October 23, 2019
Emmanuel alumna and visual artist Angela Demmans is sketching her way through the Bible one verse at a time. On a regular basis, sometimes multiple times a day, she does a colour illustration of a Bible verse, accompanied by the biblical text.
Demmans began the project in 2015. She had read the entire Bible several times before and resolved to do so again from start to finish, selecting the New American Standard Bible as her translation. But this time she chose to take up her pencils and paper as part of her journey.
She quickly decided that this journey would involve drawing each and every verse of the Bible. “I realized early on that I couldn’t leave any of the verses out,” she said. “Every verse stood alone and was so important.”
Four years later, Demmans is in the book of Exodus. Earlier today she posted an illustration of Exodus 26:37, featuring pillars of acacia wood. The journey, of course, will be long, but she is cherishing it and appears to be in no rush to finish. For her, creating these illustrations is a helpful devotional practice. With each sketch, she reads the verse out loud and then writes it out by hand. Completing these illustrations also provides the occasion for reflecting on God and his care for people. “A desire formed in me to . . . focus on the heart of God for people and relationship whenever possible,” she said.
Demmans is not the only one who has been shaped by her drawings. People and organizations have reached out to her and expressed their appreciation for her work. On one occasion a photographer felt that God was speaking to him through one of Demmans’s drawings. He notified her and shared the image online so that others could benefit from her art.
Demmans noted, “[God] can breathe life into doodles.”
This drawing journey is contributing to a growing interest among evangelicals in the fine arts. In past eras, few evangelicals saw art as being closely related to outreach and evangelism, but today many maintain that communicating Christian ideas and themes through art is an effective means of helping people, both believers and nonbelievers, grasp biblical teaching in a meaningful way.
The cover image features biblical text from the New American Standard Bible.