September Newsletter and Esther launch day! 

Today is the official launch of the Book of Esther. Please help us get the words out this month! 
 

Sneak peek at the Book of Esther


This is the promotional video for The book of Esther. Please find it on YouTube and share it or go directly to it on Facebook and share it there! 

YouTube: Here
Facebook: Here   (Sharing from here on FB means the video will autoplay) 

Please tell your friends that they can preview the first chapter for free right now, by downloading the pdf here: 

The book of Esther out now! Please share this video


Please be a massive help and review Esther ★★★★★


If you'd already read the book of Esther as a Kickstarter backer or preorder beneficiary please get on to Amazon and Goodreads and pop in a quick review.

It really helps the Amazon ranking and gives other prospective customers the confidence to buy a copy. We'd prefer you to purchase the book direct from our website than at Amazon though, as Amazon get about half the cover price if you do, so buying from us directly doubles your support.

Just a star rating is fine if you're in a rush.

In the News

We are very blessed this month to have an article about the work go out in a Christian newspaper called Challenge: The Good News Paper. Click to enlarge

Events


Bristol Comic and Gaming Con Oct 19th - 20th

In October, Moose events are running a big comic con on our doorstep and we have a table they have some very impressive guest lined up click to link below to see the guest list. 

UKCCGF Guestlist for Bristol 


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London MCM Comic Con Oct 25th-27th

Hurrah, we got in! We will be there in the Comics Village. It's a long old event so come and find me for a chat!  Here's me with Brian Azzarello (creator of 100 Bullets comics and many more) at last years con. 





Prayer and NIV update. 


The use of the NIV is currently hanging in the balance! We are at a good place because we have gone through all the negotiations and made headway, then at the last, they sent us the contract to sign. One of the points of the contract says the formatting of the text must be in columns and the capitalisation and punctuation completely unchanged. As this is integral to what we do we need this point taken out. In order for that to happen, it will need to get through the NIV committee. As my wife put it, "It will take a miracle to get it through there!". So now we will know, if we get through there the Lord is with the idea to redo everything in the NIV, if it gets shut down that will be a door firmly closed on the NIV option. 

So please pray the Lord has His hand on this situation to bring the outcome he desires for this. work. 

In the news

We are very blessed this month to have an article about the work go out in a Christian newspaper called Challenge: The Good News Paper. Click to enlarge the image

August newsletter

(Apologies if you are a blog only follower, I sent this out to the email list but forgot to cross post here til now, doh)

Sneak peek at the Book of Esther

The Book of Esther is now printed and in the hands of our Kickstarter backers. You can preview and preorder your copy now at https://wordforwordbiblecomic.com/free-preview

In this image is the one side of the Apadana (Great Hall) at the Palace of Susa. The colour of the columns and decoration fits the most recent finds at the site. In this scene, the King entertains his many royal guests at a great banquet. 

apadana at susa from the Word for Word bible Comic of Esther

Endorsement

Here is a new endorsement for the Book of Esther from history expect and consultant on the project Prof. Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones which features on the back cover of the book. 

endorsement from prof lloyd llewellyn-Jones for the Book of Esther Word for word Bible Comic


Supporting the Word for Word Bible Comic

Many of you who I meet face-to-face are keen to support the project to help to keep going and reach more people. Here is a way a you can do this. 

  • Become a Patron 

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In order to make it to March 2020 without a Kickstarter, we need your help and so we'd love you consider becoming a monthly patron of the comic!

Aside from supporting us financially, you will get access to pages before anyone, be part of the creative process and be invited to Patreon exclusive video conferences where we discuss various elements of the projects and really make a difference to the project.
https://www.patreon.com/WordforWordBibleComic

PS. In the image, you can see that with the new patrons recently we've climbed another place in the "bible" search top of the pops. Even $1 patrons help us climb the ranking.

Events

  • Creation Fest


Last week we went to Creation Fest in Cornwall and met many of you there! We had a good time, despite being a little disappointed in the volume of footfall within the exhibition space. We were staying in our little caravan and so had to run home before the last day due to the extreme weather warning and high winds forecast in the area at the time. 
 

  • Commission: Together at Westpoint


From August 22nd-26th, we will be at Westpoint in Exeter. Again many of you on this mailing list will be there so please come along and have a chat and bring a friend to see the comics.

  • Comic Cons


I have just applied for London MCM comic con and am praying we get a place this year. I also really wanted to exhibit at Thought Bubble in November but at the moment I haven't made the cut so please I'm also praying I can get in there. 


Progress

Matthew Progress Aug.jpg


Now that Esther is complete I have begun work on Matthew, you'll see this chart fill up on the newsletter, I'll tell you more about it closer to the date of the Kickstarter in March.

Matthew's Gospel is going to be a monster in size. The Gospel of Mark had 153 comic pages, but Matthew will have over 220 comic pages plus info pages and covers! 

Prayer 


Please ask God to help us assemble an awesome prayer team to get good spiritual guidance for the project and how He will use it in the years to come. 

Next month is the launch of Esther please pray there is a good uptake and magazines and media outlets will help us get the word out.  
 

Were the guards at Jesus' Tomb Roman Soldiers or Temple Guards?

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If you’ve watched a film of the death and resurrection of Christ you will probably have seen Roman soldiers protecting the tomb, like the excellent film Risen which I’d highly recommend. But were the guards actually Romans?

The text doesn’t say they were Roman soldiers* and some of the details put this in question.

(* By Roman Soldiers, this includes the local auxiliary troops for the Empire not just Italian born Legionnaires)

The tomb guards are only featured in Matthew’s gospel. This is the section, with emboldened text on the relevant parts. Matthew 27:62-28:15

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

“Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

[…]

While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’  If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.

Reasons to think they may be Romans

Roman Auxiliary

Roman Auxiliary

The request for the tomb to be guarded goes to Pilate, he agrees and gives the order for it to be guarded. (27:62-66)

The tomb is sealed and it is assumed that this is an imperial seal, which would be applied by the Romans. (27:66)

They are called ‘soldiers’ (στρατιώταις) not just ‘the guard’ (κουστωδίας)



Reasons to think they may be Temple Guards

Temple Guard

Temple Guard

When Jesus is resurrected the guards report first to the chief priests and not to Pilate (28:11)

The chief priest bribe the guards to lie. While it’s possible they may have bribed Roman soldiers, bribing your own employees to lie to the Roman Governor is more likely that bribing a Roman soldier to betray his own officer to benefit the priests. Particularly if we consider the punishment that would likely be attached to such a betrayal (28:12-13)

The chief priests say they will intercede for the guards if the governor does find out. If they were Roman soldiers caught lying to their Roman officers/governor how would the priest have any sway in the matter. (28:14)

When Pilate gives the order to secure the tomb he says “You have a guard. Go, make it as secure as you can.” which is ambiguous as to whether he is saying to them they they have their own resources and have permission to get on with it, or if he is saying “you now have a guard.” (Matt 27:65)

We know from Roman sources that a roman soldier who fell asleep on duty could be sentenced to death. Considering the lie to be told is that the people they were posted to protect against came while we were asleep on duty and stole the very thing they were there to protect, it seems likely this would be the case. So receiving gold for this lie doesn’t seem very compelling, for a Roman if a death sentence would be the result. If they were Temple guards however, the Governor would be annoyed but not automatically have the authority to sentence them to death.

In other sources

Head of helmeted Roman auxiliary, AD113

Head of helmeted Roman auxiliary, AD113

In the extra-canonical Gospel of Peter, which is not to be held in the same status as the biblical text but an early historical source none the less, dated to around the early second century the guards are clearly Roman:

But Pilate gave over to them Petronius the centurion with soldiers to safeguard the sepulcher. And with these the elders and scribes came to the burial place. And having rolled a large stone, all who were there, together with the centurion and the soldiers, placed it against the door of the burial place. And they marked it with seven wax seals; and having pitched a tent there, they safeguarded it. (Apocryphal Gospel of Peter verse 31 and 32)



What do you think?

This is normally where one would find a conclusion, but it seems uncertain. I am keen to hear your thoughts on the matter. What is clear though is that the assumption that the night watch men were Roman troops is not so cut and dry. This is not a matter of deep spiritual significance, of course, but as we have to draw them in the Word for Word Bible Comic it’s a matter we need to consider.
You can probably tell that I’m leaning more towards the Temple guards interpretation but can you shade any more light on the situation or let me know what your opinion on the matter is?





How long is the journey from Babylon to Bethlehem? How old was Jesus when they got there?

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I'm trying to figure out roughly how old was Jesus when the Magi arrived? One of the key factors could be considered to be that they saw the star of his birth and then travelled to Jerusalem, where they tell Herod about it (Matt 2:7) and then went on to Bethlehem.

The Magi came from the East, it is believed from Babylon, so how long does it take to travel the distance. From Google Maps you can see the distance is about 1,150km.

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In Ezra 7:9 we learn, Ezra's entourage (probably included children and elderly people) took four months to travel from Babylon to Jerusalem.

It's likely the Magi's caravan would have taken a little less time but they may have had to delay a while to prepare for the journey, so a few months certainly gives us a good idea.

This actually ties in with the fact that Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem for at least 40 days, until the end of Mary's 'purification'. (Luke 2:22). It seems that the couple stayed on a Bethlehem for a while, surrounded, as they would have been, by Joseph's family.

The other factor is that after discovering the time the Magi saw the star, King Herod orders children under 2 to be killed in and around Bethlehem. (Matt 2:16)

So, it seems from this baby Jesus would have been between a minimum or about 4 months and a maximum of 2 years old.

To me, Herod's paranoia is likely the element making this net wider rather than the Magi's delay in coming. This and the fact that in the chronology of Jesus' birth, Herod being alive is a factor that already moves the birth date back into what we call BC years. If Herod is alive not only for the birth but 2 years later for the 'massacre of the innocents', it would push the date of Jesus' birth back another 2 years.

So in conclusion, in the comic I believe I will draw Jesus looking about 6-9 months old.

Please feel free to comment if you have any insight or wisdom on the topic. Thanks



June Newsletter

(If you’d like to get this update as a monthly email sign up here: http://eepurl.com/bzpR9f )

Sneak peek at the Book of Esther


In this image, we look down into the Apadana (great hall) of the Palace of Susa. The columns of which stand over 70 feet tall!


Watch this YouTube video below for more information about the Apadana area, although their 3D model is not in the correct colours and more developed research has discovered they were likely this terracotta/red colour.

Video Documentary on Iranian history.
(Set to play at the point where they discuss the Apadana).

New Reddit 

If you like Reddit, you can now find us there and join the community! It will include info about us but also historical references, Bible discussion and more (like the Facebook group, but with some different stuff for Reddit fans). So join us invite your friends and get commenting, Patreon backers even get a cool badge when they comment. 

https://www.reddit.com/r/WordforWordBibleComic/
 

Patreon growing...


The Patreon has continued to grow. We are now 8th highest listing on a search for "Bible" (just 7 more patrons to get to 7th) and if we had just 3 more patrons we could be listed on the first page of a search for "comic"! 

Can you join us for just $1 a month (or more)? Even with $1 you get great two pages a month of the book in development, you are credited as a patron in the book, you are invited to the quarterly video conferencing (our second one is only a few weeks away) and it helps bump up our rating! 

We'd love you consider becoming a monthly patron of the comic and help us make it to March 2020 without a Kickstarter.

https://www.patreon.com/WordforWordBibleComic

What is Patreon? (Video explaining Patreon in general) 


Events


Big Church Day Out 

BCDO was a really great event for us, short and sweet, lots of people and a great atmosphere. I even got to see Rend Collective perform in the evening. Here's a couple of images from the rare moments I got away from the stall. I met many of you there, so welcome to the newsletter!

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The Gathering CVM

At the end of this month, I'll be in a field near Swindon with a couple of thousand blokes. This is one of my favourite events and if you'd like to come you still can, you can also help steward for a very cheap ticket. I'm going to try and get in on the sword fighting and axe throwing workshops this year. 


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Progress and Prayer

The book is complete, all the extra pages are done and the colours are done too! I am just trying to get an official offer from Zondervan to use the NIV in the USA, this is the last huddle if they agree we'll go ahead with the NIV, if not we may have to carry on with the World English for a while. Please pray that they will agree very soon or if it is not the Lord will to use the NIV, then it gets shut down clearly and quickly soon too.  


Also, please continue to pray for God's provision to meet our needs financially in order to keep progressing well with this project, and that we can continue to build his Kingdom with the work. 

If you’d like to get this update as a monthly email sign up here: http://eepurl.com/bzpR9f

HAVE YOUR SAY: Cover Design for Esther

Please have a look through these few rough cover designs and tell me which you like the best and why? Any suggestions for different elements to combine, and if you dislike any elements that shouldn’t be included.

Despite the book being 2,500 years old, I don’t really want spoilers on the cover as the idea is that people who don’t know the story will be reading it. That’s why I thought having Esther as a silhouette or not a queen would be a good option.

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APRIL: Prospects, Palace, Patreon and Progress.

This month is prospects, palace, Patreon and Progress.

Prospect and Prayer 


Tomorrow (Wednesday 3rd) I have a big meeting with a large Christian charity about the prospect of partnering up on the Word for Word Bible Comic. We are not sure how it's going to go but it has great potential! Please pray that God would come alongside us there so that we can work out a way for this to be truly beneficial to both parties and ultimately allow us to combine forces to get the Bible in the hands of more and more adults, young adults and teens! 

Please continue to pray about this over the next few weeks as it will likely take a little while to work out whatever happens. 

Palace: Sneak peek at the Book of Esther

The Palace of Darius at Susa. Below you can see a couple of archaeological floor plans of the palace too. 

Palace of Darius and Xerxes at Susa shush Shushan Word for Word bible Comic

Find a whole host of images on our Pinterest board on the Palace of Susa
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/wforwbiblecomic/susa/

In this video, you can learn all about this Palace and King Ahasuerus

View the first Esther Patreon Video as an example of what you receive at the $5+ levels.

Patreon Push!

We are over half way through our 15-day Patreon promotional drive! During the week we've had Live videos, an interview, cross-promotion with other Patreon projects and more info on the benefits for patrons!

Creating a comic page: 'Facebook-Live' recording.

Blog about why your patronage is so important


Live Hangout! 

Become a patron today and join us on this Thursday (4th) at 9pm GMT for the first Patreon exclusive hangout, it will be like a conference call using Zoom.us software. 

Why even $1/month is a great help! 

Firstly, of course, every little helps. Secondly, as a patron you are able to see some of the work before anyone else and can give valuable feedback and comments, even join the live patron hangout quarterly. Thirdly, on Patreon the search function is ranked by 'number of patrons', so your backing raises our profile and will help us be discovered by other people browsing for interesting projects to support. If we can get to 55 backers we will be one of the highest Patreons on the search "Bible" and one the first results page for "Comic". I'm quite pleased that we have passed "Drunken Bible study" on the rankings already. 

If even 2% of those on our mailing list did so we could easily reach this target. 

https://www.patreon.com/WordforWordBibleComic

List of all the benefits...

Progress

Surprisingly work on drawing the pages of Esther is nearing completion! The pie chart shows all the pages including the covers, introduction and notes which should take too long to finish.  We are now working hard to get all the pages coloured quickly to have the book printed and out to Kickstarter backers asap. 

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In trying to ensure the colouring on Esther is completed on time I have brought in a third colourist to help us out on this book...

New Colourist for The Book of Esther - Dr. Chris! 

https://talkingcomicssite.wordpress.com/

https://talkingcomicssite.wordpress.com/

I met Chris McAuley (aka Dr. Chris) through a connection at Geek Syndicate (the podcast/website/geek hub) when he reviewed The Gospel of Mark comic last year. He's been developing his colourist portfolio recently and I asked him if he'd like to help us by doing a dozen or so of the pages. Here's a summary Chris wrote about some of the stuff he's doing at the moment...

"I'm a video game designer / Programmer for Digiplay, consultant for Bioware in Edmonton and Technical specialist for Utomik (a subscription-based gaming company).  I've recently flatted for Marvel (Hulkverines, Deadpool) and 2000AD(Judge Dredd and Roy of the Rovers)  I am the chief colourist for a Scottish project called The Lang Walk Hame - which is up for an arts award and I've been helping Warner Bros with Batman: Hush." 



Upcoming Events


Swansea Comic Con 6th April

This Saturday, I will have a stand at Swansea Comic Con! It's another event I haven't done before so I'm hoping it will go well and meet lots of new people. 

Portsmouth Comic Con May 4th and 5th. 

Plymouth Comic Con May 12th

Elim Leadership Conference May 14th-15th (Harrogate) 



Big Church Day Out May 25th- 26th (West Sussex)