Bible Day in China 2022 – Depicting the Scriptures in Chinese Painting

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SHANGHAI, China – How would biblical stories like Noah’s Ark and biblical values like love and grace be depicted in Chinese painting? How would Chinese Christian artists portray Jesus? At the 2022 Bible Day in China, Chinese Christians had a chance to appreciate art pieces and engage with the Bible through the canvases of local Christian artists and painters, bringing enrichment and inspiration to their spiritual lives.

Held on 10 to 11 December, the annual event featuring an art exhibition with the theme “Draw the Scriptures” (圣经画出来) was co-organised by China Christian Council / Three-Self Patriotic Movement (CCC/TSPM) and Shanghai Jingling Church, and held at Jingling Church.

Rev Shan Weixiang (left) at the opening of the art exhibition

At the opening ceremony of the art exhibition on 10 December, Rev Shan Weixiang, Vice President of CCC said the objective of the Bible Day 2022 was to promote the integration of Chinese art and Christian culture, and to portray biblical truth and faith through Chinese art forms.

Yu Jiade sharing his journey as a Christian artist

The organisers had collected more than 200 pieces of paintings created by Christians from across the country. A selection of over 50 pieces were exhibited in Jingling Church from December 10 to 14.

Renowned Chinese painter Yu Jiade, recognised for creating a new type of art, the Chinese Christian sacred painting, said, “I hope visitors will experience the Chinese elements and style used in the creative concept of my paintings and portrayal of the biblical characters.” He added that his works are an expression of his emotions towards God and an interpretation of his faith.

Lou Xinyu, an Art Instructor, seen here with his two paintings inspired by the Bible at the exhibition.

Lou Xinyu, an art Instructor, presented two paintings at the exhibition. One of them was entitled “Like an Eagle Rising”, inspired by Isaiah 40:31. He said, “I want to use this God-given talent to express His Word and honor Him.“ Attending Bible Day for the first time, he was inspired and grateful to be part of the community ”who worked together for the gospel through artistic efforts.”

Alongside the curated exhibition, different versions of the Bible were also on display.  Ms Wu, a first-time visitor at a Bible Day event, said, “Besides the standard size version, I rarely see other versions of the printed Bible. I think the new designs will encourage people to read the Bible and be drawn closer to God. Seeing such beautiful editions makes me want to buy them for myself or for a friend.”

Visitors at the art exhibition

At the Bible Day Sunday service at Jingling Church on 11 Dec, Rev. Shan Weixiang preached from Ephesians 2:10. He said that while the paintings are masterpieces of the artists, Christians are God’s work of art. He exhorted believers to live a life of excellence to testify that they are indeed God’s masterpieces.

Rev. Wu Wei, President of CCC, shared from Psalms 119:105 to stress the importance of the Bible for the spiritual growth of Christians. He said, “Various art forms like calligraphy, poetry recitation, music and painting, will allow more people to know Christ and to understand His Word, which can be seen as a great attempt in indigenising Christianity in the Chinese context and an apt response to God’s grace.”

Rev Geng Weizhong, President of Shanghai Christian Council exhorted the congregation with 2 Timothy 3:16. He shared that to love the Bible means to pursue and understand the Word of God and to do what it says. He added, “I hope that more people could support Bible ministries, enabling the believers in more remote areas to have Bibles.”

Christians in China are known for their love of God’s Word. United Bible Societies is thankful to be able to support the Churches in China in the printing and distribution of Bibles since 1985. To date, more than 89 million copies of Bibles have been printed and distributed for the believers in China including ethnic minority Christians. Let’s pray for the Churches in China that they will be more and more deeply rooted in God’s Word even through various Chinese art forms.

Story: Priscilla Fan & May Ang
Photos: UBS CP & CCC/TSPM
2023@UBS China Partnership