Lion Hudson commissioned a set of sixty illustrations for 'Simply the Bible', a clear and simple introduction for anyone who finds the Bible a bit daunting, or simply wants a brief overview. The Bible isn't one book: it’s an anthology of many different kinds of book or writing, including history, poetry, stories, legal codes, proverbs and sayings, apocalyptic visionary descriptions, hymns, letters...
Numbers: a travelogue
Numbers continues the story of Exodus: taking the Israelites from Sinai to the borders of Canaan. After 40 years camping in the wilderness, a new generation prepares for the task of entering the promised land.
Judges: a horror story
Undoubtedly the goriest, most violent book of the Bible, Judges is a picture of what happens to society when everyone lives for themselves. Judges starts with a captured king having his thumbs and big toes cut off and goes downhill from there. An enemy general, Sisera, is killed when he gets a tent-peg driven through his head. Nice!
1 Chronicles: and now for the highlights…
The first book of Chronicles is an official portrait of King David with hefty airbrushing, a Photoshopped version of 2 Samuel with all the blemishes removed. David is given the full-on hero treatment. There's no mention of the seven year civil war, and nothing at all about Bathsheba. David is the powerful king who makes Jerusalem great, who plans the Temple and brings the Ark of the Covenant into the city. He's powerful because he trusts in God.
Jeremiah: we're all doomed!
Jeremiah is a disaster movie. The disaster is Babylon, coming for Judah like Godzilla on a rampage! Well God, rather than Godzilla…
A vast army of locusts has descended on Judah, eating everything in its path. The swarming locust, the young locust, the destroying locust, the devouring locust …
Malachi: someone is coming
The book of Malachi is a series of arguments. In rapid-fire dialogue God accuses the people and the people accuse God. Malachi reminds people that the day of the Lord is coming.
Matthew: spectacular miracles
In Matthew's gospel, Jesus is the Messiah come to inaugurate the kingdom of heaven. He brings a girl back to life; he feeds thousands of people; he even walks on water. After Peter declares him to be the Christ, Jesus goes to a mountain where he appears in a shining light alongside Moses and Elijah.
Mark: straight talking
Mark's gospel begins abruptly with John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness. Ignoring background details such as Jesus' birth, he cuts straight to the core message: 'The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ.' It's a short, simple account of Jesus' life as a healer, an exorcist, a teacher, someone who was passionately committed to the poor and the outcasts. It shows us a man modelling an entirely different kingdom where the last are the first, where the leaders are slaves and servants.
John: another perspective
John's gospel presents Jesus as the ‘Word’ who was with God before the beginning of the world, who became flesh and lived here on earth. Listen to his words. Consider his signs. With his first miracle – his first sign – Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding in Cana.
Paul is in prison in Rome. His second letter to Timothy is a cry from the heart, revealing the extent of his commitment to his cause. At times, it's almost a goodbye note. Everyone has left him. He feels like it’s all over. But he has run his race. He writes asking Timothy to join him – and also encouraging his protégé to persevere.