Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey produced the History Channel’s Miniseries blockbuster, The Bible. Millions of viewers have watched the series, perhaps including you, providing it with epic ratings. This dramatic presentation attempted to condense the Bible’s message from Genesis to Revelation into five two-hour segments. It has received acclaim from viewers and critics alike.
Many religious leaders have given it unequivocal support. These include Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, and other notable members of the professing evangelical community. Their enthusiasm and endorsement for the project no doubt increased its viewership and acceptance. The Christian community has likewise welcomed the series. Many Christians believe that it authenticates and legitimizes the Bible and Christianity.
Despite such glowing acceptance, The Bible TV Miniseries presents many problems. The portrayals in the series present a politically correct version of the Bible. In their misguided attempts to make the Bible attractive and appealing, they applied artistic license to their production. Their “cool” version, culturally acceptable, propagates a false version of God the Father, Jesus Christ God’s son, and the Holy Spirit.
These examples of erroneous content come quickly to mind:
- the failure to identify homosexuality as the cause for God’s judgment of Sodom and Gomorra;
- the omission of declaring Jesus Christ as the Son of God at his baptism;
- the incorrect assertion regarding the mission of Christ.
These examples, by no means the only ones in the series, reveal the readiness of the postmodern society to reject the actual words of the Bible in the vain attempt to formulate a production that fits the culture’s demands . Even professing evangelicals have lost the perspicuity of the Bible.
Mark Burnett and his wife Roma Downey failed to achieve their stated aim for their series: stick to the Scriptures. They failed to do precisely that, even though they had copies of the Bible available to them during production. One cannot deviate from the factual components of the meta-story of the Bible, no matter how noble the reasons and no matter how seemingly insignificant the digressions, without compromising the veracity of the whole story. The results inaccurately portray the Bible’s meta-story. Production features do not trump Biblical accuracy.
Stated simply, the message of the Bible presents the self-revelation of God to sinners and declares their need for reconciliation to God. In the Bible, God explains what he has done about mankind’s need.
The authority of the Bible and its message, like a three-legged stool, relies upon three truths. Unlike human writings, God inspired the books of the Bible.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Those whom God inspired to compile his messages wrote the words as God’s spirit directed them. The Bible declares God’s message to humanity, which he delivered through those whom he chose to author it.
God’s inspiration of the Bible establishes its inerrancy. No human can improve nor correct it. So-called non-doctrinal, immaterial changes to the Biblical text undermine its inerrancy. Those who promote these changes slander the legitimacy of the Bible as a witness and of the writer(s) whose writings they reject. Actually, it reveals their unbelief in God.
God’s inspiration of the Bible and its inerrancy prove its infallibility. The one behind the Bible, God, insures its accuracy. The Bible contains no errors. Neither does it need alteration to fit the changes in society. Societies change, but God’s word remains as steadfast as God: infallible for all times and cultures.
Neither unbelievers nor even born again believers possess the right or ability to alter the biblical record. An inability to understand all of it does not negate its truthfulness or application. The Bible includes God’s warnings about altering it. God has promised to rebuke, and in some cases, to send plagues upon those who change even the slightest punctuation of the Bible.
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Proverbs 30:5-6)
How should one respond to the Bible and its message? Because of the uniqueness of its inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility, and because of the distinctive message of the Bible that reveals God and his plan of redemption for sinners, you and I must adapt ourselves to the Bible. We must read it, asking God by his Holy Spirit to enlighten our minds to understand it. As he confirms the truth of his word to us, we must trust its message of revelation and redemption.
As people like you and I conform our lives to its teachings, ultimately trusting God’s provision for sinners like us in Jesus Christ the savior of sinners, we will experience God’s life indwelling us and changing us into the image of Christ.