The highly anticipated five-week miniseries, The Bible, debuts this coming Sunday, March 3, on the History Channel.
Produced by Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice) and his wife Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel) the ten-hour presentation is a dramatic and ambitious project. It’s also a labor of love for the Burnetts, who began this endeavor with a noble and classically evangelistic goal: to encourage people to read the Bible.
Let’s face it – it takes some moxie to lift up the Bible in the middle of Hollywood. In fact, when they first proposed the project they were told to try and tell the story without mentioning Jesus. They refused, rightly countering, of course, that not only is it impossible to omit Jesus, but that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus is the climax of the entire book!
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Mark and Roma over the last six months. In the process we’ve become friends. It’s always inspiring to be around people who have a fervent desire to tell other people about Jesus. And this couple is clearly passionate about sharing the message of Jesus with the world as well as having the opportunity to put on film the greatest story ever told, come what may from those who may object to it.
“It’s our story,” said Roma Downey. “We can identify and relate with the characters, because their situations might be 2,000 years ago, but the things that they’re feeling and experiencing, the dynamics that are going on within their families, it’s the same issues that we have today. Human nature hasn’t changed that much. The mistakes that the characters are making back then, we’re still making those mistakes today.”
Because it’s impossible to tell the entire story of the Bible in just ten hours, you might notice that some creative license has been taken from time to time. For example, we know the Magi didn’t visit Jesus until he was approximately two-years-old, but in the miniseries you’ll see them honoring the infant Jesus upon his birth. In short, though, you should know the series never deviates from prevailing themes.
I want to share a clip with you, but on the eve of this television debut, may I ask you a favor, please?
I believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. I believe we should treat the Scriptures with the utmost degree of care and respect. I also know that some people object to any artistic rendering of Jesus because of the limited nature of art and the fact that Jesus has no limits.
But I also believe that we’re living in a dark day when millions of people, including our neighbors and even many of our family and friends, refuse to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Many of these same people refuse to go to church. They refuse to open a Bible. But many of these people watch television. That The Bible may serve as a spark to rekindle or kindle their faith should be a source of great excitement for all of us.
I hope people don’t lose sight of the big picture, that this series is designed to turn people to Jesus and to encourage them to dig deeper into their Bibles.
Here’s the clip I promised, and in the meantime, I hope you might consider watching the series and telling others about it, especially your non-believing friends. You would also want to know this Friday’s Focus on the Family radio broadcast will feature an exclusive interview that John Fuller and I conducted with Mark and Roma.