January 21, 2021

The Four Holy Gospels

There are Bibles that you carry to church with you. For me, that’s a Pitt Minion Cambridge NASB. Then there are Bibles for studying. I have shelves full, ranging from the NET to a Dake to, oh, everything.

And then there is the Bible as a work of art. As far as I know, there is only one such modern Bible in the English language, The Four Holy Gospels. Designed to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Version, The Four Holy Gospels is just as the name implies: The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the English Standard Version. But what sets this apart is the artwork on most every page.

Makoto Fujimura is a world-class painter and artist who has gained a reputation for his art and for his faith. He is working with other Christian artists in the New York area to help them to use their art to proclaim the gospel. (This is the same desire I have.) And now he has undertaken an incredibly difficult task: To add artwork to Scripture. Not pictures of Jesus, but rather pictures from a heart of one who follows Jesus.

The result is a Bible you will want to display and show to all who come into your home, just as you would want to show visitors one of Fujimura’s paintings if you had one. This is also a Bible you will want to look at as opposed to simply read. You may find yourself meditating on a picture rather than a passage—and you’ll find that is an incredible way for your heart to be joined with the heart of the Creator.

Talking about art is one thing, experiencing it is another. And since I can’t have you all into my living room just now, I think watching this short video about the making of this project is the best way to get a feeling for this book.

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eeGbVXM4fY’]

The Four Holy Gospels has been claimed, and with an even more generous donation. While I can’t send you another copy, your donations are always welcome. Thanks to all of you for keeping InternetMonk going.


  1. David Clark says

    There is another modern Bible which is a work of art, The St. John’s Bible. It is a modern, hand-written, illuminated Bible. The Gospels and Acts volume is currently one of the main decorations in my family room.

    • Moonshadow says

      Thank you, David! My initial thought as well was to mention this glorious project! Everything else pales in comparison. More people need to know what’s quietly being done in MN!

  2. Beautiful book! Really intriguing paintings! But the film rather put me off it, I must confess.

    Aren’t they are overdramatising a bit with:
    “and if you step over that line (the line between worship and painting), you’re in essence (pregnant mini-pause) setting yourself up for crucifixion” (0:14-0:20)?

    The whole clip to me had that “eloquently awestruck at brilliance” tone of all the “actors talking about making-of” DVD extras. Or is that just my untrained non-English-native ear?

    Though Fujimura might really be one of those artists who puts his faith into art, and does not just imitate existing art in a Christian cast. Dorothy Sayers wrote about it; I need to find that essay again.

    • Katha,

      Having worked in the publishing and broadcasting world for going on four decades, I can tell you that what this woman says is true, especially in New York. Yes, it might have been said a little dramatically, but it is unfortunately all too true.

    • David Cornwell says

      If he is really putting his creative heart plus his faith into it, as he seems to be doing, I doubt that it will be just an imitation of existing art in a Christian cast.

      Here I thought we could get all the art we need at the local Christian book store.

  3. Denise Spencer says

    Jeff, this is so cool! Thank you for sharing. Now I’m going to send links to this to others.

  4. I have an utmost respect for anyone willing and able to take their God given talent and their God given faith and push beyond the boundaries of what some deem “respectable” or “appropriate”.

    A beautiful Bible! No doubt God can get it into homes that it may not have otherwise been found.

    Cool! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Steve Newell says

    One thing that bothers me is the title “Four Holy Gospels”. There is only one Gospel told four different ways. We have the Gospel According to Matthew, According to Mark, According to Luke and According to John.

    I know that I am being nit picky.

  6. Chad Williams says

    I was just windering, if this is to celebrate the KJV’s 400th anniversary, should the Bible be a King James Version and not an esv. Seems like a slap in the face to the KJV. Crazy post-pmoderns.

    • Josh in FW says

      The KJV was in the modern language of its day, so I don’t think it is inappropriate to honor it with a version in the modern language of our day.

  7. Dan Allison says

    I really do thank God for the internet. God is moving in breathtaking ways all over the globe, but without this little box in front of me, I would never know it. Thanks, Jeff, for bringing us this really good news.

  8. Honest to goodness, my first question was “how much?” (Don’t mock — live below the poverty line long enough, and it can happen to you too.)

    Turns out Amazon has it for US$75.60 — a bit expensive for a book (though about the same price as The Complete Calvin and Hobbes), but not for a work of art, and certainly not for a work of art in conjunction with the Gospels. I’m going to be talking about this with the wife …

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