Living Biblically

“Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God (Psalm 50:23).”

There is a new television show being aired on CBS called Living Biblically. A review by the gospel coalition is fairly even handed in saying the show is not intended to make Christians look dumb but it is far from sound hermeneutics and biblical scholarship. (1) The comedy is loosely based on A.J. Jacobs New York Times bestseller book The Year of Loving Biblically in which the author sets out to live the Bible as literally as possible. The tv character, Chip, is portrayed as reaching a crossroads in life and earnestly seeking “to be a better man.” He seeks guidance along the way from a Catholic priest and a Rabbi in which he learns not to wear mixed fabrics (Leviticus 19:19) for example in order to literally follow the Bible.

In this sense, Chip could represent anyone of our co-workers, friends, or neighbors who is not familiar with the Bible but desires to come to faith without sound instruction in the Scriptures. Just as Philip asked the eunuch, “Do you understand what you are reading” to which the eunuch honestly answered, “How can I, unless someone guides me.” (Acts 8:30-31) Unfortunately for Chip, and anyone other earnest person who might watch the show, it does not appear that he receives sound instruction in godliness. Yes, the fictional priest and rabbi do tell him what the Bible says; “Stone adulterers, don’t mix fabrics, etc…” they do not however rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) so that these directions are coherent.

As the review indicates the producers seek to strike a balance so that neither Christians nor atheists are offended by the show so that Chip and the viewers are never made to understand that the old covenant of the law was made obsolete (Ephesians 2:14-16, Colossians 2:14, Hebrews 8:13) and served only as a temporary measure to lead all men to Christ (Luke 16:16, Galatians 3:16, Hebrews 10:1) who is the fulfillment of the law.

Patrick Walsh, the show’s creator says, “I think a lot of people feel very lost. They don’t know what to do.” What a profound statement to come from Hollywood and is such an accurate assessment of our times. It is a credit that in their own way they are groping for the light in even producing a show on “living biblically.”

Our God does not wish for anyone to remain in the dark, in fact we know that He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4)” and that He will reward everyone who diligently seeks Him (Hebrews 11:6). Of a truth, “God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him (2 Samuel 14:14).” When the eunuch was seeking God, Philip was sent to preach Jesus to Him (Acts 8:32-39). Cornelius was a devout man but still Peter was dispatched to tell him what he must do (Acts 10:5-6, 48). Even those disciples in Ephesus who had received teaching of Jesus but were not properly instructed in all things, Paul arrives to remedy this (Acts 18:25, 19:1-5). This is the simple way God has devised and has been effective for two millennia (Romans 10:13-17).

There are many people like Chip out there who are seeking but like Apollos, are in need of Christians to show them “the way of the God more accurately (Acts 18:26). And the One with ALL authority (Hebrews 5:9) Jesus gave us detailed instructions in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Let us take heed and continue to live biblically.

“And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:9-10).”


Billy Alexander is a member of the church of Christ in Jersey Village in Houston, TX. He and his wife Gwen both work at Hewlett-Packard where they met and have worked more than 25 years each. Billy enjoys teaching Bible several times each week at Jersey Village and Memorial church of Christ. Since 2008, his weekly article "Equipping the Saints" as run in the Jersey Village bulletin.