The Bible Collection: David

2016-09-15-davidThis two-part film from The Bible Collection focuses on King David and his life from a youth to middle-age, just after his second son is murdered.

I think the movie does a pretty good job overall detailing the major points of David’s life, and the first part — which primarily focuses on Jonathan Pryce’s excellent King Saul — is by far the most interesting to watch.

David is a hard person to connect to once he becomes king and the film does a decent job of portraying his behavior. Even though David is chosen by God from a very early age to be the means of His work, David makes a rather huge mistake out of the blue (when he becomes king, and I’m guessing lets his guard down) that colors the rest of his life. The story of David is ultimately about being favored by God, turning away and then asking for forgiveness — and the movie deals with that subject in a convincing, authentic-feeling and engaging way.

Some of the actor choices aren’t great (however the great actor Leonard Nimoy knocks it out of the park) but adult David’s actor does a very good job of making the film believable and genuine feeling throughout. Also, the battles seem rather small in scope (like the battle with Goliath) but these made-for-television films get the point across, even on a television-sized budget.

I think the two-part film is worth watching, and does a good job of highlighting Saul’s issues, David’s rise and fall and rise again, David’s children rebelling … and gets the overall message of God’s love and forgiveness across.

Strange And Mysterious Stuff From The Bible: From The Weird To The Wonderful

2016-09-01-strangeandmysteriousI was intrigued by this book when I came upon it in the local Christian book store, because it had a few things going for it that I thought were interesting: 1) It was pretty short, and divided up into small, bite-sized chunks for easier reading. 2) It seemed to cover a wide variety of Biblical topics, vs. just one specific thing. 3) It seemed to focus on oddball and less-known things that confused or made Bible readers raise an eyebrow.

It took me a couple weeks to finish, and because the sections are so short, you never really lost your place in what was being talked about. You could literally pick the book up, read it for just a few minutes, and make a decent amount of progress overall.

That said, the topics in the book are less “weird” than just well-known bits taken from major stories in the Bible. I was expecting more of a focus on the nitty-gritty, behind-the-scenes info that explained why certain events happened or were described like they were in the Bible. Instead, you mostly get a quick summary, a sentence or two of lesser-known background info and then typically a quip or two.

Where the book falls short is that it seems like there is a sense of disbelief in the Bible’s authenticity itself, based on the constant references the author makes to “experts” trying to take-out-of-context or debunk stories like the parting of the Red Sea (the “reed sea” is brought up), the measurements of Heaven (as described in Revelation), saying Ruth was a questionable character (crawling under the covers), etc. If you’re even somewhat familiar with these topics from other sources, you’ll definitely get an uneasy feeling reading Stephen M. Miller’s content.

He also uses questionable phrases and wording, as a way to describe events. They sometimes come off as borderline crude and inappropriate, with section titles like “Baal: Gone to the Potty” and “Date with an Energizing Prostitute.” It’s … odd.

Lastly, some topics are covered over and over, like the Baal Priests getting killed and Jacob’s dealings with his wives. With 250 topics over 212 pages, I feel like the valuable, useful, tastefully written content could have been trimmed to 50 topics across 50 pages. Personally, I would say skip this $12.99 book. You’ll learn just as much by getting a good Study Bible that lacks an author desperately trying to be snarky and humorous.