As a Christian apologist, I was rather excited to hear about The Bible Miniseries presented on the History Channel. I’m positive I’m not alone when I say that I get a little nervous when I hear that a major production company is presenting the story of the Bible on TV. I wasn’t following it week-by-week and I deliberately refrained from reading any reviews about it prior to viewing the episodes. I heard my fellow co-workers discuss how intrigued they were by it and how they are now “addicted”. By the end of the miniseries, I was excited to watch it after hearing numerous complimentary recommendations by fellow co-workers. Of course, I knew that almost all of my co-workers that recommended this miniseries to me weren’t active Christians who would be capable of spotting the inaccuracies but I took their interest as a good sign.
As I watched the 10 episodes, starting with the story of Abraham and ending with the story of Acts, I had a great deal of mixed feelings. I began watching the episodes with my iPad and my Bible out in order to note the similarities and the contrasts between the episodes and the Bible. However, this started to become a rather large task. I didn’t feel like I was doing anything other than picking apart the episode on a minute-by-minute basis. Personally, I didn’t feel like my readers or I would benefit from a minute-by-minute report on the inaccuracies of this miniseries. While some episodes were better than others, the fact is that this miniseries will disappoint people who are expecting an accurate scholarly illustration of the Bible. I am one of these people.
I won’t present the long list the inaccuracies in this article; however I wanted to present my thoughts on the matter of accuracy when the Bible is being depicted in this type of television setting. Are inaccuracies the cost of condensing a very long and elaborate story into a 45 minute timeframe? Did The Bible Miniseries do more harm than good when presenting the Bible inaccurately at times? How many people were led to opening their Bibles because they happened to see an episode of The Bible Miniseries?
Even though it may be inaccurate at times, The Bible Miniseries caused enough people to purposefully break their habit of watching American Idol and turn the channel to the History Channel to watch a depiction of the Word. In the beginning of each episode, it states, “We desire to stay true to the spirit of the story”. If that was their goal, I would imagine that they succeeded for the most part. The broad essence of the story was generally communicated. If their disclaimer would have said, “We desire to always remain loyal to the scriptures within the Bible” then they would have demonstrably failed. However, I pray that the Lord has used this miniseries to spark the interest of people all around the world to open their Bibles and enjoy these stories from the Word directly. Given the vast popularity of the miniseries, I feel that it is probable that many have done so.
While I cringe when I watch the Word being inaccurately depicted in any way, I am inspired by the vast popularity of this miniseries. The fact that The Bible Miniseries brought more viewers than American Idol can be viewed as a way of God telling us that the Bible still has life in this country and people are still craving for God’s Word in any way they can get it. In this culture that is used to drive-thru pickup windows, music immediately downloaded to your phone, drive-thru car washes, coffee that pours right into your cup, etc…, the quick and easy Bible miniseries became appealing to those who just haven’t taken the time to open their Bibles to get their needed intake of the Word. I think that the massive response shows that people are striving for God and are in need of His Word.
While I didn’t care for the inaccuracies of the Bible that was portrayed in the miniseries, I trust that the Holy Spirit tugged on the hearts of those needing to become engaged in the Word. Hopefully this little tug inspired those to pick up a Bible and be inspired by it and live it out in their lives. I can’t completely bash it because of this reason. I knew before watching it that it wasn’t going to be wholly accurate so that is why I’m not too surprised. I’d encourage those that will be watching the miniseries in the future to do so with your Bible in hand or to read the story ahead of time so that you can easily spot the inaccuracies and point them out to your family and friends. As Christians, let’s pray that this miniseries inspired those around the world to renew their commitment to studying the Bible and becoming as much engulfed in the Word as they were in the miniseries.