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Introducing The Bible-Verse Project

Updated: May 31

Have you ever said to yourself, “I wish the creators of The Chosen would adapt THAT biblical story?” Me too. That’s why I recently gathered a few of my friends together to start creating imaginary adaptations of biblical stories not covered by The Chosen. By “imaginary” I mean that we won’t actually be producing a television show that you can watch. Over a series of podcast conversations we’ll be imagining how we would produce a show, if we had the money. Our conversations will include everything from plot and character development to world-building to a fantasy casting our favorite actors.


Our first conversation actually happened this past Monday. Unfortunately, due to some technical problems (which I’ll be fixing), the recording is pretty bad for all the participants except me. If you really want to slog through it, you can find it here, but I’ll also be summarizing the conversation in the post below. We'll also do a brief recap at the start of our next livestream.


A picture of a mountain stronghold
The Chosen of the Old Testament?

Why create an Imaginary Bible Adaptation?

To some, spending time developing a story that you have little hope of ever producing might seem like a waste of time. That’s why I began our conversation with a brief explanation of the reasons for The Bible-Verse Project:


1) To grow in biblical understanding. 

I learned a lot of history in high school, much of which I’ve forgotten. The events I remember best are tied to short films that I would make to fulfill assignments. When you take an event or book and tell your own story about it, you almost inevitably begin to grok the event at a deeper level and hold onto that understanding longer. 


It’s the same when you adapt biblical stories - the books of the Bible that I’ve turned into poetry or narrative have embedded themselves deeply in my heart. As we adapt biblical stories for the Bible-Verse, I hope that all of us (including any of you who view or participate via comments) will enjoy that same experience of growing deeper in our understanding of Scripture.


2) To form ourselves through story and imagination 

Stories have the power to shape us in a way that’s far more profound than mere facts, arguments, or doctrine. Perhaps that’s why stories make up such a large portion of Scripture.


The process of adaptation encourages us to approach the stories of Scripture as stories and not simply as theological data. We have to use our imagination to put ourselves in the shoes of various characters and the spiritual challenges that they go through. We also become more attuned to the symbols, settings, and patterns that are woven throughout biblical stories. As a result, engaging in the process of adaptation can be a profoundly spiritual experience that forms and shapes our character.


3) To enjoy Christian fellowship

Creating things together can help us build bonds. The joy of discovery, the challenges of disagreement and compromise, the unity of purpose - these experiences deepen our knowledge and trust in one another. I’m excited to grow deeper in my friendship with the guys that I’ve invited to join me on the podcast. 


I also hope that this sense of fellowship can spill out beyond the podcast. I would love for you, dear reader, and dozens of others to participate in what we’re doing and for that process to form a community, in which Christians from a variety of backgrounds build lasting friendships as they study Scripture and create stories together.


The Bible-Verse Proposals

After introducing the concept of The Bible-Verse, we began discussing which stories we might be interested in adapting. Each of us (myself and my two collaborators, Victor and Chad) took turns pitching biblical stories that we could potentially turn into an expansive adaptation similar to The Chosen. I’ll summarize each of our proposals below:


Kevin’s 1st Proposal: David & The Outlaws


Key Texts: 1-2 Samuel (especially 1 Samuel 22:1-2)


Premise: A series focused on the period when David was the leader of an outlaw band in the wilderness of Israel, evading King Saul while also combating the Philistines. Instead of focusing on David himself, the series would follow a man who joins David after escaping from indentured servitude. In addition to David and Saul, key characters would include Joab and Abishai (David’s generals) and Uriah the Hittite (husband of Bathsheba).


Pitch: Christians are pretty well-acquainted with the early deeds of David (i.e. fighting Goliath) - and also his later transgressions. But much less attention has been paid to this very cinematic season in his life. 1 Samuel provides us with numerous incidents that are dramatic and thematically interesting. There’s also a host of complex characters to explore. Moreover, this story has a Robin-Hood vibe that will make it feel familiar but fresh.


Egyptian Desert
Egyptian Desert

Victor’s 1st Proposal: Exodus (The Chosen-style)


Key Texts: Exodus - Joshua


Premise: A series that shows how the events of the Exodus and wilderness wanderings were experienced by a family of average Israelites - not by Moses. Over time, we would see families struggling to stay together as some continue to trust Moses’ leadership while others want to turn back to Egypt or turn aside to false gods and leaders. A young Joshua would also play a prominent role, perhaps even changing from an antagonist of Moses to his faithful helper.


Pitch: The story of the Exodus has been adapted several times, but adaptations almost always center on Moses. Focusing on everyday people would give us a fresh perspective on familiar events and help us appreciate how hard it would have been to continue to trust God during this season. The events of the Exodus are also spectacular and would be great to watch.


Chad’s 1st Proposal: Jonah


Key Texts: Jonah


Premise: An adaptation of the story of Jonah that does justice to the satirical elements of the story. Exaggerated elements - like the fact that even the cattle of Ninevah repented - are conveyed with the humor present in the original story.


Pitch: Bible adaptations tend to be very serious. But the Bible contains a variety of genres, including satire. It would be fun to do justice to an under-appreciated genre of biblical literature. Jonah is also short, but full of interesting spectacles and an intriguing anti-hero protagonist.


Kevin’s 2nd Proposal: Athaliah


Key Texts: 2 Kings 11


Premise: A series that follows the rise and fall of the wicked Queen Athaliah, who slaughtered the children of her dead son, King Ahaziah, in order to seize the throne for herself - only to be overthrown by a loyal group of priests and guards who save and secretly raise Joash, the last son of Ahaziah, until they were ready to challenge Athaliah’s rule.


Pitch: This is a less-known biblical story that’s full of dramatic intrigue and archetypal characters.


Victor's 2nd Proposal: Maccabees


Key Texts: 1-2 Maccabees


Premise: A series following the Maccabean uprising against the tyrannical oppression of the Seleucid Empire of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, which is commemorated by the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.


Pitch: As Protestants, none of us would consider the Book of Maccabees to be inspired, but it records real historical events that shaped the world of the New Testament in important ways. This series would help familiarize Christians with these important events - which also happen to be very gripping and inspiring.


Chad's 2nd Proposal: The Unseen Realm



Premise: Scripture is primarily concerned with human history. However, we occasionally get a peak behind the curtain to the unseen world of spiritual beings and God's divine council. This series would explore key biblical events from the perspective of these spiritual forces.


Pitch: There’s been a resurgence of interest in the spiritual beings of Scripture, due in large part to the work of the late Dr. Michael Heiser. It would be interesting to imagine how these unseen forces are active in history, since we rarely get all the details in Scripture itself. Such a series might also appeal to those interested in fantasy works.



Victor’s 3rd Pitch: The Archaeologists


Premise: A series that follows a contemporary family of archaeologists as they uncover ancient artifacts that confirm the historicity of Scripture. The family might begin as Jewish and eventually be moved to believe in the Gospel. There would also probably be antagonistic forces.


Pitch: Everyone loves a globe-trotting archaeologist story (Indie, National Treasure). This format would draw attention to the historicity of Scripture and how it continues to have an impact today. 


And the Winner is…

We agreed that all of the proposals were strong and worth considering at some point. However, the consensus was that the David and the Outlaws proposal would be the best story for the start of the Bible-Verse. The premise is fresh and can easily be crafted to appeal to both Bible nerds and mainstream audiences. We were also all excited at the prospect of studying 1-2 Samuel in greater depth and exploring its complex, well-rounded characters.


A desert cave
David and the Outlaws

Want to Help?

As I said before, we would love for our project to spill out beyond the podcast and include the ideas, contributions, and support of a broad community of Christians. If you want to contribute ideas, questions, etc., please consider joining us for our next livestream, where you can interact with us real-time, or leave your thoughts in the comments below or reach out via email. If there’s enough demand, I’ll eventually create either a forum or a Discord channel.


 

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