Recently, the History Channel televised a special 10-hour mini-series on The Bible. From the reports and reviews given, it has been very popular and viewed by a large audience. I did not watch it, because I tend to be mindful of the many errors and inaccuracies in such a feature. I did, however, take a few moments occasionally to view parts of it to get an idea of what was being shown. For instance, they had three wise men coming to the stable where Jesus was born. But, when we actually go to the Bible, it doesn’t tell us how many wise men came—they brought three gifts— “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matt. 2:11). They did not come to the stable, as did the shepherds (Lk. 2:8-16). Mary and the young Child were in a “house” when the wise men arrived (Matt. 2:3). While the movie did have John the Baptist immersing Jesus when He was baptized (which is the scriptural meaning of baptism—from the Gk. baptizo—to dip or plunge under; to immerse), yet when Ananias came to Saul of Tarsus (later the Apostle Paul), the movie had him pouring water over his head instead of immersing or baptizing him. (See Acts 9:17; 22:16).
Sometimes these shows about the Bible can be interesting and informative glimpses of daily life and culture during ancient times. They help give us insight into the intense emotions of people when they were in certain situations. Some of that was clearly evident in the movie, The PASSION of the Christ—about the death of Jesus. But I believe there are dangers that must be taken into consideration.
We must realize that God chose words to reveal His will to man. Words are vehicles which convey ideas and thoughts. Please observe what is stated by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 3:3-5: “...how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery as I wrote before in a few words, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.” Hence, God has not made His will known through movies, actors or plays.
We have to be careful that we do not base our knowledge and understanding of the Bible on what we have seen in movies. I wonder how many people today visualize Moses as Charlton Heston when they study the Old Testament record of how God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, parted the Red Sea, gave the Ten Commandments, etc.
This is why it is so important that the Word is studied and learned by our children. Our young people do not need to grow up with their “knowledge” based on visual images of Bible characters such as Bible Veggie Tales, cartoons, movies, plays, etc.
Nothing can take the place of God’s book—THE BIBLE. It is verbally inspired—word for word. It was not written in the form of a novel to entertain, thus, we are not to think of it in such a manner. All Scripture is inspired— “God-breathed” —so “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Paul had just reminded Timothy “that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).
The TV series, THE BIBLE, may give us something to discuss with our neighbors and friends. It may even open a door of opportunity to teach them the gospel—the truth. But we still must remember that our faith is based upon the Word. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). James tells us to “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:21). The Hebrew writer reveals to us that “the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). The Word is our standard, our guide, therefore, we must obey it and live by it. The Psalmist said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” (Psa. 119:105).
by R.J. Evans