How A Movie Made Me Appreciate My Bible Again

With all the debate over the relevance of the Holy Bible that has been going on inside and outside the Church over the past several years, I am thrilled to see a piece of art come along and remind us all that the Bible is a uniquely powerful and transformative book. I am referring here to the movie The Book of Eli. Thanks to the wonder that is Netflix, I was finally able to watch this movie this evening, and I was completely blown away. Fortunately, I had not been tipped off about the twist (which I will not mention in this post by the way, so please keep reading if you haven’t seen the movie). I was able to maneuver through the violence and profanity (which give the movie its R rating) and enjoy the powerful and timely message of the film.

Denzel Washington plays Eli, a traveler in post-apocalyptic America on a journey to return the only existing Bible to its rightful home. Like the patriarch Abraham, Eli is heading out to a land that he does not know in order to complete a task that he does not quite understand. Along the way he encounters a mob of survivors who are led by the sinister Carnegie, played brilliantly by Gary Oldman. Carnegie’s sole desire is to procure the remaining Bible so that he can rule with power and divine authority. Once it is discovered that Eli is in possession of the Book, Carnegie does all in his power to get the Book from him. A young lady names Solara played by Mila Kunis becomes Eli’s unwanted and yet essential partner on the journey.

The Book is at the center of all that takes place in this movie. My initial reaction after the movie was over was one of deep regret that I have allowed the Bible to become so much less than what it really is. Eli makes an interesting comment to Solara about halfway through the film when she asks him about how things were before the war. He tells her that people took things for granted and they had more than they needed. I think that it is this sense of entitlement and selfishness that leads us to reduce many of the blessings that we receive in this life into nothing more than what is to be expected. The Bible wars that have been taking place over the past several years are an embarrassment. We spend so much time arguing over whether or not the Bible is inerrant and/or infallible and whether or not there is any Truth in the pages of the ancient Scripture. Perhaps reminding ourselves of the value of the Book itself; the privilege that we have to be able to actually have a Bible to read when we want to, is what we should be focusing on.

If I learned anything from The Book of Eli it is that the Book that I own (several in fact) called The Bible, is a powerful and transformational Book that I should never take for granted. I should read it daily, memorize it, and do all that I can to protect the sacredness of it.

If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. If you can handle the violence and the profanity, you will be in for quite a revelation. Christians, in particular, should see this movie.

I cannot help but wonder how many skeptics and non-Christians may have been impacted by this film in positive ways. Sometimes, God uses something like an R rated movie to make a very big statement. I believe that He has done just that with The Book of Eli.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. – Joshua 1.8


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