When I saw that the History Channel was going to be presenting a new mini-series called "The Bible", I immediately thought, "Oh-Oh, here we go again!" That's because time and time again, these type shows are filled with false portrayals and scriptural inaccuracies for drama's sake.
I'm sure the producers of this new show had good intentions. After all, isn't the show bringing to light the Bible? Isn't it good for someone to see these Bible stories - maybe for the first time? Doesn't it bring up discussion? Well, yes, there is some good in it, but if the rest of the series is like the first two episodes, the good comes at the expense of distorting the truth of scripture. And what if this show, or show's like it, are the only Bible someone ever sees, and they base their theology on it? Considering that 13.1 million people viewed the first episode, this is surely the case for many.
The major problem with these type of shows is that someone decides what to enhance, what to leave out, and more detrimentally, what to add and falsify, for the sake of art or drama. Any such videos or movies have lasting impact because their visual images stay with us - they burn into our memory banks, and we recall them long after we see them. And if someone is gullible, or simply ignorant of the scriptures, then these type of shows or movies become their doctrine - their foundation and basis for their concept of Biblical truth.
So why is standing on the truth so important? Why not just water-down the Bible and just generalize everything or just paraphrase the scriptures and put everything in our own words? Well, one illustration of how dangerous this is, comes from the old circle game where one person whispers a story into the next person's ear, and by the time the story gets back to the originator, it is totally changed. It's distorted. That's the problem with straying from truth. The truth becomes distorted, changed, and eventually non-fiction becomes fiction. The truth of scripture is then exchanged for a lie.
"They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised." (Romans 1:25)
Having a "standard" is so important. That "standard" is the Bible. If we take the Bible as the Word of God, and we certainly should, then we must stand on it, and even defend it. Do you know what I have realized? The more we read the Bible, and the more we gain faith and mature, spiritually, the more offended we are when the truth of scripture is distorted. It's our responsibility as Christians, to not only know the truth of scripture, but to live by it.
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
You may not think any of this is a big deal, but to me it is. If anything, this Bible series should prompt us to do something...... read the Bible! Read the real story! Ask the question, is this story that is portrayed in this mini-series accurate or not? Be like the Bereans who analyzed the words of the Apostle Paul...
"Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Acts 17:11)
So, here are just a sampling of the many things that I was disappointed with, in the first two episodes of the History Channel's "The Bible"....
First, in episode one, Noah is shown on the ark with a wife and 2 young children, a young boy and a young girl. This may seem insignificant, but the Bible says that Noah, his wife, and his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, and their wives were in the ark - eight in all. And they are important figures later on.
Second, Abraham was 100 yrs old when Isaac was born - in the show, Abraham, as well as Sarah, are much younger. His age is significant and shows without a doubt the miraculous birth of Isaac.
Third, Sarah is very upset, and Isaac is very upset when Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac. There's no such drama in the Bible. On the contrary, submission and the trust of Isaac himself are shown instead.
Fourth, the show never clearly shows the real reason God is so upset with Sodom and Gomorrah - the sexual sins that are so tolerated in today's society.
Fifth, when the two angels are fighting in Sodom (not to mention one is some type of ninja), Abraham is shown standing with and talking with Jesus, as they overlook the city. What?!
Sixth, the scene showing the parting of the sea has great visual effects, but read the Bible to get the real scenario.
Seventh, in episode 2, Samson is black! I don't know where they got that, or why - except maybe the actor was the only one they could find with really good dreadlocks.
Eighth, when the prophet Nathan confronts David regarding his sin of killing Uriah, the show misrepresents David's character and portrays David as being angry with Nathan and with God. Just the opposite is true. David admits his sin right away. Then when his son dies, again the show misrepresents David. In the show he is angry. In the Bible, after his son dies, he goes and worships God. Then comforts his wife.
I'm glad this series is on the air. Maybe this can propel more Biblical based, true to the Bible shows. However, distortions of truths concerning who God is, what His commands are, and what His expectations are of us, can be dangerous. Now I'm not saying that this is happening to this degree in the History Channel's show, at least not yet. Hopefully, the future episodes on the New Testament will be true to the scriptures and exalt Christ for who He is and what He's done. Let's wait and see.