February 9, 2004
LifeWay Adds 'Passion' to
Online Resources- Sara Horn, Baptist Press
February 9, 2004
In presenting information we often make the assumption that the hearer percieives the information in the same way and with the same meaning that we do. This is especially true in regard to verbal information in a postmodern age. I want to be careful with what I am about to say. Words do not have meanings per se- but they do have power to create meaning in the mind of the hearer. They are abstract representations of concrete realities.
We often see our words fail to produce the desired change, because they are not made alive by the Spirit of Truth who speaks to human hearts through a myriad of ways to illumine the mind. God's word never returns void.
Some communicators focus on the fact that Jesus used metaphors in his parabolic teaching to the masses and to the disciples. I would add that a panoply of OTHER methodologies are used by Biblical writers under the inspoiration of the Spirit as well- letter writing, rhetoric and argumentation by Paul, poetry by the prophets, object lessons, preaching, hymns, historical narrative, statistics, visions, signs and wonders, and typological imagery. But the primary thing that ties these to gether are words.
If we place too much emphasis on words alone we may become guilty of practicing what Webster defines as "verbalism" or "an empty form of words". Words are easily produces, reproduces, stored and transferred but they can also be overused. Words which are filled with meaning for one person may be devoid of meaning for another. As a sage once said, "A person must carry meaning to a word before he can carry meaning from that word."
The ease of reproduction of the printed word that was facilitated by the printing press has seen reproduction of images take a backseat as more costly and less easily reproduced. The history of the book attests to that. Until the advent of photographic processes, images were handmade, so to speak. Engravings of images for print were the product of skilled craftsmen.
Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye,The LORD has made both of them.
To balance this and to give context for the use of visuals it must also be quoted:"As it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.'" -- 1 Corinthians 2:9
Scripture is replete with examples of visual examples used to teach spiritual truth. I will cite a few which will suffice to make this point.
The use of visuals in education begins with our Creator...
God's sign of promise to Noah
Genesis 9: 13I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.
14"It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud,
15and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16"When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth."
The Stars as an image to Abraham elicited faith
Genesis 15: 5And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, " So shall your descendants be."
6 Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.
The Tabernacle as a visual reminder to Israel
2a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.
5who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, "SEE," He says, "THAT YOU MAKE all things ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN WHICH WAS SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN."
The Blood of the Passover lamb as a visual reminder:
Exodus 12:17 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
Joshua's Stones of Remembrance
23 For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God."
Jesus repeatedly used images to convey spiritual object lessons:
Birds Matthew 6:26
"Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
Mark 9:36And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
37Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
Bread- John 6:13
13Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.
14Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus...
John 15:5- Vine and branches
After leaving the upper room the disciples would have passed through an ancient site where a vine representing Israels would have been in clear view…
5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
God's prophets used visual imagery to communicate their prophetic messages. In 1 Kings Ahijah tor his robe into 12 pieces and sent them to Jereboam. In Ezekiel 4:1-3 Ezekiel made a working model representing Jerusalem under seige.
Jeremiah 27: 2 Thus saith the LORD to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck,
3 And send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah...
The Naked prophet's display
To quote one of my former teachers, Gene Getz: "The theory and philosophy of visual education are rooted and grounded in the Word of God."
The first stage of visual learning is differentiation (Couch, Caropreso & Miller, 1994). Differentiation is the critical or analytical component of decoding during which relevant information is identified or recognized and classified into categories. This information becomes the basis for the "intended message" or the literal message that eventually stimulates the schema.
Interpretation involves synthesizing the analyzed factual or realistic information, connecting the new or unfamiliar information with existing knowledge, and then making inferences and judgments about the new and newly integrated information." (Couch, Caropreso, & Miller, 1994, p.279). Moreover, creativity is an important aspect of interpretation. It is creativity that helps enhance understanding the meaning of the visual (Couch, Caropreso, & Miller, 1994).
For knowledge acquisition purposes, visuals can be defined into 5 categories: (Braden, 1994, p. 195):
Artists for centuries have moved the message of scripture from oral to icaon, mosaic, stained glass, polychrome sculpture, painting and fresco and illuminated texts. Premodern art focussed on collaborative engagement of multiple parties to critique joint decision making.
Communicating God's Word to a post literate society has been a concern of the American Bible Society translators for some time. ABS uses the strategy of functional equivalency to transfer the meaning of a source text into a natural, close equivalent within the language of a target text. It will be interesting to see how such translation methodologies transfer into multimedia forms of communication in the digital age!
Print translations focus on the textual:
And the contextual:
More to Come...
From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/