Did you see The Bible on The History Channel last night?
Confession time — I turned it on having already judged it. This was not the first, nor will it be the last dramatization of scripture. Up unto this point I had not seen many adaptations of scripture on the big screen that I loved. Most of them whiffed on the details of scripture. Most of the films in the past of scripture took the film maker’s agenda and placed it on God’s holy text. Last night I watched with a critical eye waiting for the moment when Hollywood would fail again.
As I turned off my TV last night I was pleasantly surprised by the account that Mark Burnett put together. Did he come in with an agenda? Sure, but his agenda is far different than those who have previously produced biblical films. Burnett is a practicing Catholic. He wanted to produce the big story of what his heart believed. In this he has put together a quality telling of the grand story of scripture.
Here is what I loved from last night.
- Burnett has attempted to build a wholistic understanding of scripture in this series. Story after story is of men who say, “We must trust God.”
- Burnett did not shy away from showing the faults of the “Bible Heroes.” This teaches an important point — we are not a religion based on the morals of our founders; we are men who trust in a God who redeems us.
- It realistically painted the emotions of every story. Often when we read the Bible we miss the emotion of what is happening. Our hearts don’t often break when we read of the genocide of the Egyptians nor do they swell when God provided a lamb in the place of Isaac. For many those became just another Sunday School story. I am thankful that Mark Burnett helped us feel the gravity our story.
- It is leading to Jesus. The intent of the series, as far as I can see, is not to hold any of these stories as a moral lesson or as a good story, but instead is leading to tell Christ Story. The Story of God revealing himself to you and me.
- This miniseries does not dumb down sin. It shows that there are consequences for the sins that men do.
What I didn’t like:
- Hollywood loves to add a little sizzle. There is one scene where two angels fight through Sodom in a fight sequence that mixed Jackie Chan, Gladiator, and the Matrix.
- Commercials — to quote a tweet I saw, “If Jesus paid it all, why are there commercials?” Seriously though, the story was built in such a compelling way that I didn’t want to watch another ChristianMingle commercial.
- Most of the actors were very white and spoke with British accents. Just so you know, Jesus did not have blond hair and blue eyes.
Overall, I loved it. As a pastor I would recommend this to any person to catch the big story of God’s revelation to us men. I will blog every week to catch you up with my thought on this series.