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The Gospel of John

If there is anyone who reads this blog who is interested in Biblical resources for bringing scripture alive, there is nothing I can recommend more than the movie The Gospel of John.

This semester with Cats for Christ we have done a series called "Who is Jesus?" which has been a journey through the Gospel of John in effort to draw out the identity and characteristics of Christ. I decided to do this through a three-pronged approach every week, beginning with the Sunday morning Bible class, continuing into LIFE Groups, and culminating with Wednesday night worship. I wanted to hit a different learning style with each. On the visual front, I decided to use The Gospel of John and I think it has been one of my best teaching choices in a long time.

Frankly, I do not like most Bible movies, especially ones that are done directly from the text. I have come to believe that scripture is not suited well to be directly adapted as screenplay. It is often wooden and unnatural and doesn't make sense visually. But the producers of The Gospel of John pulled it off brilliantly and believably. I believe it has set the new golden standard in Bible-based movies. Every aspect of it is very well done, from the convincing acting of every major character (especially Henry Ian Cusick as Jesus and an awesome performance from Stephen Russell as Pilate) to the authentic soundtrack to the smooth, conversational, and grandfatherly narration of Christopher Plummer.

Nothing is skipped or changed in this movie from the text - it literally follows the entire book of John verse by verse, word by word, from 1:1 to 21:25. Thus, it gives a visual and dramatic look at every part of the entire gospel - historically accurate due to the use of experts from all around the world but leaving you with the feeling that it was a masterful work of art more than anything. You will never get from just reading the words on the page what this movie delivers with power. There are some things that even the best imagination cannot do while simply reading a page of a book. Our use of it over the entire semester has been very impactful for the students and I recommend that if you are ever in the neighborhood of John for anything that you are doing, whether publicly or privately, include this movie in your plans.


An end-of-semester recap we did using scenes from the movie.


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