The Book of Eli: 10 Year Anniversary



(The FreeThinking Theist)


January 7, 2020

Spoiler Alert! 

The Book of Eli is about to celebrate its ten year anniversary on January 11, 2020. If you have yet to see this awesome flick, then I hope this article encourages you to finally watch this R-rated “Christian movie” about what would happen if the world was devoid of The Bible (watch the original trailer here). This movie deserves its “R” rating based on extreme amounts of violence and language. However, what should we expect in a world which does not have access to the Word of God?

After the fallout of a nuclear war, Eli (played by Denzel Washington) has what seems to be the last Bible on the face of the earth. God has told him to travel west with this Bible and Eli reads it every single day “without fail” over the course of many years.

The Plot Thickens

An evil man named Carnegie (played by Gary Oldman) wants to steal the Bible from Eli. Why is it “evil” to want to possess a Bible? Because the intention of Carnegie is not to get closer to God, but to manipulate and control the masses with “its words” — twisted out of context! Eli is willing to fight to keep the Bible out of the hands of evil and to keep God’s command to keep traveling west with the Word of God.

The final destination point happens to be the San Francisco Bay Area and on to Alcatraz! However, Eli has been severely wounded with a bullet to his stomach and the Bible has finally been abducted by Carnegie.

At Alcatraz we come to the shocking realization that Eli was blind throughout the entire movie and has been guided by God with each and every step of the way — including each and every tactical move of every fight! The Bible, which was “read” every day by Eli, but now in Carnegie’s grasp, is written in braille. To Carnegie’s dismay,  he cannot decipher it. Eli, however, is a “walking Bible” since he has the entire Bible memorized word for word — from Genesis to Revelation. Eli recites the entirety of God’s Word from beginning to end, they record it, and then they begin to mass produce The Bible via a printing press.

C’mon, man! That is simply awesome!

Another memorable moment occurs when Carnegie tries to influence Eli by seducing him with a “prostitute.” Eli takes this opportunity, not to take advantage of the woman, but teaches her how to pray!

A Controversial Ending?

The final scene has brought controversy since after presumably printing incredible numbers of Bibles on their printing press, they place one copy on a shelf next to other religious books that were never systematically destroyed and in which they have already attained copies. Be that as it may, I believe those objecting to this scene are missing something BIG: The world already had these other religious books and the world was still a virtual “hell on earth.” However, now that they finally have the actual Word of God, the world can be restored via this special revelation and the words of Christ! Only the Bible has the hope to change the world for the better.

Here is how Warner Brothers summarizes the movie:

“In the not-too-distant future, across the wasteland of what was once America, a lone warrior must fight to bring civilization the knowledge that could be the key to its redemption.

Eli walks alone in post-apocalyptic America. He heads west along the Highway of Death on a mission he doesn’t fully understand but knows he must complete. In his backpack is the last copy of a book that could become the wellspring of a revived society. Or in the wrong hands, the hammer of a despot.

Denzel Washington is Eli, who keeps his blade sharp and his survival instincts sharper as his quest thrusts him into a savage wasteland…and into explosive conflict with a resourceful warlord (Gary Oldman) set on possessing the book.

‘We walk by faith, not by sight,’ quotes Eli.”


I loved The Book of Eli. In fact, I believe it is one of the best “Christian movies” of all time! The violence is sometimes graphic, and the language can hurt the ears of a churchgoer, but this movie provides an awesome example of the importance of studying The Bible, memorizing scripture, applying the words of Christ to our lives, and ultimately, how God’s word can transform individuals as well as culture itself. After seeing The Book of Eli, I made a commitment to read the Bible daily and memorize it as Eli did. A decade later, this commitment has clearly transformed my life.

Stay reasonable (Isaiah 1:18),

Tim Stratton


About the Author



(The FreeThinking Theist)

Timothy A. Stratton (PhD, North-West University) is a professor at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary. As a former youth pastor, he is now devoted to answering deep theological and philosophical questions he first encountered from inquisitive teens in his church youth group. Stratton is founder and president of FreeThinking Ministries, a web-based apologetics ministry. Stratton speaks on church and college campuses around the country and offers regular videos on FreeThinking Ministries’ YouTube channel.

Learn More

More from this author