Bible Illuminated: The Book New Testament

New Testament Bible Illustrated: The Book
New Testament Bible Illustrated: The Book

The Book New Testament: Bible Illustrated

The Bible is one of the oldest and best selling books in human history. What people may not know is that it is a book full of historically reliable and verified information utilized by archaeologist and historians around the world. But of course the Bible is most well known for being the the Word of Christianity, full of past events that covers everything from man’s purpose, the state of humanity, God’s interaction with men, and the gospels covering the life of Jesus.

However the Bible is quite a big book, and those who are not familiar with it may feel it is too daunting to try to read through it all. “Bible Illuminated: The Book” is the latest attempt to bring the Bible into a more contemporary and modern build.

A 300 page glossy magazine full of modern, artsy pictures with the new testament written in book form. The pictures range from beautiful to provocative, making the reader want to hunt down the passage the picture is related to. Created by Dag Soederberg, a Swedish businessmen, he says his mission was not “from God” and that he is “not particularly religious”. Contrary to what one may think, he is not a Christian. He says “It’s the most sold book in the world, but the least known. I want to take it off the shelves and put it on the coffee table”. He says that “At first the Bible was a collection of scrolls, then illustrated handwritten volumes. When printing was invented they were produced in Latin with pictures. Later they were published in plain closely printed text, in the common language, to get them into as many people’s hands as cheaply as possible.”

“A coffee-table magazine is read by the many everyday, everywhere,” explains Soderberg. “This is a way to make [the Bible] as available as any other magazine.”

Bible Illustrated: Mary and Jesus
Bible Illustrated: Mary and Jesus

Books such as these have stirred up debate and controversy on whether such interpretations are beneficial or detrimental to the faith. On one hand people are argue that the text itself is not touched and that it provides a new medium in which non-believers can be exposed to the Bible and gain interest. In Sweden, a country that sells 60,000 Bibles, the Bible Illuminated raised the market for bibles 50 percent without cannibalizing normal bible sales. It also may help the reader understand the material from a modern perspective. Makes sense.

On the other hand, the pictures are mostly loosely affiliated with the text and run the risk of tying some social issue to a particular verse that could be taken out of context or to perhaps cause misinterpretation of the text. It is the interpretation of the people who put the book together who unfortunately would be motivated by making an attractive and profitable product. Using provocative images and culturally attractive people the book attracts casual viewers. Inside are photos of heroic figures like Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa but also pictures of cultural celebrities like Angelina Jolie and John Lennon.

A perfect example of bible verses taken out of context in our culture is the verses Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through him who gives me strength”. You see this verse plastered on every bumper stickers, recited by every athlete and use as inspiration quotes on posters. Cited by successful people, clung to by the struggling. However Apostle Paul says “I” not “you” and states out of experience of suffering for the Gospel all his life (check 2 Corinthians 11:23+). He was whipped near death, shipwrecked three times, chased city to city, gone without food for long periods, been thrown into jail numerous times. As a result of faith he was able to say such a statement. In the context of this verse, a Christian brother named Epaphoroditus had come from Philippi to Rome with a financial gift to help Paul. As part of this letter to Philippi, Paul thanked the believers for being concerned bout him. He says that despite his often difficult circumstances, he was content because he had learned to depend on the Lord to meet his needs. Then comes this confident statement. In his experience and faith, he knew he could depend completely on Christ.

So the argument continues, meanwhile books such as these continual to sell exposing many people to the Bible for the first time as hopefully they read it with the right frame of mind and in context. Either way, definitely something worth discussing.

What do you think? Good? Bad? Just like the art?

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