I’ve been watching The Bible miniseries on The History Channel. Last night was week three of a five week series which is scheduled for a finale on Easter Sunday. For what it’s worth, this is my review :)
I have really enjoyed seeing many of the stories come to life through this movie. I would encourage anyone who has a desire to know more to watch it but at the same time, I would recommend you follow along in your Bible. Being that it’s a 10-hour series, there’s no way everything can be fit in but in my opinion, some pretty big details have been left out or changed.
Truth holds that a book is almost always better than the movie and in this case, there’s no doubt THE book is best!
1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, “Test everything. Hold on to the good.”
There are great things about this movie. The fact that for the past three Sundays, it has had more viewers than anything and that it has had the most followers than any other show on The History Channel are both amazing things. This film is reaching people. It’s encouraging people to open their Bibles and read the Word of God. It’s changing lives. There’s no doubt that it has great potential to impact lives and steer them into a relationship with Christ.
The birth of Jesus was one of the most loved scenes from episode 3. Many reviews from last night rave about how emotional that scene was and what peace was felt knowing our Messiah was here, to save us all. There’s no doubt there is power in that scene. Power to stir our emotions, to give us hope and strengthen our faith.
However, we must also be careful. Considering the impact this film can have on people, Christians as well as non-believers and those of other religions, we have to be careful to be as accurate as possible. Every wrong word and every inaccurate detail is being picked apart and criticized. It creates doubt. It justifies negative opinions. God’s word has the power to change, but we do not have the right to change His Word. It is God-breathed and while most will see past the discrepancies and hang on to the beauty of the story, we still have to be cautious in how we handle truth. Because it is truth, we shouldn’t steer from it. There is no need to. The power is in the Word as it is. We are not greater than God. This is where my disappointment comes in. Again, I encourage you to watch it but have your Bible handy, dig into God’s word for yourself, find the truth written in the pages of your Bible and grow in your relationship with Christ.
I won’t hash out all the discrepancies but some things that really stood out to me are:
Many of the emotional and spiritual connections these people had are lost in the midst of chaos and fighting. If you’ve read anything from the actual Bible, you know it’s not all sunshine and roses, but through the fighting and death are very intimate stories of hope, overcoming despair, faith and redemption. In the film, these aspects seem to be on the back burner.
A lot of viewer reviews I’ve read are against the harsh violence. Many people are afraid to let their children watch it. I agree, the violence is very extreme in most scenes. While there was in deed a lot of violence during those times and these places were filled with war and murder, those violent scenes tend to over shadow the intimate relationships with God. Also, the film lacks explanations on much of the violence and fighting so viewers are left with the impression that God is mean and angry with very little positive light shed on Him. So far there really hasn’t been any build up of His redemption, unconditional love, forgiveness, etc. For new Christians or non-believers, this could be an unfortunate turn-off.
Perhaps instead of focusing on the violence, this could have been a great time to teach why there was suffering, why these people faced such difficult times. These people were warned time after time to change their ways. They were given numerous chances to turn from evil. It’s like parent who disciplines their child. Without discipline, they don’t learn. We don’t want to have to punish or discipline our children but we do it because we want to teach them right and wrong. God did not want these people to suffer but in order for them to learn, he had to intervene. I won’t pretend to know all the answers but as a person who was once lost, it all makes so much sense now. God never wants us to suffer but we have to learn and sometimes in order to learn lessons, we have to go through trials.
David (1 Samuel 16 – 1 Kings 2)
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
David wrote many prayers and songs. He poured his heart out to God. He cried out to Him, in desperation, despair and in times of joy. His story lacks the servants heart, the heart he had for the Lord. Most of what we see of David is Saul’s hate towards him, his betrayal towards Uriah and his affair with Bathsheba. We see nothing about David’s relationship with his son, Absalom, who had murdered his other son, Amnon, over the rape of his daughter, Tamar. Absalom fled and later returned only to be shunned by David. Absalom later attempts to overthrow and assassinate him. There is so much more to David’s story than what we see depicted in this film. His family earns the title of dysfunctional in so many ways but through it all, David had a heart for the Lord. Even through all his mistakes and shortcomings, the Lord loved David. I highly encourage you to read more about David and study his relationship with the Lord. We have much to learn from him, his mistakes, his inadequacies and his faith in God.
Samson and Delilah (Judges 16:17-18)
So he told her everything. “No razor has ever been used on my head,” he said, “because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.”
When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.
The film spends a good deal of time with Samson. We learn about his first wife as well as his relationship with Delilah. In the film, Delilah performs the act of cutting Samson’s hair. While this may seem insignificant, in my opinion it bears a lot of significance. For one, there’s a change in God’s word. The Bible tells us that Delilah sent word and had the Philistines come and do the act of “shaving” Samson’s hair. In my opinion, this shows Delilah’s power over not only Samson, but also the Philistines that they once again were willing to do as she has said. The film also uses cutting instead of shaving and the cutting that takes place is near the shoulders, not anything like shaving. Imagine a man who has lived all of his life with hair and in this situation, knows the significance and power in his hair. Now, imagine the drama and devastation of losing it all – being shaved, bald. It seems to carry a greater impact which is perhaps what makes it such a powerful story. There was really no need for the producers to steer away from Scripture in this scene.
The Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17)
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.“
In the film, they show the scene of Jesus walking down to John, being baptized and then as quick as the scene began, it’s over. There was no view of Heaven, no spirit, no dove and no voice from God. In my opinion, the spirit filled scene and love from God is a huge deal. In the Bible, this is one of the most amazing images we have of the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It’s in this moment that we hear God acknowledge His son. To leave out this part not only takes away from the moment, but it takes God out of that scene. Please read this story and draw your own image in your mind. Think of how beautiful that scene could have been and while it may still impact some, think of how great the impact could have been had they chosen to follow God’s word in this scene.
Again, I wouldn’t say don’t watch it. If it changes one life or encourages one person to dig deeper then it’s all worth it. My hope is that it doesn’t turn people away from the Bible but instead brings them closer, into a deeper relationship with God. No movie or person has the power to change any of us but God’s word has the power to change us all, if we let it!
© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com