The Bible and the Arts

NextSunday Study The Bible and the Arts

The Bible and the Arts

Study by Alicia David Porterfield
Commentary by Judson Edwards

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Brief Description

For many centuries, visual art, music, literary arts, and drama were closely linked with the people of God. Consider that paintings and sculptures of biblical characters and events are featured in most art museums and play an essential role in art history. Some of the most famous pieces of music are religious, even directly quoting Scripture. Handel’s Messiah is just one example. Authors from Mark Twain to William Blake to Flannery O’Connor have religious themes in their work. Many dramas, especially medieval plays, depict the lives of saints and biblical figures. Decades ago, Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell were huge stage hits.

Moreover, the Bible itself addresses creative expression. The tabernacle, a work of art made up of hundreds of smaller pieces, was designed by God and crafted by inspired humans. Our first session looks at the tabernacle and the artisans God called to built it in Exodus 31:1-11. Musical arts play a large role in Scripture as well, as evidenced by the Psalms. Young David began his court life as a lyre-player asked to soothe a tormented King Saul (1 Sam 16:14-23). The Bible itself is the word of God and contains hundreds of stories. In our third lesson, we recall Nathan’s use of story to confront King David in 2 Samuel 12:1-9. The Bible also considers the use of dramatic arts in acting out a message from God—a kind of “performance art.” Ezekiel uses drama and symbol in Ezekiel 37:15-28 to restore hope and imagination to the devastated exiles.

God has used artistic expression throughout the centuries to convey truth, offer blessing, and urge believers to deeper faithfulness. In modern life, artistic expression flourishes, from movies to books to music to paintings and photographs. Sometimes artists are intentional about trying to portray God’s truths. Other times, perhaps God is working even when the artist is unaware of it. As believers, we may hear and see God at work in many art forms.

Materials Included
• 4 Sessions of Learner’s Materials
• 4 Sessions of Teaching Materials
• 4 Handouts

Sessions Included
1. Visual Arts
2. Musical Arts
3. Literary Arts
4. Dramatic Arts

Age Group
Adult

Scriptures
1. Exodus 31:1-11
2. 1 Samuel 16:14-23
3. 2 Samuel 12:1-9
4. Ezekiel 37:15-28

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