The Bible

One Big Thing and Three Small Things

Jesus CrossThe big thing today is Easter.  Jesus rose from the dead.  Everything is small in comparison.

Last night at dinner, my son Nate said, “Hey, the last episode of ‘The Bible (on The History Channel) will focus on Jesus’ death and resurrection and it’s being shown on Easter Sunday.  Do you think that’s a coincidence?”  (He was joking.)  We’ll be watching tonight.

My brief assessment of “The Bible”: each week I’m disappointed about one aspect (e.g., too much violence), and elated about one aspect.  Last week (session 4), Jesus’ call of Matthew while telling the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector moved me to tears.  But even for the parts that are disappointing, it’s always helpful to see the stories enacted.  I’ve pre-ordered it (Amazon releases it on April 2, $29.96).

Have you been watching?  What have you thought about The Bible?  

Three minor announcements (these are the small things):

1) God Behaving Badly on Kindle for only $2.99 expires today.  I doubt this deal will be resurrected.

2) I can’t seem to watch “The Bible and You“, the Canadian documentary that includes interviews with famous people and less famous people (Shannon and myself).  Any suggestions?  The four preview clips work.  I have them listed on this blog.  Each 10 minute clip includes two 2-3 minute clips of the documentary, and 4-5 minutes of the 2 hosts talking about it.

3) Wheaton Old Testament professor John Walton is giving a lecture at Cairn University (used to be Philadelphia Biblical University) on Tues, April 2 at 7:00 at Holmes Hall on Genesis 1, 2, subject of his book, The Lost World of Genesis One.  I’m planning on going.  If you live local, you should go.  It’ll be good.  (Thanks to Gary Schnittjer for telling me about it last night at church.)

He is risen. Indeed.  

Only Ten Hours!?! The Bible Focuses on Abraham

The Bible Joshua

“What?  They skipped Creation?!?”

Last night we watched The Bible on The History Channel.  The big question I had ahead of time was, “What will they skip over?”  You communicate a lot about what you think is important as you decide what to focus on and what to ignore.  (Good news if you missed last night, they will re-broadcast episodes; click here for schedule of re-broadcasts).

Anyone who teaches this Bible (pastors, Sunday school teachers, seminary professors) face this problem on a regular basis.  When I teach Genesis, I have almost 40 hours and I struggle to teach all of the book.  What do you skip?

To tell the story of the Bible in only ten hours, you knew they were going to skip a lot of stuff.

So, when I saw the series begin with an ark floating on the water I assumed they had skipped Creation, the Fall, Cain and Abel.

Turns out I was wrong.  Noah re-told the story of the first few chapters of Genesis to his family while the rain fell, the floods came and the winds blew.  It was quick, but still well-done.  A creative way to go over material that would be difficult to film in a narrative manner.

The first hour focused on Abraham (I won’t bother calling him Abram for the first part).  Jacob and Joseph were skipped.  What can you do?  I respect that decision.  Abraham is more important to the rest of the story.  (Although Jacob is Israel…)  It was better to go into depth on Abraham than tell the story of each of the Patriarchs quickly.

They included Abraham’s call, particularly focusing on his bringing nephew Lot with him.  (God told Abraham to leave his family–should he have even brought Lot?  Lot only caused Abraham problems.  Just wondering…)

I was surprised they included the story of the 5 kings vs. the 4 kings where Abraham delivers Lot from captivity (Gen. 14), but then they skipped the story of Melchizedek.  I’m sure the author of Hebrews was crushed by that decision (see Heb. 5:6; 7:1-25).

In regards to the story of Sodom, they choose violence over sex in the city.  The Sodomites don’t want to rape the angels, they attack them.  One of the two angels transforms into a warrior with martial arts moves.  Lot doesn’t offer his two young daughters, and Lot’s daughters don’t seduce and commit incest with dad.  Frankly, I support those decisions.

Check out the Brick Testament online (the Lego Bible) sometime for the sex that The Bible ignores (even with Legos, it’s pretty bad sometimes).  Or the Brick Testament book on Amazon.

Overall, I enjoyed the first episode and was pleasantly surprised by the quality and creativity of how they told the story.  The slight changes they made were minor (early on Abraham tells Sarah and Lot that God was going to give him descendants as numerous as the stars, but the stars image doesn’t appear until Gen. 22:17).

Well worth watching.  I’ll probably purchase the series, unless someone at The History Channel decides to send me a free copy because I’ve blogged about it now twice…

Next week begins with Joshua (that’s him in the picture).

What did you think of The Bible?  What would you have skipped over?