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Illustrating the Bible


James Pepper is an artist who mixes the modern with the ancient.  He’s spent years writing and decorating the words of the Bible.  Without using a computer, he’s doing it the old-fashioned way.


(Locator: Dallas, Texas)

James Pepper is a modern-day scribe.

James Pepper/Bible Scribe: “This is Luke, chapter 15.  It took me about 15 days to draw this.”

He’s spent nearly two decades meticulously hand-writing and illustrating the Bible, just the way scribes did before printing presses were invented.

James Pepper/Bible Scribe: “It’s just something that I do.  It’s who I am.”

It’s called an illuminated Bible, with some modern artistic touches like the space shuttle Columbia and the World Trade Center, where four of his friends died.

James Pepper/Bible Scribe: “I use metals on the page to make the light reflect.  And I burnish them with a piece of metal to make them all nice and shiny.”

Pepper writes at his home and in a special place set aside at his church, Highland Park United Methodist in Dallas.  Only a handful of these types of Bibles have been made in hundreds of years.

The Rev. William Stephenson/Highland Park United Methodist Church: “It’s pretty amazing that he has the persistence and the patience to do this kind of detail work.  He has to have a great talent.”

Pepper started his faith journey when he left architectural school to go back home and care for his ailing grandmother.  With time on his hands, he taught himself calligraphy and started writing the New Testament.

James Pepper/Bible Scribe: “I want to bring people to God, by making something very beautiful to inspire them.”

Pepper spends about three hours a day working on his special Bible.  He’s written about 1,500 pages so far…and says finishing will take years.

James Pepper/Bible Scribe: “It’s just something that I must do.  And I will continue to do this for the rest of my life.”


James Pepper would like to find a publisher for the Pepper Bible.  And he wants some of the proceeds to go toward rebuilding churches damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

You can learn more about his project by clicking here.

Also see: Producing Bible by hand is labor of love, faith for Dallas man.

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