The Bible series, aired on the History Channel, wrapped up on Easter. It brought viewers from the Garden of Eden to the promise of a new heaven and new earth, given to the writer of Revelation. It was the most watched cable television event of 2013. (Final Episode Ratings) Millions were glued to their TV sets, watching the events of God’s Word unfold. The cast and directors of the film claimed miracles were happening as they recorded the scenes. Was it as powerful as the Passion of the Christ or was it a train wreck like the “Noah’s Ark” on NBC in 1999, where they mixed up Noah & Moses (will never forget that, even people on Jeopardy would know the difference)? Here’s my take:
- Record Ratings. 13 Million people watched The Bible. Did you hear what I said (well, wrote, but you know what I mean)? It was a record event for cable television. People were watching the story of redemption, the Word of God, the Bible from their living rooms. That is more than good!
- Did That Really Happen? Along those same lines, it got people reading the Bible again. How could it not? You want to go back and check the stories that were portrayed after viewing each scene. It was exciting to follow along in God’s Word as actors portrayed its wonderful contents.
- The Holy Land Meets Hollywood. This was no ordinary Bible film. They did not sugar-coat the battle scenes, or comb over the violence, or baby the conflict. Heads were severed, killings did occur, and blood was spilt. In one of the first episodes, when they showed the angels go all “Jet Li” on the people of Sodom, I knew this was not going to be like Bible movies of old.
- And the Emmy for Best Cinematography Goes To… Sure, it did not have an Avatar film crew or a Star Wars budget, but it was a level above in terms of cinematography from other Bible films. This was a show on History Channel, so let’s get our expectations where they should be. And in my mind, the sets were well designed, the props and costume design were well done, the parting of the Red Sea was awesome, and the holes in Jesus’ hands were memorable.
- Yeah, That’s Wrong. There were times where the poetic license of the writers was taken too far. Sure, there are some things you can fill in where the Bible is not specific like the childhood of Biblical characters or where certain people may have been during Biblical events. But, unfortunately, there were inaccuracies. How does this happen? The script was written 2000 years ago. Use it! Here are just a few:
- It was a ram, not a lamb. Sure they rhyme, but still doesn’t make it an easy mistake to make (another rhyme). Sarah also running up to the mountain like a crazy mother…yeah, not true.
- Wise men….noooooo. It’s the most common mistake made in the telling of the Christmas story, why repeat it here. I actually said, “No wise men, come back in a couple of years, turn around. Aw, nuts.” The wise men were early.
- Jesus’ Sayings: What Jesus said during his early ministry was said in later events, and vice versa.
- (Here are some more)
- Disappointing Edits. I joked last night “Joseph of Arimathea didn’t make the final cut. I guess we will find him in the deleted scenes”. But there were more serious edits, like the Baptism scene. That would have been a perfect opportunity to display the Trinity, but they left out that whole part. Disappointing. Although it is only a 5 night series, I’ll let some edits pass, but this one was a bummer.
- Gospel. This may have been the biggest. Could people have gotten saved through this movie? Was the Gospel clearly presented…I think it needed more. Give more detail of what Cornelius prayed, dig deeper with Nicodemus, and explain how people became Christians. The Gospel was in there, but I wanted more!
- Ethnicity and Age of the Characters. It was good to see Mary & Joseph young, since they were probably teenagers in the birth story. However, the disciples (except for Peter) were most likely high school age as well (not older men with beards). Also, I was a little surprised that they went with the classic representation of Jesus. Sure, that man looked exactly like the drawings of Jesus we have seen drawn for centuries. However, it was very likely Jesus, and many other of the Biblical characters, had darker skin.
The Grade: B
This review will be put in a pile of thousands of others, who will review The Bible (the series, not the Bible itself, because that definitely is ALL good, and deserves an A+). Sure, there are inaccuracies. And this disappointing, when all the writers had to do was look in the Bible, your material is right there! That was my reasoning for not giving it an A. So, my warning is to take what you watch with a grain of salt (and also be careful of the little ones, since it does at times get a bit violent/gory).
However, the reason for an above average grade is because people were able to watch the story of God redeeming His people from the Garden to Paul on the road to Damascus. And maybe there were people watching that realized they need a Redeemer in their lives too! Bibles were opened that may have had previously been dust collectors. The Bible is being discussed on Twitter, Facebook, and other social mediums.
In my mind, this series served its original intent and purpose…to produce a film that increased the discussion of the Bible, exposed America to the book that it once was founded upon, and revive the reading and knowledge of a book that many just know as of something they find in the drawer in hotel rooms, or what was read to them by their grandmother. If that was what deems the series a success, then it hit the mark.