The popular sandbox building game has become a medium for telling biblical narratives.
Minecraft is a video game that captures the imaginations of children and adults alike, allowing them a free rein in a world in which they can build just about anything they can dream up. The freedom of gameplay featured by the popular title has redefined the Sandbox RPG genre and people have designed some impressive structures, cities, and yes, even the Millennium Falcon.
Now groups of faithful Minecrafters are turning their efforts towards evangelization, opening YouTube channels that depict biblical narratives through the 64-bit medium and producing Minecraft-themed Bibles, which are starting to make their way into schools.
In Jersey, England, a recent donation saw 24 primary schools fully stocked with The Unofficial Bible for Minecrafters – Stories from the Bible told block by block. This book illustrates the scriptures with screen shots of biblical scenes recreated inside of the game. The images taken from in the game are arranged in comic book form and follow narratives of some of the more famous biblical stories, like the Garden of Eden and Noah’s Ark.
Trudie De La Haye, Head Teacher of St John’s School and a recipient of Minecraft Bibles, told Bailiwick Express that the Bible stories are retold in block form and describe events using Minecraft features and humor, which she believes will further engage the students.
On Youtube, another platform easily accessible to children, several channels are devoted to retelling Bible stories with the cute, low-definition blocks. One of our favorites is Pixel Heart Bible, a group that has covered 10 biblical stories including Noah’s Ark, The Easter Story, David and Goliath, and even the Nativity in two parts (Part 1, Part 2).
Since they condense the stories into 3-6 minute videos, they do become a little simplified and feel a bit abridged, but they’re very cute and the writers use rhyme schemes to lend a Dr. Seuss quality. The videos are also interspersed with innocent humor, which often shows off an exceptionally built scenery. One of our favorites from Pixel Heart Bible is their telling of the Prodigal Son:
The Crafted Church is another such channel that produces videos with meticulously designed scenery. They only have an abridgement of Christ’s ministry and the story Jonah, but the work they did was impressive. Similarly to the Pixel Heart Bible, The Crafted Church intersperses a bit of family-friendly comedy into their videos in order to better engage their audience. The church they built for the beginning of their videos is really nice, too.
As an honorable mention, we’d like to point out this high-quality recreation of the Book of Job, which was originally a sophomore English project, by Rapheal Clark, Eric York, Zach Burrell and Adam Kindorf. The setting is beautiful and the editing had to have taken a while to get this good.