Activity 3 What the Bible says about creating and using artwork
Introduce pupils to examples in the Bible where people are using their creativity according to God’s instructions, to make artwork inspired by the Holy Spirit that communicate ideas, feelings and worship – songs, music, visual art, architecture, dance,
Set the scene for pupils about the temple of God in the Old Testament, what it was, why it was so important to God and to the Israelites.
Activity 3a KS1 Who was involved in building the temple?
Read Exodus where Moses instructs the children of Israel according to God’s Commandments, to create and bring all kinds of artifacts and fittings to offer to God and to adorn the temple.
‘God’s temple in a classroom’ – Have a collection of objects read, for example cloth, spices, olive oil that could be set up around a series of classroom tables in the shape of the temple in I Kings v 6 which documents the design of King Solomon’s temple of the Lord. Invite pupils to place objects in different parts of the replica temple.
Record all the different forms of creativity evidenced in this biblical account, that were enabled by God. Consider what diversity there is across the different artforms and how beautiful the temple would have been. Pupils could work in pairs to visualise the temple from the biblical account.
Activity 3b KS2 How might Exodus 35 v 4 to 29 inspire and teach Christians about their own creativity and its purpose?
Psalm 104 is an example of how David was inspired by God and his creation to use his creativity to write songs of worship. Play pupils an audio clip of a contemporary worship song e.g. Matt Redman ‘ The Heart of Worship’ where Matt has expressed his understanding of Jesus being central to his life and worship.
Invite pupils to consider how they might use their creativity to communicate something important to or about God, from the viewpoint of a Christian believer.
What does it mean to be enabled and inspired by God to create things for worship and communicating the Gospel? Which people in the bible show evidence of this?
Read to 35 Bezalel is considered by many to be the first artist/craftsperson in the Bible to be described as being inspired by the Holy Spirit in having skills and knowledge for creating all kinds of artworks an fittings for the temple. This text describes a community of artists and craftspeople under Bezalel’s leadership who were themselves inspired by God to create and work together in building the God’s Holy temple for his Glory.
Christian Iconoclasm (see Essential Information)
Throughout Christian history, the church collectively, both different denominations and individuals have interpreted the Bibles guidelines about making artwork, in opposing ways. These viewpoints and reactions still influence strong differences of opinion across the worldwide church, determining diverse ways that works of art are used or not used to communicate the Gospel through worship, teaching, evangelism etc. In some traditions the arts and creativity are celebrated as sacred ways to communicate to and about God and his Kingdom. In other traditions the arts are unwelcome and drawn upon in very limited and pragmatic ways. But still artists who hold to Christian beliefs are inspired to use their skills and ideas to communicate the Gospel through their different artforms.