The Bible, from the History Channel

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[a]Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.      Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)

Sunday night my husband and I watched the first night of the five night series, The Bible, that is currently on the History Channel. I admit that we watched the first 30 minutes with a finger poised on the remote control as previous productions were at best ridiculously sensationalized and at worse pure fiction. We were gratefully surprised. While there were certainly some “literary license” or as a scholar friend of mine says, “They filled in some of the white spaces that are between the words in the Bible.” it was not, in my opinion offensive or heresy. The additions, like Sarah running up Mt. Moriah to try to stop Abraham (Genesis 22), while certainly not specifically in the canon, it is a reasonable speculation that if Sarah knew what Abraham was going to do, she would probably express her horror and try to dissuade him. So I can say without reservation that I would recommend watching this visual adaptation of the Holy Scripture with the understanding and hope that it will encourage us all to spend more time reading the Scriptures themselves.

Many might find this concept of writing a script and using actors to portray people in the Bible troubling. In this 21st century, I believe it is a viable tool to connect with a very visual generation. And we must use it wisely. In Jesus’ century, it was the tradition to teach about God only inside the synagogue. The Scribes and Pharisees were not happy that Jesus was teaching out on hillsides and in homes. Today we have study groups in our homes and coffee shops. This History Channel movie may be just as troubling to church teachers today. I pray we react differently than the Pharisees did. It is an opportunity for conversation and discussion. If there are points that are not – accurate – then we have an open door to teach and discuss from the Word, without attacking and ridiculing.

And to me, that is the most important point, creating and recognizing opportunities for Jesus to be in our daily lives is the best way to bring His Good News into the lives of people who are starving for Him, and they usually do not even know it. It is conversation, not arguments, that Jesus showed us in His life. It is humility that He showed to sinners not condemnation and finger-pointing. Yes, let us not grow weary in being humble in our sharing and teaching about Jesus Christ.

I Surrender All written by Judson W. Van DeVenter and Winfield S. Weeden, sung by Vineyard Worship


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