Are Details Really All That Important?

So last night Kim and I decided to start watching The Bible miniseries from the History Channel. Leading up to this, Kim and I had heard from so many people how great this was, so we were excited to sit down and watch it and see what all the hype had been about.

The first screen we saw was a sort of disclaimer…that this is an adaptation, but it endeavors to stay true to the spirit of the book.


After I saw this, I began wondering what we were in for, and I was greatly disappointed by what I saw.

What Is The Spirit Of The Book?

So if the show was supposed to be true to the spirit of the book, I guess it’s an important question to ask, what is the spirit of the book? This is actually a HUGE worldview question that will greatly impact what comes next, both from the production of the show, as well as the way it’s received.

As an evangelical Christian, when I read the Bible, I am reading a sacred text that has several components:

  1. It’s God’s instruction manual for our lives.
  2. It’s the history of God’s interaction with the His chosen people, the Hebrews.
  3. It’s the record of the Character of God.
  4. It’s the story of God’s grace and mercy on His creation, and His demonstration of love for us…especially when we don’t deserve it.

Of course the Bible is so much more to me, but I think these four encapsulate what I hold the “Spirit” of the Bible to be.

From what I saw in the first episode (which I did watch the entire thing), the writers and producers have a much different perspective on the “spirit of the book” than I do.

Stories Are Accurate But The Details Aren’t

But they are just details, right? Well, that would be true if we were talking about Peter Pan. However, when we think about historical writing, which the Bible really is, even small things can make the big difference between whether someone is loving or is not, whether someone is respectful or is not.

What I found with the show is that these small details were wrong, and that is where the problems started for me.

For instance, take the story of Abraham (Genesis 12-25). From the time he was introduced in the show, he was addressed as Abraham. But where they picked up in the story (right about Genesis 12), his name was actually Abram. You see, God renamed Abram (Genesis 17) when he entered into a covenant with him. This is exceptionally important because it was not anything that Abraham had done, but was about God’s desire to enter into a covenant with Him.

Or, take the story of Sodom (Genesis 19). In the show, the fire started falling on the city before Lot and his family had even left. But according to scripture, the angels specifically told lot to hurry, because they could not bring God’s wrath until he was safely away. This, again, is a BIG error because it in part shows God’s attention to details.

These are just a couple of examples, and there were several others I could go into just from the first episode.

What do you think? Are these details important?