Art for the Kingdom of God
“The most important thing for me is that these [drawings] are used for the Kingdom of God.” Scott Hayes, publishing director for Eastern European Mission, commissioned line drawings, which will be featured in a new Bible.
They’re for the Kingdom of God
Eastern European Mission (EEM) has been around for 50 years. They give away up to 2 million Bibles per year to those in the former Soviet Bloc countries. Now Hayes is giving away the drawings to anyone who wants to use them for non-commercial use. “Any Bible teacher, any preacher just wanting illustrations. … They’re available for the world to use. They’re … for the Kingdom of God.”
Hayes discovered that people are reading less and less. Just giving more information within Bibles won’t work. “I came up with the idea, ‘Well, what about just adding artwork that might slow the reader down? Make them stop and think about things?'” So he commissioned British artist Fred App, who he’d worked with in the past on a children’s Bible. This time, Hayes asked him to do line drawings for every book in the New Testament. It was a big job.
The project is still in the experimental phase because the Bible isn’t yet published. That’s expected in 2024. Hayes and App are now working on drawings for the Old Testament. In the meantime, he’s released the drawings already completed to Creative Commons.
Creating a ‘Mental Anchor’
Why do the drawings? “I just think people today are so distracted from everything in the world that we need every help we can for more contemplative and meditative type of reading.” Hayes also wants to help people make a “mental anchor” to Scripture verses. “[O]ne of the problems with digital reading is that your mind cannot say, ‘Yes, I remember that verse in the top left hand corner of the page.'” He explained:
[W]e would say that’s making a mental anchor, but it’s simply a way our brain functions to remember different passages and knowing where they are is very helpful. That’s why it’s very good if you’re reading the physical Bible, it’s good that you stick with one and use that for your primary Bible. One of my thoughts is if you have a New Testament where you have a picture on nearly every page, sometimes two on a page, that might make the mental anchors even better, even stronger, because connecting them to a picture is obviously much easier than just saying the left hand side of the page. I can say, ‘Yeah. The left hand side of the page where the snake is being stepped on,’ you know?”
Although the drawings are free, Hayes does want one thing in return. “I would be happy if somebody ends up using the artwork, if they just send me back an email and say, ‘This is how we’re using it,’ … I don’t necessarily need the thanks, but I would be appreciative just to see what people are doing with it.”
The drawings can be downloaded at eem.org/envisioning-truth-499.