Painting the Bible

Some years ago I returned to my former training college, Spurgeon’s as guest preacher at the end of a narrative preaching course.  After I had preached, we repaired to a lecture room for taht peculiar form of vivisection which we call sermon critique. Along the way a Romanian student, who was having to choose his words carefully in a foreign tongue, said the following:

You haven’t preached the story you have painted it.

Every time I have struggled to construct a biblical narrative, or puzzled over the selection of the right word, those words have come back to me.

Yesterday, though, I came across a Biblical painter of another kind entirely. His story is told in the Bible Society’s magazine Word in Action, and he lives Gurage people in Ethiopia. His name is Melak Genet Brehe Grebre Kidan (on the right in the picture below), and he is 78 years old. Over the years he has painted 55 churches in the rich illustrative style you see in the picture below. Amongst a largely illiterate people he sees this as a divine mission:

God has asked us to make sure the health of the church continues and the Bible lives on in the church pictorially


My question is this – in a society where most of the people in church are literate- what are we doing (with words or pictures) to make sure the Bible lives on in the church pictorially?