Responding to Our Creator’s Creativity
By Bryan Belknap – BSF Creative Director
When we think of Old Testament heroes of the faith, the usual names come to mind:
But none of these well-known pillars of faith was the first recorded person in the Bible to receive the Spirit of God. That honor belongs to … (drumroll) …
That’s right. Bezalel — the one so crafty with wood, jewels, and gold — was filled with God’s Spirit in Exodus 31:3 to serve as chief designer and interior decorator of the Tabernacle.
Wait, what? He received God’s Spirit to do arts and crafts and not write Scripture or lead an army into the Promised Land?!
While we might be tempted to think God has more important things to consider than color patterns and furniture arrangements, Scripture reveals He does, indeed, care deeply about artistry and aesthetics.
We recently studied God’s orderly creation of the universe in Genesis. Not only did God take great care to put everything in its proper place, He also made our incredible world beautiful. He placed a soothing blue sky over green forests and fields. He did not make vast fiery red or orange oceans, knowing those colors tend to make human beings anxious and angry. It’s doubtful a human would have thought “a vast ocean of gritty sand would be lovely,” but anyone who has watched sunlight and shadows dance across endless waves of desert sand knows our Creator is incredibly creative indeed.
Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” God uses the beauty of creation to draw people to Himself, just like the Tabernacle was artfully designed by God’s Spirit working in Bezalel to point the Israelites to Him.
Made in the image of God
Genesis 1:27 states:
“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”
While this glorious, mysterious, incredible truth definitely speaks to our intrinsic value and special place amongst all of creation, it also has practical implications. As image bearers, we share certain qualities with our creator God.
Human beings are unique in nature in that we can imagine something and then turn that thought into reality. Although we can’t speak something into existence out of nothing like God, He does still call us to use our God-given creativity to reflect His beauty on earth.
Reflections of Christ
As we prepare for our study of Matthew, we see the creativity of the Father embodied in His Son. Paul tells us in Colossians 1:15-16 “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”
And we are told in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
So how can we, as believers, follow Christ’s example in creativity?
You might be tempted to stop right here with protests of not being creative. “I don’t paint or act or sing!” But consider the creativity our Savior displayed during His ministry on earth; you might recognize some of these in your own life.
While we don’t have any examples of Jesus’ handiwork, Mark 6:3 states Jesus was known in his hometown by his trade, carpentry. (Can you imagine how expensive one of His tables would be at an auction today?!?) This meant He could look at a piece of wood, picture what He wanted the hunk of pine to become, then turn His imagination into a reality. Physical labor, whether its gardening or construction, can be an act of worship and creativity.
Jesus took deep, unseen spiritual realities and placed them within concrete stories His audience could grasp. Whether it’s the boundless love of God as presented in The Prodigal Son or a vivid picture of our hard-heartedness in the face of God’s lavish forgiveness in The Unforgiving Servant, Jesus created practical methods for presenting the spiritual. No, Jesus doesn’t expect all of His children to be writers, but He does call us to share our personal stories of being transformed by Him. And His gift for storytelling challenges us to try to put the unseen spiritual matters of faith into words a seeker might understand when we have the opportunity.
Jesus’ miracles showcase His tremendous creativity. He healed blindness with a word (Luke 18:35), a touch (Matthew 9:29), and mud made from spit (John 9:6-7). The physical actions of His miracles also made spiritual points. So, while you might not be turning water into wine, you mimic the work of our Lord when you minister to the weak, outcast, or suffering. When you point them to the spiritual reality of a loving God who sees and loves them, you are reflecting Christ’s wonderful creativity in His ministry.
So how will you respond in labor, words, or works? How might God be calling you to creatively use your unique gifts for His glory?
BSF Art Galleries
One way we at BSF Headquarters have responded is by creating BSF Galleries that connect to our studies. We are not looking to create photorealistic pictures of Scripture (because no one knows exactly what biblical events looked like). Rather, we wanted artistic expressions inspired by God’s Word. That is why we asked professional artists in the BSF family from around the world to read, meditate upon and pray over their chosen passage.
Then they worked. They created. They produced what you ultimately see displayed in the gallery.
Like in the previous Genesis study, the works in the new Matthew gallery are meant to be expressions of worship that inspire worship in others. The artwork is not meant to be viewed literally or to take the place of reading Scripture. They are one person’s perspective – potentially from a radically different cultural context than your own – sharing how God spoke to them through His Word.
Most of you share in your discussion group how God speaks to you by using words. These artists are doing the same thing through a visual medium.
Our hope is the art galleries will first and foremost glorify God. Our prayer is they will drive you to worship and to see Scripture in a fresh way that breathes new life and meaning into stories you might have read a hundred times.
The gallery also serves as a colorful example of how we are knit together into a beautiful tapestry with our brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world who see things from various cultural perspectives. Ultimately, that’s a wonderful, beautiful thing that can only be created by the Spirit of Almighty God.
BSF Creative Director
Bryan Belknap serves as Creative Director at BSF, leading a team of creative professionals designing the videos, marketing, social media, graphic design and events that serve, encourage and inspire Bible Study Fellowship’s members and leaders. Prior to joining BSF, Bryan was an award-winning screenwriter, producer and director working for companies as far-ranging as Group Publishing, LIONSGATE, Lifeway, SONY, and DreamWorks. Bryan, a second generation BSFer, and his wife Jill are both proudly watching their son continue the BSF tradition.
I enjoyed Bryan’s blog…..,…
Sometimes I close my eyes and try to imagine a scene in the Bible and have found some of the scenes God creates in my mind quiet hilarious and wondered whether that is idolatry but am glad to know it is not. I never try to see or imagine how God looks but as for scenes, in the Bible I do and find Our God and Creator most loving, caring, humorous…. the list is endless God., only evil is not a part of Him. Am looking forward to studying the book of Mathew.
I am an artist at an young age of 71. Long ago I have stumbled on a methodology while in the University of Washington and to this day
I have been researching and developing the technique. My question is how do I present the work onto your site? I am not very well verse in modern technology and need help in doing what is needed to be done. Your writeup is right on in God’s perspective on the fine artist
and I fully agree. I need to present these works can you help me? I want to do the will of God to show others His works through me.
To God the glory!
Praise God. For the glory of God, we work together and stay united to serve Him. Blessings.
Blessed by this refreshing insight .
We seldom remember that God created beauty in “nature” and the “arts” for our enjoyment of His wonderment.
It’s a must share.
Wonderful to have beautiful visuals to accompany God’s word!
Exciting and beautiful!
I planted a tree yesterday in my garden that I am told will bring me ‘Autumn Joy’ through the stunning colours that will appear in the leaves. That naked display of twigs has a way to go yet.
Autumn will prove to be a mind-blowing reality that God created for us to enjoy and to be reminded of his faithfulness.
When God is the artist I am moved by his attention to detail.
Thanks for including creativity into BSF which makes it more than just a Bible study when we understand the creativity of God.
It seems that in the same vein that God has made every human being unique in their appearance, he has also made them unique in their artistic skills. I think this is also affirmed in that he has given believers a variety of spiritual gifts to manifest the power of God. However, in the pulpit and pew version of “worship”, 99% of the artistry abilities and spiritual gifts are restrained from being manifest. Tradition has taught us God will funnel his truth and wisdom through one hired man with a Bible degree in one way communication. The scripture that is used to demand this falsely restricted practice is all twisted, when examined beyond what a clergyman will invest. This tradition has been ruling God’s people for over 500 years. It was not reformed at the Reformation. BSF is one ministry that removes these false restrictions and free’s God’s people to each prepare and teach and admonish one another as the Bible instructs. Col. 3:16. We must learn the scriptures that expose these false restrictions to the variety and artistic expanse of God’s design.
Thank you so much for sharing this piece om our Creator’s Creativity. I love how God has gifted each one of us in many different ways. I really enjoyed visiting the Gallery. Again thank you so much. I look forward to the Matthew study. Thank you BSF Family.
Loved the artwork. It was great to see the creativity that God has gifted each one with.
Such a beautiful, motivating, and inspiring post, Bryan.
It will reaffirm our entire creative focus.
Dee and George Kirazian
San Diego, CA
God is Great in His work and plan. for everything.
Thanks for your words of inspiration and motivation. Keep up the great work.
Thank you for this inspiring blog. My hobby is hybridizing flowers. I pray that the pollen I spread and seeds I plant will be glorifying to Him. I do the earthly work of tending the garden, but God packs each seed with potential and brings forth the flowers from the soil. My garden is named Glory Be Garden to remind me and visitors that the glory of creation is His. I name the flowers from bible verses and hymns hoping to inspire and further lead others to Him.
Excellent… Art brings out life from scripture and gives more understanding and connection…
Beautiful, Spirit filled artwork! Helpful for meditation too!
Thank you for your blog .
Opened up my mind about how to follow Christ’s example in creativity ,
In labors , words , works ,
Since I am not a creative person .
Thank you for this blog and the art is so inspiring. I love creating with The Lord, any kind of painting or crafting. The professional artists have so much to offer. Now maybe it is time to show that God speaks through those who love to paint, but are not ‘professionals’? God bless you and lead you.
Thank God for all your gifts! Amazing! Thanks for your insight and knowledge!
Thank you Brian for your great work..
I’m a lover of art
Beautiful art gallery….
Excited to study book of Matthew
The blog is so encouraging in these interesting times all around the world. “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God”.
God is speaking through the times and His word is true. I love The Art Gallery showing God’s creativity and beauty.
I have always struggled with God’s gifts to me as a violinist, a singer, an actress, an academic and a writer. They have always seemed so useless in a world with so much need, so much brokenness. They seem like an utter waste of
time and energy. There are the accountants, the doctors, the nurses, the missionaries, teachers, all so much more grounded, centered and useful than someone who can play a violin concerto or sing musical theatre or write a story. No one really wants a sensitive creative type. Belazel deserves another round of reading and study. Thank you for the blessing of a new perspective and another way of thinking of these creative gifts.
Through your art you can be a channel of communication of hope peace love joy … May you be blessed as you bless many
Yes. Yes. Amen
Beautiful art work. I was moved by many. Am so excited to study Matthew.
It was super amazing reading the blog.
I feel inspired and challenged to used my skills and talent from God more often in a manner that glorifies God’s glory.
Thank you so much for the wonderful piece.
LOVE the Matthew Gallery!
I enjoyed reading the reflections of Christ. His labor, words, and works was very informative. Reflecting on our Lord and Savior Jesus touched my heart the wonderful things He did. I enjoyed reading this blog.
Yes. Our God is creative and has blessed us with His creativity. I have claimed Exodus 31:3 for my children, and I can see the creativity God has blessed them with becoming tangible, for His glory. I’m looking forward to the study we begin in September. God bless all who participate.
Thank you so much for this amazing insight! I am not a “craft” person but God has gifted me with words and a desire to learn more about Him through His Word (love BSF). I so love the skill and passion of each of these artists who are able to share their faith through their God-given gift. These verses in Exodus show how God has covered every gift with His Holy Spirit and a reminder that we are all gifted to be used for His glory.
Thank you for the Blog and sharing the beautiful and thought provoking paintings which are such a tribute to our Father. I enjoy knitting and as I knit for family, friends or a charity group, I pray God’s blessings upon the person, child or baby for whom the finished knitting shall be.