The reviews of The Bible miniseries by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have started to come out. And as I type this, I’m watching the second showing on Lifetime (The first was last night on the History Channel). I won’t add to what they say, but I will make one point. It’s easy for Christians to criticize an attempt to convey the overarching message of the Bible in a scant ten hours. But I think Burnett and Downey have a good approach here. See the trailer:
The reviews I’ve read so far are at Stand to Reason and Answers in Genesis. But it’s helpful to hear the idea from the standpoint of the creators. They did an interview with Focus on the Family that you need to listen to. Their goal is not to try and tell every story in the Bible, but to produce a series with high production value that will provide an incentive for people to read the Bible – particularly those who are not Christian.
I was raised with the typical Sunday School lessons of unconnected Bible stories and Aesop’s-fable-style moral lessons. So the idea is that we are supposed to be good people, right? That’s what the stories are all about, or so my Sunday School teachers always taught. That’s what Matthew Boyd wrote about recently. But that kind of teaching doesn’t provide a solid framework for actually teaching the gospel. The goal isn’t to behave well, but to understand what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. It wasn’t until I was an adult and read the Bible in such a way as to see how all the stories were part of a whole meta-narrative that I understood how it all speaks to Christ.
That’s why my church has been breaking into small groups and reading the Bible together using the Community Bible Experience as a tool to do so. So if The Bible miniseries doesn’t have all of our favorite details, don’t fret. It might make more Christians when people pick up a Bible and read it for themselves instead of criticizing it based on what other people have said about it. They might follow in the footsteps of Rosaria Butterfield:
Now that would be a good thing.