Leans strongly toward a biblical worldview
|Overall Faith and/or Biblical Relevance|
|Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships|
|Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations|
|Family Viewing Suitability|
|view our criteria|
Picking up where the hit 2013 television miniseries The Bible left off, A.D. The Bible Continues is a 12-week event premiering on Easter Sunday, April 5th at 9 ET / 8 CT on NBC. Produced by Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice, Shark Tank) and Roma Downey (Touched by an Angel), who brought both The Bible and last year’s hit film SON OF GOD to audiences nationwide, A.D. The Bible Continues tells the amazing story of the first followers of Jesus as recounted in the Book of Acts and the Gospels.
NOTE: This Faith Driven Consumer review is based on Episode 1 and additional materials provided to our reviewing team. While it’s possible that this series could vary in terms of quality and theological accuracy from episode to episode, we have no reason at this point to believe that the miniseries as a whole will not deliver the same high production values, excellent script and cast, attention to historical detail and commitment to biblical orthodoxy.
Overall Faith and/or Biblical Relevance
While the biblical accounts of Jesus’ passion, death, resurrection and ascension are the central pivot point to all of human history, it is what happens later when the Holy Spirit comes upon Jesus’ first followers—empowering them to establish the Church and spread the Gospel from Judea, Samaria and then to the ends of the earth—that continues to profoundly shape our world two thousand years later. Given this, the overall faith and biblical relevance of A.D. The Bible Continues cannot be overstated.
A.D. The Bible Continues is grounded upon the most important question of all: What is truth? From here, Episode 1 takes viewers through events in the aftermath of Jesus’ crucifixion. The disciples are confused and scattered. The Roman and Jewish authorities continue to try to control what they see as a political situation poised to foment revolution and threaten their hold on power. Old Testament prophesies pointing to the coming of a Messiah and Deliverer are examined and events take place in the historical context of the Jewish Feast of the Passover. The episode ends on a suspenseful note when word reaches the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas that the massive stone sealing the tomb where Jesus’ body had been placed after His crucifixion has been rolled away. With the body of Jesus gone, the stage is now set to explore the question of His resurrection.
Faith-compatible Depiction of Characters and Character Relationships
As the story of Jesus’ passion and crucifixion unfold in Episode 1 of A.D. The Bible Continues, the writers remain largely true to the biblical depictions of Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, disciples Peter, John and Judas Iscariot, Jewish leaders Caiaphas, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, and key Roman authorities such as Pontius Pilate. As with the treatment of Mary Magdalene in The Bible and SON OF GOD, there is a possible over-reading and conflation of her character with others in Scripture—as if she were a disciple similar to the biblical presentation of the Twelve. Despite this minor point, A.D. The Bible Continues is biblically orthodox and characters are depicted in ways that accurately represent the biblical narrative and the central question of the person and works of Jesus.
Faith-compatible Depiction of Situations
Although Episode 1 of A.D. The Bible Continues includes only 42 minutes of content (a one-hour episode with commercials), the theological and historical ground covered by the script is both well-written and compatible with the Bible. Here, we see Jesus under scrutiny before the Roman and Jewish authorities and a very realistic and difficult-to-watch portrayal of events at His crucifixion at Golgotha (but without the scourging and journey along the Via Dolorosa). We also see an impressive depiction of the Feast of Passover in Jerusalem with animal sacrifices taking place in the Temple and darkness coming over the land at the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross—with the accompanying earthquake described in the Bible and the Temple curtain being torn.
Equally engaging are the debates among the Jewish leaders as to how best to handle the challenge to their authority presented by Jesus—and their maneuvering with the Romans to ensure that His body is not stolen in order to preemptively quell any possibility His followers and other political activists might use His prophesized resurrection to spark a rebellion against Rome’s brutal occupation. Here, the sweeping grandeur of Jerusalem with its walls, fortresses and ramparts is depicted with historical accuracy—as are the luxurious homes of the wealthy.
One particularly moving scene occurs when Jesus’ body is laid to rest in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. At the same time, the disciples are realistically shown to be confused, frightened and discouraged—wondering what their previous three years with Jesus means now that He is dead. They are tempted to return to their old ways of life before Jesus or join the ranks of those promoting violent overthrown of the Romans.
Finally, A.D. The Bible Continues offers a very strong and clear depiction of the Resurrection of Jesus in a captivating scene that stirs the senses as a mighty angel descends from heaven like a meteor to roll away the stone—blinding the stationed guards with the light of Christ and evoking God’s power and majesty.
Family Viewing Suitability
While the biblical message of A.D. The Bible Continues is meant for people of all ages, care and discernment must be taken with younger children who may not be old enough to fully understand the harsh reality and excruciating suffering associated with a Roman crucifixion. Despite this, very important questions are raised in Episode 1, including: What is truth?; What difference does the Resurrection of Jesus make?; and What is it about this Jesus that drives His followers to sacrifice their lives to spread His message?
With its well-written script, very talented and racially diverse cast, impressive cinematography and high production values, A.D. The Bible Continues improves upon the excellent work delivered to audiences by Burnett and Downey in SON OF GOD and The Bible miniseries. And synopses of upcoming episodes give every indication that the miniseries will give full attention to the biblical narrative as recorded in the Gospels and the Book of Acts—telling the rest of the story beyond the crucifixion of Jesus.
Helpfully, Burnett and Downey have also developed an expansive set of faith resources to accompany the miniseries, including a Church Kit and Sermon Series, Viewer Guide and Study, Episodic Discussion Guide, Video Chat Bible Studies, Integrity Worship Anthems, and more at www.shareadtheseries.com.
Finally, as the miniseries unfolds through its twelve episodes, viewers will see how appropriate it is that A.D. The Bible Continues runs from Easter through early-June—largely overlapping with the Jewish feasts of Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot, when the Bible records that the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples at Pentecost to go forth and spread the Gospel of Jesus. Viewers will also be treated to a very creative, engaging and thought-provoking presentation of the history of the early Church that is solidly grounded in a biblically orthodox understanding of Scripture and offers uplifting and encouraging entertainment in prime time on NBC.