Teaching Outlines for 2013's "The Bible"
Originally released as a mini-series on the History Channel in 2013, "THE BIBLE" movie was generally well received for its production values, drama, and realism (though often a little too real when it comes to the violence in its early episodes). The movie is widely available from many online sources as a DVD or online viewing. You can preview entire low-res copies of most of the episodes on YouTube, and purchase individual episodes there or on Amazon. It was also playing on Netflix at the time of this posting. The entire 4 DVD set is under $20.
Each of the ten episodes of THE BIBLE is 48 minutes long. Scenes are occasionally narrated to provide context and move the story forward. An over-arching theme is clearly detectable --the Fall of Humanity and Promise of Redemption.
Age wise: So many of the episodes are simply not suitable for young children, and may be challenging for older children. Violence is one issue. Clarity about "who's doing what and what is happening" in the Old Testament episodes is another issue. See our notes in the Overview doc.
In general, grades 3 and up for Episode 5-10.
Those episode are good for teens and adults too.
See the overview doc for specifics about episodes 1-4.
In the Overview, we tell you which of the episodes to avoid, which ones are the best, and where some of the better stuff is buried.
The Overview in Brief:
- Episodes 6-10 cover the New Testament and are generally good and usable in Sunday School. Much of the content of episodes 6-10 form the basis of The Bible's companion film, Son of God. Read more about that below.
- Episode 1-4 cover the Old Testament and are "uneven." Some scenes are good, but then they show something unnecessary or jump in the story. Some episodes have a lot of violence (Samson and David are virtually unwatchable). Some parts of some episodes are suitable for Sunday School or simply need to be skipped (which is where our guides come in handy).
- Episode 1's Abraham story and Episode 2's Moses and the Exodus content DO have some good scenes, but you need to pick your way through them -as there are violent and "made-for-tv" moments you will not want children to see. Pick your spots.
- By far the best of the Old Testament episodes is Episode 5 which is mostly about Daniel and the Exile. It is very good and that's why we have produced an outline specifically for episode 5.
- Important Navigational Note: The DVD version of The Bible does have "chapters" you can advance to with your remote control. However, these "chapter stops" are not available on the online/downloadable versions of the movie -- which is why most of our guides also include the "starting time" of each chapter in each episode, ...and "time length" of each chapter so you can better plan where to start and stop. The DVD does not have an interactive menu system telling you what's in each chapter, you'll need our guide for that!
Episode 5: "Survival" does a very good job of covering Jeremiah, the Fall of the Kings, Exile, Daniel, Fiery Furnace, Lion's Den, and the Return to Jerusalem. It is the only Old Testament episode we recommend in its entirety. (If you have the DVD Set, is found on Disk 2.)
Episode 6: "Hope" does a good job of telling the story of Jesus' Birth and Early Ministry. Unlike the Son of God movie, Episode 6 from The Bible has a lot of the "birth story" and includes John the Baptist and the Temptation. (If you have the DVD Set, is found on Disk 2.)
Episode 7: "Mission" does a good job of showing the miracles and teachings of Jesus' ministry around Galilee. (If you have the DVD Set, is found on Disk 3.)
Episode 8: "Betrayal" portrays the events of Palm Sunday through the Arrest in the Garden and trial before the Sanhedrin. (If you have the DVD Set, is found on Disk 3.)
Episode 9: "Passion" is about the events of Good Friday. At times graphic, it is nonetheless a powerful depiction of Jesus' passion, and the effect it had on all those around him. Our outline notes the moments that may be a bit too graphic or intense for younger children. The outline also includes a LIST of the events of Good Friday (with key quotes) as found in all four Gospels. It can be used for discussion, and as a checklist for "what they included or left out" of Episode 9. (If you have the DVD Set, is found on Disk 3.)
Episode 10: "Courage" starts with the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, and then continues into Acts, including various scenes from Peter and Paul's stories. This guide breaks them down and includes numerous questions and comments. It also notes the locations where 'mild' violence appears -- violence which is in keeping with the Scripture's description of what the first disciples faced in the Book of Acts. The guide also includes follow-up reflection questions. (If you have the DVD Set, is found on Disk 4.)
The Bible and Son of God movies
There are, however some very interesting differences. Some scenes were included or excluded in one of the movies, others were shortened or lengthened. For example, The Bible has the arrival of the Magi. Son of God does not.
Son of God was released in theaters the following year in 2014. It contains some new and extended scenes not found in The Bible. In general, Son of God is better edited than The Bible such that it flows better.
We have written a detailed outline to the Son of God movie.
At the end of our Son of God guide is a list of what's in The Bible about Jesus that is not in Son of God movie, and vice versa.