THE CONTEXT—Opening night, Kathy and I went to see the new movie Paul Apostle of Christ. It stars Jim Caviezel (as Luke) and James Faulkner (as Paul). It takes place in 67 AD during Paul’s second imprisonment in Rome. When the book of Acts concludes, Paul is under house arrest in Rome. We think he was released in approximately 63 AD and was then rearrested after Nero blamed the fire of Rome on the Christians.
MY RATING—Of course, I’m no movie critic, but I can speak to Biblical accuracy and can give you my impressions for whatever they are worth. I’m encouraged by the release of faith-based movies and want them to do well. But they need to be Biblically accurate, have compelling characters, and tell the story in an engaging way. I would give this movie 3 out of 5 stars.
THE CAST—The character of Paul was inspiring and seemed authentic. Luke’s character was well acted. Priscilla, Aquila and the Roman centurion were good.
LUKE WITH PAUL—Luke is with Paul while he was in Rome’s infamous Mamertine prison. I enjoyed the idea that Luke was with Paul as he wrote the book of Acts. We know that Paul had already written most of his New Testament books by 67 AD. Maybe the only book we are sure he wrote at that time was 2 Timothy, in which Paul describes the expectation of his imminent death. Paul was probably beheaded in 67 AD.
SCRIPTURE QUOTED—I especially liked how Paul quotes Scripture a number of times in the context of the persecution the Christians were facing in Rome. For instance, when some of the Christians felt the need to strike back against their Roman oppressors, Paul explained how love is the way Christians must respond as he says, “Love is not self-seeking, it keeps on record of wrongs, it does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. Love never fails.”
A LITTLE SLOW—The movie was a little slow as the vast majority of it took place, either in Paul’s prison cell, or in the compound where the Christians were hiding. There were incredible elements of Paul’s life that I would love to see acted out (i.e. shipwreck on Malta or preaching on Mars Hill).
COULD BE MORE EVANGELISTIC—I felt that the movie could have been much more assertive in its proclamation of the Gospel. There were interactions with characters where it would have been very appropriate to explain the Gospel without it being awkward or intrusive.