FreeBibleimages – the amazing story of a new Bible resource
A new Bible resource is unique in its scope, offering totally free photographs and drawings to illustrate Bible stories.
I personally cringe at some graphic depictions of scriptural scenes, which can be old-fashioned, religious and even creepy. Those from FreeBibleimages are not!
Paul Thompson tells the team’s story:
“It all began when a group of Christian men with a background in I.T., design, finance, marketing and management were either out of contract, redundant, or recovering from ill health. We met together in Farnham, Surrey (UK) for prayer and support.
We noticed that if you were teaching the Bible to any age-group, it was difficult to successfully google for images suitable to teach the sequential events in a Bible story. And if you could find them, they were not free to use. After research, we set out to create the Bible in pictures online.
All of those involved have since found work or a way of supporting themselves financially so that any funds we raise go into the creation, production of images and placement on our website for free distribution. Our story is one of many triumphs in the face of sometimes severe adversity.
We value the importance of the teacher/presenter in effective learning and we know how God uses these people to inspire others. We believe that that our low-tech approach – people explaining Scripture with visuals to help them – can be more effective than other solutions. We also know that images reflecting the historical setting and culture of the scenes will not date, and can be used by anyone anywhere to teach every age-group.
Our heart is for anyone, anywhere, to download sets of sequential Bible-story visuals without restriction, to use in teaching the Bible in their own style, language and culture.
For this reason we make all our resources free, with no obligation to give us any personal details, as we have many users in parts of the world where Christians are persecuted.
In our journey with God on this project, we have found three sources for images:
- Shooting actors against a green chroma-screen background and then digitally placing these over Middle-Eastern backgrounds.
- Using high-quality film stills from Bible stories set in the Middle East.
- Using illustrations, now out of print, and released to us under a creative commons licence for free distribution.
We have no overheads and everyone at FreeBibleimages supports themselves financially, giving their time as volunteers. All money raised goes into the expenses of shooting and producing images and placing them online.
Funds permitting, we plan over the next year to:
- Create sets of images about the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus from film stills licensed by Big Book Media.
- Finish sets of images on the life of Joseph and Elijah.
- Begin shooting the Acts of the Apostles.
- Post about 20 new sets of illustrated stories online.
To date we have users in 144 countries downloading and using our images in teaching the Bible. We are hoping more film companies will release film stills to us, and that publishers will release out-of print Bible story illustrations. Our vision is to get the whole Bible in images so that anyone at anytime, anywhere in the world can use them in their communication of the Bible.
Our philosophy is based on free web distribution rather than a typical commercial stockphoto model. Users often become involved in different ways to share the vision and provide the resources to make it happen. Although we are all from an evangelical background, we merely give users the Bible reference so that users can construct their own message – we do not introduce any denominational or theological bias. However, we provide a Story Planner showing thumbnails of the images, a description of what is happening in each scene, and space for them to write their own notes.”
Choose your graphics at FreeBibleimages.org and sign up for the newsletter.
Feedback and further developments
What needs do you have for Bible story pictures? Add your comments below.
The team are also interested in developing further sequences of illustrations – as drawings in African, Asian or Hispanic line drawing, cartoon, or anime style. Please connect with them if you have or know of resources like this.
Here’s a video introduction to the site by Yvon Prehn of Effective Church Communications:
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