Mark Burnett Reveals Story Behind THE BIBLE Docudrama: ‘God’s Hands Were On This Series’

Photo from Mark Burnett Instagram

Mark Burnett Reveals Story Behind THE BIBLE Docudrama: ‘God’s Hands Were On This Series’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Producer Mark Burnett has revealed the behind-the-scenes story of the 2012 History Channel docudrama THE BIBLE, which was inspired, in part, by his wife, Roma Downey.

“My wife, Roma Downey (you might know her from the role of Monica on the TV show TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL), and I were having dinner. And Roma mentioned a documentary someone was doing on the Bible,” Burnett recalled. 

“Roma thought the documentary focused too much on showing that God was harsh and unloving. It used examples like the millions drowned in the Genesis Flood….She asked me, ‘Why wouldn’t they tell the true story of a loving God with a plan for all humanity?’” he continued. 

This dinner conversation would spark Burnett and Downey’s desire to executive produce a sweeping cinematic story of Scripture that has had a wide cultural impact.

Burnett remembered, “It was an incredibly ambitious idea, and it’s not like we weren’t busy enough, raising three teenagers and also producing some of the most demanding shows on TV (including THE VOICE and SURVIVOR).” 

But Downey reminded him, “The Bible story is all the things that great television should be. It has adventure, it has drama and it has redemption.”

The couple decided it was an opportunity they couldn’t miss and moved forward on the monumental task, which has since been adapted into the movie SON OF GOD.

“Doing this ‘on the screen’ would allow millions of people to discover the Bible. We knew we couldn’t teach it, but we could create an emotionally connecting dramatization that might make them open (or reopen) the Book,” Burnett shared.

“God’s hands were on this series,” he reflected. “We would tell the world’s most powerful story with the greatest emotional connection possible.”

“For that is what the Bible is,” he concluded. “A story, the story of God’s love for his people, the greatest love story ever told.”

Part of Movieguide®’s for THE BIBLE reads: 

The superb miniseries THE BIBLE begins with Noah recounting Genesis One to his family as rain pours down on the Ark. It then shows the story of Adam and Eve, followed by the story of Abraham as he and his wife undergo many trials. It also focuses on the story of the Exodus. The middle of the miniseries shows Joshua at the Battle of Jericho, followed by stories of Samson, David, Solomon, and Daniel. The final two episodes focus on the birth and ministry of Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection, and the preaching of Peter, Paul, and John.

The beauty of THE BIBLE is how it weaves the Biblical accounts together while keeping the spiritual, emotional integrity of Scripture. Mark Burnett and Roma Downey do a masterful job adapting Scripture. Some details are left out due to time, and there are some additions for dramatic effect. Even so, the miniseries succeeds in making history come alive while clearly preaching the Gospel. Caution is required due to some intense violence and implied sexual sin. Otherwise, however, THE BIBLE is tremendously exciting and inspiring.

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