The Book Is Better: The History Channel's "The Bible"

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The Book Is Better

The History Channel's "The Bible"

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I’m sure a lot of you have watched at least some of the History Channel’s miniseries, “The Bible.” In fact it’s more likely you watched the series premiere than the hit show “American Idol.”

The miniseries debuted with approximately 14.8 million viewers watching the first night while the same week’s “American Idol” drew a high of 13.3 million.

To the surprise of many “The Bible” has been a huge success for the History Channel and since the bottom line in the entertainment industry is money, it’s probable other networks will at least dip their toe into the pool of viewers interested in religious themed programming.

Any mistakes of Biblical proportions?

I’ve watched the first couple episodes and can see why the miniseries is compelling but I was also disappointed with the deviations from the Bible. In a couple cases I went back to check the story against the biblical account to verify the errors.

How many did you see?

I was also disappointed that many critical events were left out which would have added substance and context in the series.

What did you notice missing?

In fairness though, the creators of the miniseries had a difficult task. I heard an interview with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (the creators of the series) and they seemed genuinely interested in doing a quality project. Yet, the Bible is so rich in history and so deep in meaning that it is impossible to capture it on screen.

Each word is there for a purpose. Every story has something to teach us. As one of the writers of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote that the events recounted are examples to us (1 Corinthians 10:11). He told the young man Timothy that every word is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16).

Prove it for yourself

It’s been said that Christianity in America is a mile wide and an inch deep, meaning it can be found most everywhere but it has very little depth. For instance, USA Today reported on the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey of religious knowledge in the United States showing that many adherents do not even understand what their own denomination teaches.

That’s horribly sad. You don’t have to fall into that category. Understand what you are being taught. Study it. Prove it true or prove it false. It will be one of the most important things a young person can do.

Watch… and read

Considering the type of entertainment on television today many would welcome more shows like “The Bible.” However, there is a danger if we are watching them as a source of biblical information.  Remember, they are primarily produced for entertainment by people with their own motives and prejudices who may have no personal interest in religion. There is no guarantee of accuracy and events can be subtly presented to promote a particular bias.

While the History Channel’s “The Bible” may be good entertainment it is no substitute for The Bible, but you can use the miniseries as a prod to look into the Bible for yourself. Read the stories. They are stories of real people, just like you and me, with lessons that will last a lifetime.

As someone commented to me “I’ve seen the movie and read the book. The book is better.”