The Book of Eli

Keeping the Bible alive has not always been an easy task. In times of persecution the authorities have always tried to destroy as many copies as they could get their hands on. Up until 500 years ago every copy of the Bible had to be written out, laboriously, by hand. Some monks devoted their entire lives to sitting at desks, working by candle light, to hand copy the Bible and hand it down to us.

I was thinking of all this earlier this evening while watching the movie The Book of Eli. I wish I could recommend the movie and tell you to go watch it, but it is very violent (like the books of Genesis and Judges) so I hesitate to just say it is great. The violence might be too much for you.

But the premise is very interesting. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where a few survivors struggle to eke out an existence in the midst of a shattered landscape (hence the violence.) Denzel Washington plays Eli, a wanderer who thinks he may be carrying the very last Bible in the world and who believes God has called him to carry that Bible safely to a place where it will be protected. The problem is, Eli doesn’t know exactly where that place is and he has been wandering and looking for it for 30 years.

I found the ending surprising and inspiring, though I won’t tell you what it is since you might want to see it for yourself. If you can stand the violence, you might want to check this movie out. At the very least I think it will help you appreciate the value of this book we call the Bible and which the hero of the movie, Eli, calls his own in a deeply personal way.

~ Jonathan Stepp

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