The Bible (miniseries)

The Bible
Genre Biblical epic
Created by Roma Downey
Mark Burnett
Based on Protestant Bible
Directed by Roma Downey
Mark Burnett
Starring Diogo Morgado
Roma Downey
Darwin Shaw
Andrew Scarborough
Narrated by Keith David (US version)
Robert Powell (UK version)
Theme music composer Hans Zimmer
Lorne Balfe
Lisa Gerrard
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 10
Producer(s) Roma Downey
Mark Burnett
Richard Bedser
Dirk Hoogstra
Julian P. Hobbs
Cinematography Christopher Titus King
Rob Goldie
Peter Greenhalgh
Editor(s) Robert Hall
Iain Kitching
Tom Parsons
Julian Rodd
Dominic Strevens
Running time 440 minutes
Production company(s) Lightworkers Media
Budget Under $22 million[1]
Original network History
Original release March 3 (2013-03-03) – March 31, 2013 (2013-03-31)
Followed by Son of God and A.D. The Bible Continues
External links

The Bible is a television miniseries based on the Bible. It was produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett[2][3] and was broadcast weekly between March 3 and March 31, 2013 on History channel.[4] It has since been adapted for release to theaters as a feature film (138 minutes), the 2014 American epic biblical drama Son of God.

Burnett, best known for producing prime-time hit reality shows, considers the scripted 10-hour series to be the "most important" project he has undertaken. The project was conceived by Burnett and Downey, who are married, after watching Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 film The Ten Commandments for the first time since childhood.

The series is Mark Burnett's first scripted project.[5] In addition to Burnett and Downey, executive producers include Richard Bedser and History's Dirk Hoogstra and Julian P. Hobbs.[6] The first episode of the mini-series was seen by 13.1 million viewers, the largest cable television audience of 2013 to date.[7] The second installment continued "to deliver blockbuster ratings" for the network, attracting 10.8 million viewers. The third installment on March 17, 2013 was once again the No. 1 show on all of Sunday night television with 10.9 million total viewers. In addition, the series garnered 4.2 million adults 25–54 and 3.5 million adults 18–49.[8] In total, with subsequent airings, 'The Bible' has received more than 100 million cumulative views.[9]

The series received three Emmy Award nominations for best miniseries, and sound editing and sound mixing on July 18, 2013.[10]

Parts of the telecast – including unaired footage – have been turned into a feature film about the life of Jesus entitled Son of God.[11] A sequel series with the title A.D. The Bible Continues aired on NBC.[12]


The series covers "Genesis to Revelation" in "one grand narrative,"[1] within five two-hour parts,[13] each containing two or three biblical stories told through live action and computer-generated imagery.[2][3] According to Burnett, it included "obvious" stories such as Noah's Ark, the Exodus, and the life of Jesus Christ.[2] Five hours are taken from the Old Testament, five from the New.[1] The series is based on the New International Version and the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.[3]

Downey and Burnett said their "greatest hope" in making the series was that it would "affect a new generation of viewers and draw them back to the Bible."[14]

"Part of what we hoped to accomplish with the series was to show the Bible is not simply a collection of unconnected stories which are often discussed and analyzed in snippets with chapter and verse numbers," the couple wrote in an op-ed in The Huffington Post. "Instead, we wanted to show how the Old Testament connects seamlessly to the New Testament. How they are one sweeping story with one grand, overriding message: God loves each one of us as if we were the only person in all the world to love."[15]


Mark Burnett in 2009

In May 2011, The New York Times reported that Downey, Burnett and their production team were selecting stories for the series, with production scheduled to begin in 2012 for a 2013 broadcast.[2] The budget for the series was under $22 million.[1] Researchers and theologians were asked to verify accuracy.[2] Academic consultants included Craig A. Evans,[16] Helen Bond, Paula Gooder, Mark Goodacre and Candida Moss.[17] Shooting took place in Morocco and elsewhere.[3]

Burnett and Downey consulted "a wide range of pastors and academics," including their friend Joel Osteen, Joshua Garroway (a rabbi from Hebrew Union College), and a Catholic cardinal.[1] Geoff Tunnicliffe of the World Evangelical Alliance, read each episode's script and visited the set in Morocco: he "wanted to be sure that the final edits would hold together as a singular thematic message throughout the entire series" and "was not disappointed."[18] Another consultant, Focus on the Family President Jim Daly, applauded the couple's courage for making the series: "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."[19]

Other project advisors included:[20]

Days before the series premiere, Downey and Burnett authored an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal arguing that Bible teaching should be mandatory in U.S. public schools because "(t)he foundations of knowledge of the ancient world – which informs the understanding of the modern world – are biblical in origin."[21]


The cast is an "international ensemble" chosen to avoid "distracting the audience with recognizable celebrities"; many of the actors came from a background in London's theatre district.[1] For the purposes of this list, each hour is a whole episode.


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date US Viewers
1"Beginnings"Crispin ReeceRichard Bedser, Alexander Marengo, Colin Swash, Nic YoungMarch 3, 2013 (2013-03-03)13.10[24]
Noah tells of the Creation of the world and the Fall of man while aboard the ark (Genesis 6-8); Abrahamic covenant; the Battle of the Vale of Siddim (Genesis 14); Hagar and Ishmael (Genesis 16); birth of Isaac (Genesis 21); Abraham is tested (Genesis 22); Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19).
2"Exodus"Crispin ReeceRichard Bedser, Alexander MarengoMarch 3, 2013 (2013-03-03)13.10[24]
Moses learns of his roots, kills a soldier, and flees Egypt (Exodus 2); God speaks to Moses through the burning bush (Exodus 3); Moses returns to Egypt; ten Plagues of Egypt (Exodus 7-11); Moses leads the Israelites in The Exodus; Moses parts the Red Sea (Exodus 14); Moses receives the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai (Exodus 20)
3"Homeland"Tony MitchellRichard Bedser, Adam Rosenthal, Nic YoungMarch 10, 2013 (2013-03-10)10.80[25]
Joshua becomes the leader of the Israelites (Deuteronomy 31; Joshua 1); the Israelites camp outside of Jericho; Joshua sends spies into Jericho (Joshua 2); Joshua invades and conquers Jericho (Joshua 6); Delilah betrays Samson, a hero of the Israelites who battled against the Philistines (Judges 16)
4"Kingdom"Tony MitchellRichard Bedser, Colin Swash, Nic YoungMarch 10, 2013 (2013-03-10)10.80[25]
Samuel anoints Saul as king, a move that could throw the nation into civil war (1 Samuel 15); Saul is consumed with jealousy over the crown when David defeats Goliath (1 Samuel 17); King David ushers a golden age for Israel, but is soon seduced by power and lust for Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11); God forgives David, and Solomon builds God's temple in Jerusalem (1.Kings 6)
5"Survival"Crispin ReeceRichard Bedser, Nic YoungMarch 17, 2013 (2013-03-17)10.90[8]
The Jews are enslaved in Babylon (Jeremiah 39); the image of gold and the three Hebrews in the blazing furnace (Daniel 3); Daniel is thrown into the lions’ den, but when his faith endures and God spares him (Daniel 6); the Jews are allowed to return to Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 36; Ezra 1)
6"Hope"Crispin ReeceRichard Bedser, Nic YoungMarch 17, 2013 (2013-03-17)10.90[8]
During the time of Roman occupation, the Angel Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a child (Luke 1); Joseph takes Mary to Bethlehem for the census, where Jesus is born (Luke 2); the Holy family escapes Herod’s order to kill Bethlehem’s male babies (Matthew 2); Judea comes under the ruthless rule of Pilate; John baptizes Jesus (Matthew 3); Satan tempts Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4); Jesus performs the miraculous catch of fish and calls Peter (Matthew 4)
7"Mission"Christopher SpencerRichard Bedser, Christopher Spencer, Nic YoungMarch 24, 2013 (2013-03-24)10.30[26]
Jesus feeds crowds of thousands in Galilee (Matthew 14) and brings a dead man, Lazarus, back to life (John 11); Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey – a declaration that he is the Messiah; Jesus turns on the money-changers in the Temple (Mark 11)
8"Betrayal"Christopher SpencerRichard Bedser, Christopher Spencer, Colin Swash, Nic YoungMarch 24, 2013 (2013-03-24)10.30[26]
Caiphas coaxes Judas into betraying Jesus; Jesus throws the disciples into turmoil at the Last Supper; Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14); Jesus is arrested and Malchus' ear is cut off by Peter and Jesus heals his ear; Jesus is confronted by the high priests at his Sanhedrin trial (Matthew 26)
9"Passion"Christopher SpencerRichard Bedser, Christopher Spencer, Abraham Christen Liando, Colin Swash, Nic YoungMarch 31, 2013 (2013-03-31)11.70[27]
Peter denies Jesus (Luke 22) and Judas hangs himself; Pilate's wife has a dream and warns Pilate not to crucify Jesus (Matthew 27); Pilate has Jesus whipped 40 times and the crown of thorns are placed on Jesus' head (John 19); Jesus is condemned to death (Matthew 27); Jesus is crucified; Jesus is buried (John 19)
10"Courage"Tony MitchellRichard Bedser, Christopher Spencer, Nic YoungMarch 31, 2013 (2013-03-31)11.70[27]
Mary Magdalene goes to his tomb, a figure walks towards her – He is back (John 20); Jesus commissions the disciples to "go and preach to all" before he ascends (Acts 1). The Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost (Acts 2); Stephen is stoned by the Pharisee Paul (Acts 7); Paul has a vision and experiences a miraculous change of faith on a journey to Damascus (Acts 9); martyrdom of the Disciples, John's survival and exile to Patmos, John receives a revelation – Jesus is coming back, and all who keep the faith will be rewarded


TV ratings

The opening episode of the series premiered to very high ratings.[28] The miniseries was watched by 13.1 million total viewers, according to Nielsen.[28] In Canada, the premiere was watched by 1.05 million viewers.[29] The second installment saw a ratings slippage, but still brought in 10.8 million viewers, tops in all television for the 8–10 p.m. time period.[25] Week three's installment, meanwhile, garnered 10.9 million total viewers.[8]

Critical reception

Reviews of The Bible have been mixed. It has had a "mixed or average reviews" rating at Metacritic, having a score of 44 out of 100 based on 13 critical reviews.[30]


On March 19, 2013, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett offered remarks on the viewership and its anticipated diffusion. He said: "We've realized, on the journey around the country to churches and all over the place, many people cannot afford cable TV. And those people need to see this Bible series. So we're rushing the DVD out April 2nd, also immediately with Spanish subtitles. This is very important. And this is only for America and Canada. Now we're about to start around the world. This will be in every country of the world. More people will see this series than everything we ever made; together, combined. Billions of people will see this series. Billions."[31]

Differences from the Bible

In the introduction to each episode, the message is displayed "This program is an adaptation of Bible stories that changed our world. It endeavors to stay true to the spirit of the Book."[32] Roma Downey stated in an interview, "we had a great team of scholars and theologians helping us, making sure that we told these stories accurately and truthfully,"[33] However, many of the story elements in the series have been criticized as deviating from the events described in the traditional text, and using too many creative licenses. These are included below:

Lookalike controversy

There have been claims of a resemblance of the actor in the role of Satan (Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni) to U.S. President Barack Obama. The resemblance was first pointed out notably by Glenn Beck ahead of the episode's premiere.[45][46]

This led the History Channel to announce,

History [C]hannel has the highest respect for President Obama. The Bible series was produced with an international and diverse cast of respected actors. It's unfortunate that anyone made this false connection. History’s "The Bible" is meant to enlighten people on its rich stories and deep history."[47]

Burnett and Downey responded in a joint statement,

This is utter nonsense. The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouazanni, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics – including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President.[47]

Downey added separately,

"Both Mark and I have nothing but respect and love for our president, who is a fellow Christian. False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of The Bible.[48]

Awards and nominations

The Bible was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards; Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special, and Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Movie.[49] The 44th GMA Dove Awards gave a tribute to the miniseries in October 2013.[50] In 2014, The Bible won the honor of Home Media Magazine's Best Miniseries or TV Movie on Disc for the year.[51]

Other media

International broadcasts

DVD release

The series became the biggest-selling miniseries on DVD in its first week of release, and biggest on Blu-ray and Digital HD of all time.[54] In its first week on home video, 'The Bible' series sold 525,000 copies. It was the fastest selling television show on DVD since 2008.[55] A Blu-ray version is also available via 20th Century Fox.


Roma Downey and Mark Burnett have also released a novelization of this miniseries, entitled A Story of God and All of Us: A Novel Based on the Epic TV Miniseries "The Bible." It debuted at No. 27 on the New York Times Best-Seller List.[56]


The Bible: Music Inspired by the Epic Miniseries
Soundtrack album

A CD was released on March 12, 2013 with Christian music singers performing songs inspired by the miniseries:[57]

  1. In Your Eyes – Francesca Battistelli
  2. Live Like ThatSidewalk Prophets
  3. This Side of Heaven – Chris August
  4. Starting Line – Jason Castro
  5. Love Come To Life – Big Daddy Weave
  6. Crave – for King & Country
  7. Fearless – Group 1 Crew
  8. What Love Means – Everfound
  9. Home – Dara Maclean
  10. Wash Me Away – Point of Grace
  11. Not For a Moment (After All)Meredith Andrews
  12. Mary, Did You Know?Kenny Rogers with Wynonna

Theatrical release

Main article: Son of God (film)

Mark Burnett announced in April 2013 that a three-hour version is being prepared for global theatrical release. He claimed that he has had no distribution arrangements yet, though he could possibly release it himself.[11] In June 2013, Burnett elaborated that the film, which has already been edited, will focus exclusively on the life of Jesus, and will run two hours and fifteen minutes.[58] In September 2013, it was announced that 20th Century Fox will partner with Burnett on theatrical distribution, currently titled Son of God.[59][60] In October 2013, it was announced that Son of God will be released on February 28, 2014.[61]

Sequel – A.D.

On December 17, 2013, it was announced that there would be a follow-up miniseries in 2015, titled A.D. The Bible Continues, also produced by Burnett, Downey, and Bedser.[12][62] The limited series began airing on NBC on Easter Sunday, April 5. It airs in twelve weekly one-hour episodes. The story takes place immediately after the events of The Bible, beginning with the Crucifixion and Resurrection, and continues with the first ten chapters of the Book of Acts.[63][64] On July 3, 2015, NBC cancelled A.D. The Bible Continues after one season. However, producers Burnett and Downey plan future biblical productions on their OTT digital channel.[65]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Marrapodi, Eric (March 2, 2013). "Reality TV Goliath takes up Bible miniseries challenge, hopes for better outcome". CNN Belief Blog. CNN. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Carter, Bill (May 24, 2011). "Reality-TV Producer Mark Burnett Tackles the Bible". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. p. C1. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Elber, Lynn (May 24, 2011). "'The Bible': History Channel, Mark Burnett Creating CGI 10-Hour Miniseries". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  4. Littleton, Cynthia. "Mark Burnett, Roma Downey promo 'Bible' mini to faithful". Variety (magazine). Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  5. Levin, Gary (May 24, 2011). "Mark Burnett to produce 'The Bible'". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  6. Porter, Rick (May 24, 2011). "Mark Burnett producing 'The Bible' miniseries for History Channel". Zap2it. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  7. Hibberd, James (2013-03-04). "Mark Burnett's 'The Bible' begets record ratings". Entertainment Weekly.
  8. 1 2 3 4 Patten, Dominic (March 19, 2013). "History's 'The Bible' & 'Vikings' Rise In Week 3". Deadline Hollywood.
  9. "#1 TV on DVD in the last 5 years". Hollywood Jesus. 2013-04-08.
  10. Hayden, Erik. 'The Bible' Earns Three Emmy Nominations, The Hollywood Reporter, July 18, 2013.
  11. 1 2 "Mark Burnett Prepping 'The Bible' Miniseries For Theatrical Release". PMC. April 22, 2013.
  12. 1 2 Elavsky, Cindy (2013-11-17). "Celebrity Extra". King Features. Retrieved 2014-02-18.
  13. Lyons, Margaret (May 24, 2011). "Mark Burnett Declines to Make Bible Reality Show". New York. New York City, New York: New York Media, LLC. ISSN 0028-7369. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  14. Crosby, Robert (2013-02-25). "From Survivor and Touched by an Angel to the Bible". Christianity Today.
  15. Downey, Roma; Burnett, Mark (2013-02-28). "Making The Bible a Daunting, Deep Experience". The Huffington Post.
  16. Evans, Craig. "Dr Craig A. Evans". Homepage. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  17. Goodacre, Mark. "More Bible Series News and Video Clips". NT Blog. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  18. Review: 'The Bible' – This Time, Hollywood Got It Right, a Christian Post review by Geoff Tunnicliffe, one of the film's consultants. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  19. Draper, Electa (2013-03-10). "Focus on the Family CEO Jim Daly consulted on TV mega-hit "The Bible"". Denver Post.
  20. About the Bible - Outreach.comRetrieved 2013-03-04.
  21. "Roma Downey and Mark Burnett: Why Public Schools Should Teach the Bible -". The Wall Street Journal.
  22. "The Bible" Courage (TV episode 2013) at the Internet Movie Database
  23. Peter Guinness at the Internet Movie Database
  24. 1 2 Bibel, Sara (March 4, 2013). "History's 'The Bible' is the Number 1 Cable Entertainment Telecast of the Year". TV by the Numbers. A+E press release. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  25. 1 2 3 "History's 'The Bible' & 'Vikings' Slip In Week 2, Still Tower Over Competition". Deadline Hollywood. 2013-03-12.
  26. 1 2 Andreeva, Nellie. "History’s ‘The Bible’ & ‘Vikings’ Slip In Week 4", Deadline Hollywood, March 26, 2013.
  27. 1 2 O'Connell, Mike (April 1, 2013). "TV Ratings: History's 'The Bible' Pulls 11.7 Million Viewers With Easter Ender". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
  28. 1 2 Collins, Scott. 'The Bible,' 'Vikings' premieres tell a ratings epic for History, Los Angeles Times, March 4, 2013.
  29. TV Feeds My Family: Good start for Screenies, Vikings and God
  30. The Bible - Season 1 Reviews - Metacritic
  31. Roma Downey and Mark Burnett Interview at The Bible Experience in New York (Video clip recorded March 19, 2013, located at YouTube)
  32. Owen, Rob. "Miniseries tries to stay true to spirit of the Good Book". Standard-Examiner. Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  33. 1 2 Higginbotham, Steve. "The Bible: The Mini-Series". Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  34. "The Bible: first episode, first impressions".
  35. Garvin, Glenn. "Reviews of 'The Bible,' 'Red Widow' and 'Vikings'".
  36. Kovacs, Joe. "Just how unbiblical is 'The Bible'?".
  37. Hallowell, Billy. "Is The Bible TV Series Really Filled With Historical Inaccuracies?".
  38. McClarty, Jim. "The Bible according to the History Channel".
  39. Dawn, Randee. "One scholar takes issue with 'The Bible': 5 things the series got wrong".
  40. 1 2 3 4 Jonathan Merritt, Jonathan. "Inaccuracies in The Bible . . . the miniseries, not the book". Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  41. Murrell, Steve. "When Leaders Fail, Grace Must Abound". Retrieved April 2, 2013.
  42. Daniel 3:19-23
  43. Ross, Hugh. "Reasons To Believe: Fulfilled Prophecy". Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  44. "John 11 - The Death of Lazarus". Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  45. "Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on HIstory Channel looks exactly like That Guy?". @glennbeck. Twitter. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  46. "Why does the devil in 'The Bible' look exactly like President Obama?". Daily Mail. London. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  47. 1 2 Makarechi, Kia (March 18, 2013). "'The Bible': Satan Actor Looks Like Obama In History Channel Miniseries". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  48. O'Connell, Michael (March 18, 2013). "History, Mark Burnett Defend Satan's Similarity to President Obama in 'The Bible'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  49. "Emmy nominations 2013: "House of Cards" makes history, "American Horror Story" leads" (PDF). CBS. 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2013-12-20.
  50. "44th Annual Dove Awards". Event occurs at 0:30. Up (TV network). Missing or empty |series= (help);
  52. (two 5 hour episodes) "A Bíblia - - Sic - Sapo". SIC.
  54. 'The Bible' Shatters Home Video Sales Records in First Week
  55. 'The Bible' sets DVD record: Fastest-selling miniseries ever
  56. "'The Bible' Miniseries Novel Hits National Best-Seller Lists". Charisma News. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
  57. "CD". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  58. Variety Missing or empty |title= (help)
  59. NBC Greenlights 12-Hour Miniseries 'A.D.'
  60. Dent Brant, Ginny. "'A.D.: The Bible Continues' slated for primetime". The Biblical Recorder.
  61. "About A.D. The Bible Continues". Lightworkers Media.
  62. NBC Cancels 'A.D.' As Producers Plan Digital Revival For Biblical Drama
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