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This generation has seen an accelerated move away from the written word towards the image as communication. It is filmmakers who are the most influential poets of our age.

This raises questions for us as communicators of the gospel message as to how we do this. Is the gospel something that needs to be communicated via words? Or can we use images? Some will point to Jesus’ identity as the Word of God as an indication that words should take primacy over images, however this depends on the traditional English translation of logos as “word” when that may not carry John’s meaning as well as some other translations (eg logos is translated as tao (literally “way” in Chinese). It also ignores that Jesus is called the image of invisible God in Colossians, so image and word both seem to be valid ways of thinking about God and the gospel.

The Bible, and Jesus’ teaching in particular is full of image-rich metaphors and illustrations. And in times before literacy was widespread, teaching was image-based. The stained glass windows that are iconic in many old churches were originally used as teaching aids for an illiterate congregation.

This article from Alister McGrath talks about how a lot of CS Lewis’ effectiveness in communicating his ideas came from not only his use of imagery but from a framework of “seeing” as understanding God.

How about you? Do you see the gospel as more “seeing the light” as “hearing the word”.

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