Free Bible story illustrations, posed photos, film stills

 A new UK Bible resource is unique in offering completely free posed photographs, film stills and drawn illustrations, to enhance sermons, Sunday School lessons, youth talks, websites etc.

I personally cringe at some illustrations of scriptural scenes, which can seem old-fashioned, religious and even creepy. Resources from FreeBibleimages are none of these things!

Paul Thompson shares the team’s story:

“It began when a group of Christian men with backgrounds in IT, design, finance, marketing or management found thesmselves out of contract, redundant, or recovering from ill health. We met together in Farnham, Surrey, for support and prayer.

We noticed that in teaching the Bible to any age-group, it was difficult to find online 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 decided to create the Bible in pictures offered free online.

All of us have since found work or a way of supporting themselves financially so that any funds we raise go into the production of free images to share on our website. 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.

No restrictions

bible pictureOur heart is that anyone, anywhere, can download sets of sequential Bible-story visuals without restriction, to use in teaching the Bible within their own style, culture and language.

So we make all our resources free, with no requirement that people give us any personal details, as we have many users in parts of the world where Christians are persecuted.

Our sources

In our journey with God on this project, we have found three sources for images:

  1. Shooting actors against a green chroma-screen background and then digitally placing these over Middle-Eastern backgrounds.
  2. Using high-quality film stills from Bible stories set in the Middle East.
  3. Using illustrations, now out of print, and released to us under creative commons licencing to distribute free.

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.

Future plans

Funds permitting, our plans for the next year are to:

  1. Create sets of images about the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus using film stills licensed by Big Book Media.
  2. Finish sets of images about the life of Joseph and Elijah.
  3. Begin shooting photos for the Acts of the Apostles.
  4. Post 20 new sets of story illustrations.

bible picture

The vision

We already have Christians in 144 countries using our images in teaching the Bible. We hope more film companies will release film stills to us, and that publishers allow us to use out-of print Bible story illustrations. Our vision is to offer 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 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.”

Search the graphics at FreeBibleimages.org and sign up for their 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 – for example drawings in African, Asian or Hispanic line drawing, cartoon, or anime/manga style. Please connect with them if you have or know of resources like this.

This is an edited version of a blog post that first appeared in Digital Evangelism Issues blog.

About soonguy

Tony Whittaker is coordinator for Internet Evangelism Day | Team member, SOON Ministries, Derby UK. Contact him here.