Millions tuned in earlier this year when The Bible Miniseries aired on the History Channel. We weren’t among them. Not because we weren’t interested in watching the miniseries, but because we don’t subscribe to paid television. That being said, I was more than happy to add The Bible Mini Series on DVD to our collection when I received the opportunity to review it.
The miniseries, from Roma Downey and her husband, producer Mark Burnett is 10-hours in length and covers Genesis through Revelation. It carries a TV-14 rating.
I wasn’t sure how the producers would manage to cram several thousand years of history into 10 hours of film. The fact that it garnered the support of Focus on the Family told me that it should be an adequate representation of the Gospel.
Because of the rating, I decided to preview The Bible Miniseries without the kidlets. They are, after all, still reading storybook Bibles. I am glad that I took that precaution, because they certainly wouldn’t have understood the intense scenes that depict the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah or the battle scenes.
There were a few points where The Bible Miniseries employed creative license and does not stick to the account of Scripture. The ones I noticed include:
- In the Miniseries, Noah recaps the details of creation, but the account of creation wasn’t written until centuries later by Moses. We know that many cultures employed spoken histories to pass their beliefs and customs from one generation to the next. It stands to reason that Noah KNEW the account of creation. It would have made more sense, though, to have Moses recounting the story of creation, since he’s the one that wrote it.
- In the Miniseries, Sarah is shown to race to Mt. Moriah upon realizing Abraham’s intent to sacrifice their son. The Scriptures do not detail Sarah’s reaction to Abraham’s preparation to sacrifice their son on Mt. Moriah in Genesis 22. It does stand to reason, though, that her reaction MAY have been similar to that portrayed IF she had realized what was happening. We just don’t know, though.
- In the Miniseries, a lamb is shown in the thicket as Abraham’s alternative sacrifice, when a ram is clearly described in Scripture.
- In the Miniseries, the Angel’s fight with swords and such. Yah, Scripture doesn’t mention angels using weaponry of any kind (or fighting for that matter). The account, in Genesis 19, says that the angels seized Lot and his wife, and two daughters, by their hands and brought him out of the city. The angels may have encountered principalities as they exited the city, but again, we don’t know.
- In the Miniseries, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are shown captured during the Babylonian siege/destruction of Jerusalem. In Scripture, they are deported more than a decade after the destruction of Jerusalem. This inaccuracy doesn’t make much sense to me.
- In the Miniseries, Daniel is thrown into the lion’s den during the reign of Cyrus. The Biblical account indicates that Darius was the one in power in Daniel 6. Again, this one doesn’t make sense to me.
- In the Miniseries, the birth of Jesus follows the typical western portrayal, complete with Mary riding on a donkey (not mentioned in Scripture) and three wise men riding camels to visit the newborn Jesus. The Bible details Jesus Christ’s birth in Matthew 1:18-25, Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 1:26-38 and Luke 2:1-20. All accounts indicate that Jesus was likely older when the wise men paid their visit, and none of the accounts list how many wise men there were. Three wise men are commonly shown because of the three gifts that were presented.
- In the Miniseries, John the Baptist is arrested and executed for preaching about a Messiah that would deliver the Jews from the Roman oppression they were under. Scripture clearly indicates that 1) thought puzzled by him, Herod liked to listen to John preach UNTIL he preached about Herod stealing his brother’s wife. He was arrested for that and later executed when Herod’s step-daughter asks for his head on a platter in an act of revenge (Mark 6:21-15). According to Mark 6:20, Herod
- In the Miniseries, Satan encourages Jesus to jump from a cliff during his temptation of Christ. Scripture indicates that they were on the pinnacle of the temple during this temptation (Matthew 4:5-7). I can imagine THAT would have been hard to film, but a cliff? Really? If cinematics can make Spiderman swing from the Empire State Building, surely it can depict Jesus on the pinnacle of the temple.
- If I were to judge the Miniseries based solely on cinematics, it would indeed garner the highest praise. It was visually appealing and at times breath taking. Given it’s creative license, though, I’d be remiss not to point out that you’d be well served to have your Bible in hand while watching and compare the stories depicted to the truth in Scripture.
The Bible Miniseries averaged 15 million viewers over five two-hour parts to make it the #1 watched TV Series in 2013 and has sold over 1 million DVD units. That is a lot of eyes on the Bible. It is my prayer that those eyes will then turn to Scripture.
Interestingly, the producers recently announced that they signed a pact with 20th Century Fox to take the Jesus Christ portions of the miniseries into movie theaters next year, titled as Son of God, with additional scenes not in the previously seen in the Miniseries.
Additionally, it was announced over the summer that NBC will carry the sequel with the tentative title of “A.D.: Beyond the Bible,” though air dates have not been determined.
You can purchase The Bible Miniseries on DVD at Walmart and wherever Christian movies are sold.