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Dallas Jenkins Explains Why The Chosen Doesn't Use a Word-for-Word Biblical Adaptation

  • Michael Foust Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
  • Updated Aug 14, 2023
Dallas Jenkins Explains Why <em>The Chosen</em> Doesn't Use a Word-for-Word Biblical Adaptation

The creator and director of the hit series The Chosen explained to TBN’s Kirk Cameron recently why the scripts don’t use a word-for-word adaptation of the Bible, saying the series’ strategy is similar to what a pastor does in a pulpit each Sunday for a sermon.

Creator and director Dallas Jenkins acknowledged on an episode of Takeaways with Kirk Cameron that some Christians are "only comfortable with seeing the words of Scripture reenacted" within media.

“That's been done multiple times: The Jesus Film, Gospel of Matthew – all that. And it's great,” Jenkins said. “I would contend that most people would agree that watching those, especially when you've read the stories, is interesting, but ... not as engaging as just going ahead and reading God's Word.”

The Chosen employs a different strategy than was used by those films, Jenkins said.

“When a pastor gets up to preach, he doesn't literally get up read the passage of Scripture and sit down,” Jenkins said. “He gives you historical context. He gives you cultural context. ... And sometimes … a pastor might even say, ‘Put yourself there for a second, imagine what you might be experiencing.’ Now that's not at all to contradict or pull you away from God. It's to give you context that the readers at the time did have.”

The first-century readers of the Gospels “actually understood and had context for some of the things [the writer] was referencing that we don't have context for,” Jenkins said.

“We're wanting to be honoring to the Gospels, but we're also creating a TV show and being creative,” he said. “Our operating question is: Is this possible? We know that not all of it is factual. But is this plausible? … Does this fit within the character and intentions of Jesus in the gospels?"

One goal of The Chosen, Jenkins said, is to draw "people closer to Scripture.”

“I'm not God. The show isn't the Bible. Jonathan Roumie isn't Jesus,” he said. “We don't idolize the show. The show is not a replacement for Scripture – never will be.”

Photo courtesy: ©Angel Studios/The Chosen

Video courtesy: ©Kirk Cameron on TBN

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.