Is The Chosen Biblical?

by Barbara

“The Chosen,” a television series created by Dallas Jenkins, has gained significant attention for its portrayal of the life of Jesus Christ and his disciples. It aims to provide a fresh perspective on the Gospels by focusing on the backstories of the characters. However, with its creative approach, many viewers have questioned its adherence to biblical texts. This article examines whether “The Chosen” stays true to the Bible, exploring various aspects of the show and comparing them with Scripture.

Understanding “The Chosen”

The Vision and Purpose

“The Chosen” was developed to offer a multi-season show about the life of Jesus, a project unique in its scope and execution. The series is crowdfunded, allowing creators to maintain creative control and avoid commercial pressures. Dallas Jenkins, the creator, emphasizes that the show is intended to enhance viewers’ understanding of Jesus and his followers, not to replace the Bible.


Creative License and Historical Context

The series takes creative liberties to fill in gaps not detailed in the Bible, providing historical and cultural context to the events and characters. This approach aims to humanize the disciples and make their experiences more relatable. However, this raises questions about how much creative freedom can be taken without deviating from the biblical narrative.


Key Characters and Their Portrayal

Jesus Christ

In “The Chosen,” Jesus is portrayed by actor Jonathan Roumie. The portrayal has been praised for its warmth, accessibility, and humanity. Roumie’s performance seeks to embody the love and compassion of Jesus while also showing his divine authority. Critics and theologians have generally approved of this depiction, noting its faithfulness to the character of Jesus as described in the Gospels.


The Disciples

The series delves into the backgrounds of the disciples, offering insights into their lives before meeting Jesus. For example, Matthew is portrayed as a tax collector with Asperger’s syndrome, a creative addition that is not found in the Bible. While these backstories are not scripturally documented, they aim to provide depth and understanding to the characters, making their transformation through Jesus more impactful.

Adherence to Biblical Events

Miracles and Teachings

“The Chosen” portrays several miracles and teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels. The show’s depiction of events like the Wedding at Cana, the healing of the paralytic, and the Sermon on the Mount closely follows the biblical accounts. These scenes are carefully crafted to remain true to the Scripture, often including direct quotations from the Bible.

Dramatic Additions

To build a cohesive narrative, “The Chosen” includes scenes and dialogues not found in the Bible. For instance, the interactions between the disciples and their families, or the internal struggles of characters like Nicodemus, are expanded upon for dramatic effect. These additions are designed to provide context and emotional depth but have led to debates about their biblical accuracy.


Theological Insights and Interpretations

Jesus’ Dual Nature

One of the theological themes in “The Chosen” is the dual nature of Jesus Christ, being fully God and fully man. The show attempts to balance Jesus’ divinity with his humanity, a concept central to Christian theology. This portrayal aims to deepen viewers’ understanding of Jesus’ character, showing his empathy and relational aspects alongside his miraculous power.

Character Development

The series emphasizes the transformation of the disciples and other followers of Jesus. This focus on personal growth and spiritual awakening aligns with the biblical narrative of redemption and discipleship. However, the detailed personal stories of characters, while enriching, are interpretations rather than direct biblical accounts.

Viewer and Scholarly Reactions

Positive Reception

Many viewers appreciate “The Chosen” for its fresh and engaging depiction of familiar biblical stories. The show has been praised for its production quality, emotional depth, and ability to make the characters relatable. Some Christians find that it enhances their understanding and appreciation of the Gospels.

Criticism and Concerns

Critics argue that the creative liberties taken by “The Chosen” can sometimes blur the line between biblical truth and fiction. Concerns have been raised about the potential for viewers to confuse dramatized elements with scriptural facts. Some theologians caution that while the series can be a useful tool for engagement, it should not replace personal study of the Bible.

The Show’s Impact on Faith

Inspiring Bible Study

One of the positive outcomes of “The Chosen” is its ability to inspire viewers to delve deeper into the Bible. The show often sparks curiosity and leads audiences to read the Scriptures to verify the events and characters depicted. This engagement with the Bible is a significant achievement for any religious media.

Fostering Community and Discussion

“The Chosen” has also fostered a sense of community among its viewers. Discussion groups and Bible studies centered around the series have emerged, providing platforms for collective exploration of faith. This communal aspect helps to reinforce the biblical teachings and encourages shared spiritual growth.

Balancing Art and Theology

Creative Freedom vs. Scriptural Fidelity

Creating a series like “The Chosen” involves balancing artistic expression with theological accuracy. While the creators strive to respect the biblical narrative, they also seek to create a compelling and emotionally resonant story. This balance is delicate, and opinions on its success vary among viewers and scholars.

Guidance for Viewers

For those watching “The Chosen,” it is important to approach the series with discernment. Recognizing the difference between dramatized content and biblical fact is crucial. Viewers are encouraged to use the series as a supplementary tool for understanding and to always refer back to the Bible for authoritative guidance.


A Valuable but Imperfect Tool

“The Chosen” offers a unique and engaging portrayal of Jesus and his disciples, blending creative storytelling with biblical events. While it is not a substitute for Scripture, it serves as a valuable tool for sparking interest and deeper exploration of the Gospels. Its impact on viewers’ faith journeys and its ability to foster community discussion are commendable.

Encouraging Biblical Literacy

Ultimately, “The Chosen” succeeds in encouraging biblical literacy and providing a fresh perspective on the life of Jesus. By humanizing the characters and contextualizing their experiences, it helps viewers connect with the biblical narrative on a personal level. However, it is essential for viewers to maintain a critical eye and ensure that their primary source of truth remains the Bible.

In conclusion, “The Chosen” is a compelling and thought-provoking series that, while taking creative liberties, largely seeks to honor the spirit of the Gospels. Its role in enhancing understanding and appreciation of the Bible makes it a significant addition to religious media, as long as it is approached with discernment and a commitment to scriptural truth.

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