I'm so glad this TV series is over! I'm tired of watching it, and writing about it - I've got more important things to write about. Everybody's been asking me, "Are you ready for the last episode?" In more ways than one - yes! So here I am, late Sunday night, writing a review on the last episode. Another fine mess I've got myself into - ha!
Well, if you've read my previous posts on each of the first four episodes of "The Bible" on the History Channel, you've got the gist of where I'm coming from. So far this series has been full of misconceptions, out of context quotes, and over dramatized scenes, and worst of all, inaccuracies. I don't know about you, but I believe knowing and declaring the truth of scripture is important.
Yes, I know, a show about the Bible is good in a sense that everyone is talking about it. But I wonder how much of the talk is "Wait a minute, that's not how it is in the Bible!" One of the producers was interviewed recently, boasting that Twitter was lit up over the show. What he didn't say was how much of it was lit up, talking about all the things that were wrong with the show.
The key to understanding what this series is about can be easily overlooked. It comes at the very beginning when a text comes on the screen that says, "This program is an adaptation of Bible stories. It endeavors to stay true to the spirit of the book." Therein lies the problem.......it's an "adaptation". An adaptation by definition is "a composition rewritten into a new form." And that statement has been true to form in each episode. But why rewrite the Bible? Like I said in my last post, this series is like a movie that is "based on a true story" but is not the true story.
I was really hoping that this last episode got it right. It actually started out fairly well! Either that, or I've been desensitized watching the five episodes. I tried to overlook many details that were questionable, and have even left many out of this post. But there are some very important things I wish they hadn't left out, and some things that were added unnecessarily.
In this final episode, the portrayal of the chief priests was done well. The flogging and crucifixion of Jesus was powerful, maybe a little too much emphasis on close up, dramatic blood scenes for a TV show. A lot of it reminded me of the movie "The Passion of Christ", which is so much better than this show.
Not emphasized correctly:
1. The show didn't portray Pilate very well as one who really wanted Jesus released. In the Bible, Pilate even says,"I'm innocent of this man's blood." He doesn't say that in the show, even though he washes his hands. OK, I could let that slide I guess.
2. In the show, when Jesus dies, the curtain in the Temple just falls. In the Bible, it's torn in two, which is very significant.
3. In the show, only Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb to find Jesus gone, not the 3 women that the Bible talks about. This whole scene is botched. The show leaves out the angel at the tomb, and while Mary is inside, Jesus shows up! This is another one of the typical hodge podge scenes. I feel like the editors cut out all the important scenes for sake of time.
4. When Jesus is saying His last words to the disciples before ascending into heaven, in the TV show, He leaves out most of the important words of the 'great commission', and He doesn't say one of the most incredible statement's in the Bible, "I'll be with you always, even to the end of the age." Then, instead of ascending into the clouds, He just disappears. The ascension is one of the foundational truths of scripture. Again, it's like the producers are saying, "Let's cut this part out, we don't have time for it, it's not really that important, and no one will know the difference anyway."
5. The TV show pretty much does a massacre of Acts chapter 2. It leaves, perhaps in the cutting room floor, one of the most significant events, the Holy Spirit ascending on the disciples like tongues of fire. Then leaves out Peter's sermon that's the big part of Acts 2. And leaves out how 3000 were baptized as the church begins.
6. Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus is misrepresented. In the show, Paul is portrayed to be belligerent and resistant when He encounters Jesus. In the Bible, he is opposite - submissive and humbled.
My conclusion about this TV series is this....Bible believers long to see the Bible promoted, and would love to see the Bible ACCURATELY represented in film. I believe a large portion of the millions of viewers for this series are such people. Unfortunately, as in the case of this series, it usually doesn't happen. I believe one of the best attempts is the movie "The Passion Of The Christ". There are other not so well known movies, such as "The Gospel of John", starring Christopher Plummer. You can find it on Amazon. The dialogue is entirely scripture, word for word! It's a great one - much better than the History Channel's version, or should I say adaptation.
So next Sunday night, I suppose we can all watch ESPN, or some movie, or better yet....how about reading the Bible!!!!!! Time much better spent. Two hours reading the Bible is much better than two hours watching TV. Start with the New Testament and read a little each day. If you have a smart phone, get the Bible app "YouVersion". If you have a laptop or computer, go to Biblegateway.com. They both have the entire Bible, as well as reading plans. Or simply pick up your Bible in book form, and read it!!!