Even though there are very few direct references to the Bible, the show is filled with positive morals and principles that our taught throughout scripture. Each episode was meant to have a good moral theme that was played out in the story line. The show was intended to show values such as character, responsibility, honesty, and often integrity. Several Bible studies have been written and are focused on episodes of the show.
The very first episode that aired was “The New Housekeeper.” One of the key scenes is what is known as Opies Prayer. He is seen in his bedroom before going to bed praying this prayer, “God Bless my Pa, my bird Dickey and my dog Gulliver and my lizard, also wherever it is he ran away to, and Barney Fife and my white mouse and Jerry, Tommy and Billy and my snake. Amen.” This was focused around Matthew 21:22 “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” This set the tone for the entire length of the shows run.
Another episode “Man in a Hurry” was based on the fact that Mr. Tucker an out of town businessman’s car broke down and he wanted it fixed on a Sunday. Wally, the local mechanic refuses to fix the car on Sunday and Mr. Tucker gets upset and returns to Gomer for help. Of course Gomer is no help and Mr. Tucker gets mad and steals the truck making Andy arrest him. Instead of placing charges Andy takes him home for Sunday dinner. In a screen shot of Mr. Tucker on the porch and Andy and Wally in the background you can see a clear image of a cross on the door. The writers state that this was intentional to show a connection between Wally not working on a Sunday and the Cross of Jesus. During this same seen Andy points at what appears to be Wally but actually it is the cross. If you listen to the words of the story Andy really has no reason to be pointing. It was one small way of showing the shows religious tone without actually say it.
Most of the scenes from this same episode appear on the front porch of Andy’s home. As usual on the porch usually meant having the guitar out and signing. In this particular episode the songs were obviously Christian based because it was Sunday. They sing the song “The Church in the Wildwood” as well as many others. This would make one think of Psalms 13:6 “I sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” As the show begins to end, Mr. Tucker has settled down and begins to relax at least too some degree. In one scene Opie gives Mr. Tucker a lucky penny that has been ran over by a train. As he accepts the penny Mr. Tucker reflects on the kindness showed to him and he even then finds an excuse to stay another night.
So what can be learned from this episode of Andy Griffith in the way of Christianity?
Patience, trials and tribulations will produce patience. James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Priorities, what consumes our time. Philippians 4:11-13 says, “Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me.”
Appreciation of life; be still and silent, don’t make things complicated. Ecclesiastes 7:29 says, “This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes.” And Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God. I am exalted among the nations; I am exalted in the earth!”
Serving unselfishly; considering others and a attitude of humility. Luke 14:8-11 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” And Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
So as you can see, a lot can be learned from each episode of the Andy Griffith show in relation to basic values and what it means to be a Christian. I challenge each of you if you have never done an Andy Griffith Bible study based on select episodes, you really need too. I will give you a whole new appreciation for good, simple, wholesome, TV shows. God Bless!