The Bible Movie

I finally had an opportunity to sit down and view the latest attempt at using the media to share the message of God's Word via the big screen.  The Bible, which is playing on the History Channel this month, is a 10 hour docu-drama that follows the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  The media was bashing it because it teaches the creation and events in Genesis as real, rather than allegories.  Hearing the producers did that because they really wanted to stay true to the Scriptures I decided to go ahead and give the movie a try even though it was against my better judgment.

It was not long before I began to regret my decision.  They certainly were not successful at staying true to Scripture.  While some of the stories were accurate, enough error was blended it that it made it too difficult to watch.  I find it arrogant of writers, producers and actors to think they must sensationalize the Holy Word of God in order to get viewers.  If making money is your goal, then stay away from producing a sacred text.  If you are a Christian you might carefully consider this passage of Scripture.

  I testify to the one who hears the words of the prophecy contained in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described  in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19 NET)

One might wonder why I am being so harsh.  In today's culture of anything goes in the church, using media to reach the lost is apparently allowed even if it changes the Word of God.  Those who did not notice anything wrong with it are probably not all that familiar with it.  In our era of social media where every thought is limited to 140 characters, who has time to actually read the entire Bible?  Our desire to study, meditate and devour the Word of God has been replaced with beautiful photos overlaid with a lone Bible verse to get us through the day.  Unfortuantely that is not enough.  

So what exactly is wrong with the movie?  There are few things that I remember right off.  The first being that Noah's boat was not leaky.  While that is not significant in itself, it did set the stage for the liberties the producers chose to take.  The scenes that really ended it for me were the angels in the city of Sodom and the sacrifice of Isaac.  First of all the angels did not beg Lot for help.  In fact it was the opposite, Lot had to beg them to come with him.
Genesis 19:1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening while 1  Lot was sitting in the city’s gateway. 2  When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face toward the ground.
19:2 He said, “Here, my lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house. Stay the night 3  and wash your feet. Then you can be on your way early in the morning.” 4  “No,” they replied, “we’ll spend the night in the town square.” 5 19:3 But he urged 6  them persistently, so they turned aside with him and entered his house
 I certainly did not see any sword battle between the people of the city and the angels.  The angels did blind the people but it was at dawn that they led Lot and his family to safety.  You will notice from the text the urgency is about getting Lot and his family out before they face the judgment of God not to get them away from an unruly crowd of people.
Genesis 19:15 At dawn 38  the angels hurried Lot along, saying, “Get going! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, 39  or else you will be destroyed when the city is judged! 40  19:16 When Lot 41  hesitated, the men grabbed his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters because the Lord had compassion on them. 42  They led them away and placed them 43  outside the city. 19:17 When they had brought them outside, they 44  said, “Run 45  for your lives! Don’t look 46  behind you or stop anywhere in the valley! 47  Escape to the mountains or you will be destroyed!
 There is also no mention of Sarah knowing that Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac.  Here is all it says about what happened when that was over.

Genesis 22:19 Then Abraham returned to his servants, and they set out together 45  for Beer Sheba where Abraham stayed. 46

There is no scene of Sarah running to find her son or looking at Abraham as if he is a fool for doing what God told him to do.  

Do these little things really matter?  I think they do. Christ said that God's Word is truth.  If it is truth, should we dare change it?  Who are we to think we can make it more exciting, compelling or entertaining? Filling in what we don't know is one thing, but changing what actually did happen is another.

I have yet to find a biblical movie that meets the criteria of staying true the Scripture.  The Passion was among the worst and the reason I swore to never watch a biblical movie again.  Until this one said it was better.  Until it claimed that it was staying true to the Bible for which it was named.  Well, it did not.  So beware, if you watch this know that it is not what it claims to be.  It is not The Bible on the screen.