have not found an efficient way to do this yet.

Project 2

Adding the Bible to the site seems logical and yet it is a technical a challenge. Most people just point to sites like BibleGateway.com rather than adding a Bible to their own site. That may be smarter and certainly is easier than what I am considering since they have already done the work and have a great site. They also have licenses to publish many versions of the Bible that I do not have. So why add a Bible to Berea Project? Here are my reasons.

  1. Since it is on my site I will not have to worry about someone else changing their page and breaking all the links in our articles.
  2. I intend to create Bible Reading programs. Having the Bible on my own site will make the passages easier to reference.
  3. If people are on the page to read the Bible they are more likely to read the articles on the site.
  4. If it is on my page I can add references and linked articles to the chapters.
  5. I am going to record a free audio version of the Bible. As I finish each book I can add it to the chapters as well.

Project 3

So I pre-announced project 3 and 4. Sorry. Project 3 will be the creation of three Bible reading programs. I have used many Bible reading programs over the years but they all seem to focus on reading the exact same amount every day. Often the daily reading ends awkwardly in the middle of a story. This is especially true of the ones that stop in the middle of a Psalm. The Bible reading programs are not a priority but are in development. Here are my thoughts.

  1. The first will be straight read through from Genesis to Revelation but with a focus on complete stories. Each day will have a suggested total reading time so that the reader will know if the next story is longer than normal or shorter than normal.
  2. The second will be a chronological one with the books in order. Books that overlap, such as Kings and Chronicles, will be in sync with each other. I will also attempt to have Psalms located in their correct chronology when possible.
  3. A third will contain parts of the NT, OT, Psalms, and possibly Proverbs on each day. This one will be a little difficult since it means less time on any one day to finish a story. Most of the plans I see force all 4 categories to be read each day. My goal is to never chop a Psalm up and to keep stories as whole as possible. When a Psalm is longer I will try to place it with a shorter story. In the case of Psalm 119 I will have it on its own day. I am considering using the Psalms to balance the reading time spent on other passages. To do this I may not present the Psalms in numerical order.

Project 4

I am going to work on making a free audio version of the Bible. This was also pre-announced will not be finished before the site launches. Audiobooks take a long time to do well. I may even try and get some guest readers to assist me. I will release one book at a time. In the end I will also have a complete version of he Bible available for download.

One of the greatest inventions in my opinion is the audiobook. I own one hundred and ten of them and have read many more through our library system. I have listened to several audio versions of the Bible. The person reading Jeremiah to me currently has revealed an intensity in it that I had not seen in it before. Most of the books of the Bible were written to be read out loud. It only makes sense that we both read and listen to the Bible.

Update - 4/17/14

Sickness and Shopping

I have not been working on the site that much over the last two weeks due to sickness in the family. We had to rush my grandmother to the hospital 2 weeks ago and she is still in the cardiac care unit. Since then my wife and I have been trading sicknesses so work on the site has been slow.

The progress that I have made in this time has been on the research front. To be more specific I have been researching equipment for the studio that we will be using to record the videos for the site. Creating a home studio will take time and money that I do not currently have. Until then I will be using the equipment my brother used to create the Daily Devotional Minute series that is on the site currently.

As always keep us in prayer as we attempt to launch this project. Currently we need prayer for our health and also for wisdom. God seems to be doing several things with us currently and we are trying to understand His will.

Please email me at jbatchelor@bereaproject.org if you would like to contribute your own articles, sermons or other materials. We are developing a community of quality writers and christian content creators. Content guidelines are coming but are not in a written form yet. Please stay tuned.