Bible Series Segments 2&3: Promised Land and Prophets

I am taking the second and third installments together simply because I watched them together with one of our congregation’s CLAY (Community Learning About Yahweh) Bible study groups. Now, I certainly appreciate the impossible task of re-telling God’s entire history with humanity in 10 hours of video, yet the producers’ choices are even more curious this time. For example, I would not rank Sampson in the top 50 most significant Biblical characters, yet the time and attention to him was substantial. What about Elijah/Elisha—certainly more important to the New Testament narrative and Judeo-Christian faiths? I hardly think “good theater” explains the matter, for Elijah and Elisha out-pace Sampson in this regard, too, as does Jonah and the big fish and other phenomenal narratives.

Since the Bible is the telling of God’s history with humanity, and God’s decisive act with humanity is Jesus, then the Bible is finally about Jesus. Martin Luther called the Bible the cradle for Jesus. Now the story of Naomi and Ruth nears critical importance.

If you were to name 7 Old Testament stories and 7 New Testament stories that best communicate the Bible, what would your choices be and why?

Pastor Luther

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Bible Series Segment 1:Creation through Exodus

Mark Burnett, The Bible series co-producer (with Roma Downey), said he undertook this History Channel project because the Bible is easily the greatest book in the world’s history. As such, he is accomplishing literary theater rather than doing theology. Perhaps this was most evident in the first installment when there was considerable emphasis on the role of Lot and his wife while the stories of Jacob and Joseph were completely omitted. Collectively, the portions presented seemed to repeat a particular pattern— God’s leaders were consistently driven to their wits’ ends only to have God intervene at the last moment to destroy resistance while moving the remnant people forward. Noah, Abraham, and Moses each reiterated ‘God will provide,’ while imploring followers to ‘have faith.’

To date, is The Bible series a good introduction to people who have little or no Bible knowledge? What value is it to those who watch from a fundamentally-familiar or well-informed perspective? What ‘jumped off’ the screen when you watched? Questions, comments, observations?