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From movies to TV shows, the Bible gets lots of attention…but often the presentation is “adapted” or “reimagined” for the screen. One unique take on the Bible is the Word for Word Bible Comic, a series of graphic novels that aims to stay as faithful as possible to the original text.

The Word for Word Bible Comic was started by illustrator Simon Amadeus Pillario, who was frustrated with the lack of accurate depictions of Biblical stories in comic book form. Too often, he found, artists took liberties with the text, omitting difficult passages or adding their own spin on the story. The comic books tell the story of the Bible without editing out or adding in a single word. The Word for Word Bible Comic also features the NIV Bible Translation.

leaflet 3 with NIV

Pillario’s attention to detail is evident. Each page is filled with panels that not only stay true to the text but also to the specific historic settings. The artwork is meticulous and highly detailed, closely drawing on historical and archaeological records. This attention to historical detail makes the visuals feel more authentic and helps even experienced students of the bible to dive deeper into the story.

One potentially controversial aspect of the project stems from its mission to stick rigidly to the text, including some adult topics and bloody scenes. With Easter around the corner our minds turn to the Gospel and the good news of the cross. We sometimes fail to consider the torture, pain and anguish that the crucifixion represents. This Bible comic series includes the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; they portray the real situation visually and are not intended for little children. This is why each cover carries an advisory age rating of 12+ (or even 15+ for the books of Judges and Joshua).

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Pillario stated in an interview “There are lots of picture Bibles for little kids, but our aim is to fill that gap when someone is too old for a kids comic bible but not likely to pick up a full plain text bible and read it either.” The comics are a great tool for those who may find the language of the Bible difficult to understand, who might benefit from visual aids when reading; those who can read but do not always choose to do so.

Aside from bloody battles and the crucifixion, the author is currently tackling another book with a different adult theme: the Song of Songs. There is an exciting crowdfunder for this which expires on Easter Sunday (9 April).

Regardless of these controversial elements, the Word for Word Bible Comic series is an impressive and unique take on the Bible. It provides a new way to engage with the stories of the Bible and is a valuable tool for those studying the text. Whether you are a fan of comic books or simply looking for a fresh way to approach the Bible, the Word for Word Bible Comic is definitely worth checking out.