Graven Images - A Biblical Perspective

Mark Fitzpatrick

What does Scripture say about graven images?

1. What are we told not to do?

a] We are not to make graven images.

Exodus 20:4
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Leviticus 26:1
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.

Deut. 5:8
Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:

b] We are not to set up a graven image.

Leviticus 26:1
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.

c] We are not to bow down to them.

Leviticus 26:1
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the Lord your God.

d] We are not to desire them.

Deut. 7:25
The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.


2. What are we told to do


a] We are to take heed, lest we forget the Covenant.

Deut. 4:23
Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.

b] We are to destroy them.

Deut. 7:5
But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.

Deut. 7:25
The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.

Deut. 12:3
And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.

2 Chron. 34:7
And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.

c] We are to consider them unclean.

Isaiah 30:22
Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.


3. What effect do idol’s have on us.


a ] They corrupt.


Deut. 4:16
Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,

Deut. 4:25
When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God, to provoke him to anger:

b] They are a snare.

Deut. 7:25
The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God.

c] They confound.

Psalm 97:7
Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.


d ] They are a cause of pride.

Psalm 97:7
Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.


4. Of what benefit are they.

a] They are of no profit.

Isaiah 44:9-10
They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. [10] Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing?

b] They cannot save.

Isaiah 45:20
Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.


c ] There is no life in them.

Jeremiah 10:14
Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.

Jeremiah 51:17
Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.

d] They promote falsehood rather than truth.

Jeremiah 10:14
Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.

Jeremiah 51:17
Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.

Habakkuk 2:18
What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?

e] They cannot speak.

Habakkuk 2:18
What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols?