Theology in Art – Art and the Bible

art and the bible

‘Art and the Bible’ by Francis A. Schaeffer, 1973

Theology in Art – Art and the Bible


Throughout history, art has reflected cultural change and development. Great paintings, sculptures, and musical compositions have represented trends in theology and religion as viewed from the artist’s cultural context. From Bach’s ‘St. John Passion’ to Bosch’s ‘The Last Judgment’, the arts display the fusion of theology and culture.

Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s ‘Art and the Bible’ has been a foundational work for generations of Christians involved in the arts. In his classic essay, Schaeffer first examines the Scriptural record of the use of various art forms, and then establishes a Christian perspective on art.

“The lordship of Christ should include an interest in the arts,” writes Francis Schaeffer. “A Christian should use these arts to the glory of God, not just as tracts, mind you, but as things of beauty to the praise of God.” Many Christians, wary of creating graven images, have steered clear of artistic creativity. But the Bible offers a robust affirmation of the arts. The human impulse to create reflects our being created in the image of a creator God.

Francis A. Schaeffer founded the L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland and was the author of many books, including ‘The God Who Is There’ and ‘How Should We Then Live?’. Until his death in 1984, he was also a noted speaker with a worldwide ministry. His ministry continues through his books, with over two million copies in print.


Art in the Old Testament


“Christians . . . ought not to be threatened by fantasy and imagination. Great painting is not ‘photographic’: think of the Old Testament art commanded by God. There were blue pomegranates on the robes of the priest who went into the Holy of Holies…” ~ Francis August Schaeffer, Art & the Bible


The Art of the Renaissance


“Art is a reflection of God’s creativity, an evidence that we are made in the image of God… I am afraid that as Evangelicals, we think that a work of art only has value if we reduce it to a tract.”  ~ Francis August Schaeffer, Art & the Bible


Art Throughout Church History


“Each generation of the Church, in each setting, has the responsibility of communicating the Gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting.” ~ Dr. Francis August Schaeffer, L’Abri Fellowship


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