What’s Wrong With “The Bible”

I had the opportunity to sit down and watch the first part of the new TV series The Bible last night. After seeing many commercials for it and even reading a tweet from Tim Tebow himself, I thought I better sit down and watch it. To be completely honest, I don’t think too highly of it. I missed the first about 20 minutes of it, and came in when Abraham and Sarai are trying to figure out how to have kids, Sarai finally admits that Abraham should try with her servant, Hagar.

For those of you who know the biblical story, there are many things that happen in the beginning (Genesis). The story felt so rushed as it pointed out the things the filmmakers viewed as important, but it seemed to me to leave many things out.

One of the things I appreciated about the show was that it really made me see things from the humans perspective as it was telling the story. For example, Abraham had tears streaming down his face as he offered his one and only son as a sacrifice to God. It’s really easy to read through these stories and causally pass over the emotional side that the biblical figures had to deal with.

The other thing I noticed was that it actually does a pretty good job of ultimately pointing to God. God wasn’t portrayed as a big bad guy or someone hell-bent on destruction but as the God who continually cares for his people.

Now my hesitations with the show: it seemed like they focused far too much on the human side and how mankind was continually doing good things and missing many of the effects of sin. Sodom and Gomorrah especially felt very off to me. The angels who escorted Lot and his family out of the city strike the men trying to get into Lot’s house with blindness, then run down a street and turn into ninjas with swords single handedly killing 10 men. As I’ve read through Scripture, I don’t see a need to add any violence to it-there’s quite enough in there to fill an R-rated film as it is. Finally, I didn’t understand why they picked the stories they did and spent the amount of time they did. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah was given 10-15 minutes of the 2 hour movie that covered creation through the crossing of the Red Sea. I understand that there’s only so many events they can cover from the Bible in a 10 hours mini series, but it seems that instead of majoring on the major themes, they majored on some of the minor stories to make it more exciting.

Overall, I hope this pushes people to read Scripture for themselves and explore more of the greatest story ever told, but am afraid that it will do the opposite. Why read the book when you can see the movie, after all? So the way I’ve described the movie to a few friends is: it was better than I expected, but not as good as it could have been or I was hoping it would be. It has the potential to be a great conversation starter, but ultimately I think it could do a better job of pointing to the God who has worked all of history to be HIS story.

ADDED:

I just read a great blog here on some more hesitations with this series. I completely agree that the writers missed the great theme of the Bible as a whole and instead focus far too much on the human side, missing the story of GOD redeeming His people for His purpose and His glory.

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