A.D. The Bible Continues — which comes to DVD and Blu-Ray this coming Tuesday — was based primarily on the first ten chapters of Acts, but it included references to many other scriptures as well. Since the series will soon be on home video, I thought it might be fun to compile those references and list them in biblical order.
The list below is based on the detailed notes I took after each episode aired between April and June of this year. You can read each of my episode recaps here:
The first two episodes concern the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, and as such, they are based primarily on the gospels — on Mark 14-15, Matthew 26-28, Luke 22-24 and John 18-21 — although the Ascension in Episode 2 is based partly on Acts 1.
After that, the rest of the series is based on Acts 2-10, though it sometimes borrows narrative elements from other parts of the New Testament (such as the character Joanna, who comes from Luke’s gospel, or parts of Saul’s baptism scene, which come from Acts 22), and the characters often quote the Old Testament as well.
Here is a list of all the references I caught, in biblical order (in some cases, I go into more detail about the references in my episode recaps):
Genesis 1 — Episode 5: Stephen teaches Peter how to read, using this passage.
Leviticus 16 — Episode 10: Caiaphas performs the Yom Kippur (or Day of Atonement) ceremonies, including placing all of the nation’s sins upon a goat and sending it into the wilderness to die.
Leviticus 19 — Episode 9: Caiaphas quotes the command to “love your neighbour as yourself” when he tells his wife that Saul should not be killed but should, instead, be won back to the non-Christian form of Judaism that they practice.
Deuteronomy 6 — Episode 3: Peter and John recite the Shema, which is partly based on this passage, while they are imprisoned. — Episode 11: Reuben recites the Shema when he thinks he is about to be assassinated.
Deuteronomy 21 — Episode 6: Saul says “anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse” and, thus, Jesus could not have been raised by God from the dead.
Deuteronomy 28 — Episode 5: Caiaphas recites a list of curses while the apostles are flogged.
Psalm 28 — Episode 1: Caiaphas quotes this psalm while praying to God in the Temple, and as he gets to the words “Hear my cry for mercy,” the film cuts to a shot of Jesus on the cross. There’s a fascinating irony in the way Caiaphas prays to God — for mercy, even — while the Son of God is being killed at Caiaphas’s behest.
Psalm 57 — Episode 12: Caiaphas recites a passage from this psalm while kneeling in protest during the climactic battle.
Psalm 69 — Episode 5: Both Peter and Caiaphas sing a mournful passage from this psalm when they find themselves standing before the dead body of Boaz.
Psalm 77 — Episode 4: Caiaphas recites this prayer while covering his head with ashes in the Temple, to mourn the deaths of Pilate’s victims.
Psalm 144 — Episode 4: Boaz, a Zealot, cites a passage from this psalm as evidence that scripture supports his violent methods.
Isaiah 35 — Episode 6: Peter recites this passage at the burial of Stephen.
Isaiah 53 — Episode 1: When Joseph of Arimathea reveals that Jesus is buried in his tomb, Caiaphas and his wife accuse him of inadvertently fulfilling a prophecy from this passage (“And he made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich”). — Episode 6: Peter quotes the ‘Suffering Servant’ passage, and applies it to Jesus, during his debate with Saul. — Episode 11: The Ethiopian eunuch is reading this passage when Philip meets him and tells him the passage is all about Jesus.
Isaiah 60 — Episode 6: John recites this passage as Peter prepares Stephen for burial.
Jeremiah 17 — Episode 2: Caiaphas recites this passage before sinking into his mikvah.
Daniel 9 — Episode 3: One of Boaz’s Zealot colleagues says Pilate’s visit to the Temple could be the “abomination” that the prophets foretold. — Episode 9: Caiaphas and John separately state that if Caligula’s statue goes up in the Temple, it could be the “abomination of desolation” that Daniel prophesied. Mary Magdalene adds to John’s speculation by saying that “war will come like a flood.”
Matthew 5 — Episode 10: Saul says Jesus came not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.
Matthew 6 — Episode 3: The disciples are reciting the Lord’s Prayer when the Holy Spirit arrives at Pentecost. — Episode 9: Saul recites the Lord’s Prayer in prison. — Episode 12: The apostles recite the Lord’s Prayer while kneeling in protest during the climactic battle.
Matthew 7 — Episode 11: Peter preaches in Joppa that there are two roads and/or gates, one broad and one narrow, as per Jesus’ teaching.
Matthew 26 / John 18 — Episode 1: When Boaz tells Peter and the other Christians that they should join the Zealots, Peter replies, “Live by the sword and you die by the sword,” which is basically what Jesus said to Peter after Peter cut off Malchus’s ear — but the ear-cutting is never depicted or even mentioned in this series.
Matthew 27 — Episode 8: Pilate’s wife Claudia has a dream in which Caligula kills Tiberius — and the dream comes true. This echoes her dream about Jesus.
Mark 5 — Episode 11: The episode doesn’t draw attention to this fact, but when Peter says, “Tabitha, get up,” it echoes the words of Jesus — “Talitha koum” — when he raised Jairus’s daughter.
Mark 6 / Matthew 14 / Luke 9 — Episode 8: Joanna reminds Mary Magdalene that her employers — Herod Antipas and Herodias — killed John the Baptist.
Mark 10 / Matthew 19 / Luke 18 — Episode 10: Joanna and Mary Magdalene tell Tabitha the “eye of a needle” story — which is fitting, since Tabitha is a seamstress.
Mark 13 / Matthew 24 — Episode 9: John talks about how Jesus quoted Daniel’s prophecy about the “abomination” when he predicted his Second Coming. — Episode 12: The apostles discuss whether Caligula’s statue is the “abomination” that Jesus mentioned, and whether they should flee to the hills like Jesus said.
Mark 14 / Matthew 26 / Luke 22 / I Corinthians 11 — Episode 7: Peter leads a celebration of the Eucharist, which was instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper.
Luke 2 — Episode 10: James recalls how Jesus stayed behind in the Temple when he was a boy — and it is James, rather than Mary or Joseph, who finds him.
Luke 2 / John 2 — Episode 12: Peter recalls that Jesus called the Temple his “father’s house”.
Luke 8 — Episode 8: Joanna is married to Chuza, the manager of Herod Antipas’s household, and there is a reference to how both Joanna and Mary Magdalene were cured of demons by Jesus. — Episode 9: Joanna gives Mary Magdalene some money “for the cause”, which reflects how both of these women supported Jesus and his followers “out of their own means”.
Luke 10 — Episode 7: When the other Christians warn Philip about the dangers of going to Samaria, Philip replies, “I’m sure there’s some good Samaritans,” which is a cute nod to the parable Jesus told. — Episode 12: Peter cites the Parable of the Good Samaritan when he says the apostles can’t just ignore the Jewish protestors, the way the priest in the parable ignored the man who had been beaten by robbers.
Luke 23 — Episode 11: John reminds Peter that Jesus said, “Father, forgive them…” on the cross (though the series did not show Jesus actually saying this).
John 8 — Episode 6: Peter preaches in the streets of Jerusalem that Jesus is “the light of the world”, which is something that Jesus said about himself.
John 9 — Episode 8: Saul says he hopes the Christians will forgive him because “I was blind, now I see,” which echoes something said by the blind man Jesus healed.
John 11 — Episode 1: Caiaphas tells Joseph of Arimathea, “The life of one man is as nothing, Joseph, for the sake of God’s nation,” which echoes what he told his fellow priests after Lazarus’s resurrection. — Episode 12: Caiaphas says to his wife, “Who cares about you, about an individual, a family,” which echoes his statement that it would be better for one man to die than for the whole nation to perish.
John 13 — Episode 9: Barnabas talks to Peter about the time Jesus washed Peter’s feet.
John 14 — Episode 6: Peter says Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one gets to the Father but through him, which is something Jesus said about himself. — Episode 8: While Peter heals people in Samaria, John tells the Samaritans watching them that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life.”
Acts 22 — Episode 6: The teacher-student relationship between Gamaliel and Saul is reflected in the conversations between the two characters in this episode. — Episode 8: Ananias tells Saul that God “has chosen you to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear the words from his mouth.”
Romans 8 — Episode 10: Saul comforts Tabitha with words that the historical Saul wrote about 20 years after the events of this episode.
I Corinthians 13 — Episode 6: Peter tells Saul that his knowledge means nothing without love, which will of course become a big theme for Saul in this passage.
Galatians 1 — Episode 10: Saul meets James in Jerusalem.
Galatians 3 — Episode 6: Saul cites Deuteronomy 21 as evidence of why Jesus could not have been raised from the dead. Years later, he will cite that same passage in his letter to the Galatians, to demonstrate that Jesus’ victory over death is complete precisely because he suffered the worst kind of death imaginable under the law.
II Thessalonians 1 — Episode 2: A host of “warrior angels” are included in the Ascension scene, despite their absence from this scene in Luke and Acts, in anticipation of how the angels will accompany Jesus at his Second Coming. (There are similar passages in Mark 8 & 13, Matthew 13 & 16 & 24-25, Luke 9 and John 1.)
Did I miss anything? If so, let me know in the comments and I’ll update this post.