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Art & the Bible

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,464 ratings  ·  148 reviews
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 h ...more
Published May 1st 1973 by InterVarsity Press
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4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,464 ratings  ·  148 reviews

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Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This little book had me scribbling notes and underlining furiously the whole way through! It was excellent. There were so many times when I couldn't resist laughing in joy as I read. Just the very first words on the very first page are dynamite. I also really liked what he said about "great art" and the necessity for judging art not only on how well it is done, but by what message is taught. That is a needed message in our day, and he delineated that so well. (See pages 43-45)

I did, however, dis
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would give this a 4.7 if I could.
It is a good introduction to a subject that demands further attention. Some points that especially stood out to me:
1. "...creativity has value because God is the Creator."
2. "Being in the image of the Creator, we are called upon to have creativity."
3. "The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars."
4. "He may have no gift of writing, no gift of composing or singing, but each man has the gift of creativity in terms of the way he lives hi
Katherine Forster
A Manifesto of Christian Art

This little book (really just two essays) is short, but packed with truth. Schaeffer lays out a theology of art that includes both great freedom and great responsibility. We must glorify God through our art, he says, but that doesn't mean reducing it to an evangelistic tool. Art has value because of who God is, and because of our identity as bearers of His image.

We also don't need to be afraid of fantasy or imagination. "The Christian is the one whose imagination sho
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity, culture
"If Christianity is really true, then it involves the whole man, including his intellect and creativeness."

These two essays were published in 1973. For anyone familiar with the Scriptures, the first essay holds no revelations. He cites dozens of references to art found in the Bible from visual art in the temple to music and poetry. He makes a case for the fact that art does not have to be "religious" to bring glory to God.

The second essay gives criteria for evaluating art. I appreciated his cal
Apr 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-living
In Art in the Bible Schaeffer states “The lordship of Christ over the whole of life means that there are no platonic areas in Christianity, no dichotomy or hierarch between the body and the soul. God made the body as well as the soul and redemption is for the whole man.” Schaeffer very clearly presents the fact that Christianity involves the whole man, including his intellect and creativeness. These are not periphery, side areas – these are the central areas. The arts and the sciences all have a ...more
Peter Yock
A helpful read. Schaeffer has a lot of very thought through and helpful things to say on the relationship between Christianity and the arts - and on being a Christian artist. Though dated a bit now I’m not aware of a 21st century equivalent that’s better. Schaeffer quotes the bible often enough, and the gospel is present, though I wouldn’t describe it as a gospel centred approach, and therefore I was left wanting. Still, plenty of helpful stuff to take away, and I’ll be adding it to my list of r ...more
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
A Biblically-based look at art and how the Christian should view and use and make it. I especially appreciated the sections that addressed whether all of a Christian's artistic expressions have to be clear representations of the Gospel or other spiritual things. This is a question I've wrestled with myself, and Schaeffer's case has brought me closer to a solid answer. I definitely recommend this one for any Christian artist!
Zak Metz
May 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
God is creative. We are created in his image. We can and should exercise our creativity. Our artistic expressions need not be limited to the "religious." I plan to read this to my 10-year-old daughter who is very artistic. I want her to understand that God created her such that she can express herself that way, and that it has real value. We should not be dismissive of modern artistic expression even if we don't personally care for it. Times change.
Ryan Watkins
Great. Listened to the Audible audio book version. In the first half of this short book Schaeffer examines cases where art is talked about in scripture. The second portion of the book deals with how to view art from a Christian worldview. Recommended.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it
A good introduction into how to think about, value, and create art from a Christian perspective.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic read on a biblical perspective of the arts - their purpose, use, etc. Includes not just art but music, writing - any sort of creating. The last few points in the essay (#s9-11) were particularly helpful for me in shaping some questions I’ve had (particularly in the realm of music).
Josh Bauder
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Two essays in this small book.

In the first, "Art in the Bible," Schaeffer responds to the objection that the Bible forbids representative art by explaining the Mosaic Law's prohibition of graven images. He then overviews positive instances of art in the Bible (representative visual art, architecture, music, poetry, dance) as implicit proof of its effectiveness and appropriateness in religious life.

The second essay, "Some Perspectives on Art," unfolds as an eleven-point manifesto.
1. A work of art
Gina **the Snow Queen**
Excellent. Quick read, Schaeffer doesn’t waste his words or get high and mighty. This is approachable and you don’t have to ascribe to Christianity or any religion to gain understanding or insight. Highly recommend. 5 perfect stars.
Todd Luallen
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Todd - A quick read on the biblical view of art, along with plenty of practical application for the Christian today. If you're wondering about different forms of art and entertainment in the world, and how the Christian should engage with such, this book will give you a good foundation for answering the questions. Schaeffer believes that there is no such thing as a godly style, or an ungodly style. And he goes to a decent length to show support in scripture for non-religious artwork. However, he ...more
Feb 14, 2017 rated it liked it
A short and decent introduction to Christian aesthetics.
Emily Polson
I would maybe recommend this for someone who's interested in learning more about the intersection of faith and art, or legitimately curious what the biblical basis for art is. I didn't find it particularly enlightening, but I've already got a well-formed aesthetic as a Christian who is also an artist.
Jan 24, 2010 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

A quick read (only 94 pages). The first half was so-so but the second half where Schaeffer gives some "perspectives on art" was good. I thought his 11 points were pretty spot-on.

A great intro to anyone interested in theology and the arts. Quick, easy, thought provoking.
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: christianity
This book was pleasant to read and I learned a lot from it; however, I'm not sure I quite agree with all of his conclusions on the subject matter. It makes me very interested in doing more research on the topic.
Nov 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
We need this book to be read and put into practice.
Daniel Blackaby
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
A short, but very informative tract on the subject. A perfect starting point for Christians interested in creating or consuming the Arts
Justin Daniel
Francis Schaeffer has long been one of my most favorite authors. As I make my way through his books, I am always astounded at the wisdom of this man and his continued legacy, in both Christianity and the wider world. Two constants in his books are 1) the emphasis on worldview, and 2) utilizing art to demonstrate the lessons of worldview. I was surprised to find this book, then, which combines the two together into one volume. While it is short, it asks the necessary question: how should Christia ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book Review: Art and the Bible
Author: Francis Schaeffer
Format: Softback
Topic: Art Theory
Scope: A Christian Primer on Art Theory and Criticism
Purpose: To give a Christian Perspective of Art and how the Bible and God view Art in all its forms.
Structure: There are two fairly large chapters in this book. The first chapter explains how the Bible portrays Art in many forms and how it is a valued aspect of human experience. The second chapter attempts to give a primer on how to evaluate and enjoy art
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing-theory
I decided to read "Art and the Bible" by Francis Schaeffer mainly so I could get a take on the arts industry from a Christian who plainly knew something about art. Noting the present deluge of so-called Christian movies, I now realize that Schaeffer would be aghast at this cinematic movement.

Schaeffer's whole message in this slim little book is that a work of art does not have to emphasize religious or spiritual themes or content in order to be glorifying to God. He explicitly states that a wor
Michael Wojcik
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The Christian's life is to be a thing of truth and also a thing of beauty in the midst of a lost and despairing world."

This last line of the essays so succinctly encapsulates Schaeffer's perspective, and as believers it's fairly easy to get a good view of how our lives are to be "things of truth" - but how are our lives supposed to be things of (aesthetic) beauty? The first essay lays a biblical foundation for an understanding of art in all its forms, and the second gives an opinion of how to e
Joel Ohman
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“An artwork can be a doxology in itself.” Wow, this is a short book, but truly outstanding. As an author, there is a lot for me to think on here, but I would strongly encourage everyone to read this book. Here are just a few of the passages and comments (some loosely paraphrased) that stood out to me:

Art has value in itself. Why is this? The Christian is uniquely suited to know the value of art, because a work of art is a work of creativity, and creativity has value because God is the Creator. H
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am so glad I picked up this book! This was really good, and there are some aesthetic lessons that I think Christians have yet to learn. I guess I wouldn't have thought the following quotes were Schaeffers', but they are, and they are excellent!

"Christian art today should be twentieth-century art. Art changes. Language changes. The preacher's preaching today must be twentieth-century language communication, or there will be an obstacle to being understood. And if a Christian's art is not twent
Ryan Hawkins
When you read this book, you can tell why it was really important and even revolutionary when it was written. Schaeffer does such a great job clearly addressing the issue of Christian creativity. It is brilliant, and I think largely because of his influence and this book, it actually isn’t such an issue today as it was decades ago when it was written.

That being said, if anyone ever wants to see why it is great for Christians to produce art (that even isn’t explicitly Christian), or why we can en
This short little book is an excellent entry-point for thinking biblically about art and artistry. I think it was originally two different essays on art, the first a biblical consideration and the second more focused on what a biblically Christian approach to art might look like in real life. Personally, I kind of prefer Rookmaaker's Art Needs No Justification, which is similarly concise, but I think Schaffer makes some very solid and good points. I especially like how he differentiates technica ...more
Josh Sieders
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
A good, short primer on this subject with some clear insights. Some are basic, but need to be said - especially in the Christian community that looks askance at anything that might seem too secular, or hollywood. Schaeffer makes clear that God made man creative and is interested in beauty. He also lays out that Christians do not need to make Christian art, but that a Christian's art should be borne of their worldview and ultimately bring glory to God. A helpful distinction, and one that artists ...more
Leonardo Bruno
Bem, acho que não há muito o que falar, né? O cara era muito bom. Muitos insights valiosos e necessários para um relacionamento adequado com a arte. Na primeira parte do livro ele faz algumas considerações sobre a arte na Bíblia, e na segunda, algumas perspectivas sobre a arte de modo geral. Aqui, ele fornece onze perspectivas distintas a partir das quais um cristão pode considerar e avaliar obras de arte. O livro encerra desafiando os cristãos a fazerem de suas próprias vidas uma obra de arte. ...more
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Francis August Schaeffer was an American Evangelical Christian theologian, philosopher, and Presbyterian pastor. He is most famous for his writings and his establishment of the L'Abri community in Switzerland. Opposed to theological modernism, Schaeffer promoted a more historic Protestant faith and a presuppositional approach to Christian apologetics which he believed would answer the questions of ...more
“The Christian in the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.” 99 likes
“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. An art work can be a doxology in itself.” 63 likes
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