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 Exodus 20:4
My response comes from an article on this very topic:
"The first time I invited a particular Protestant friend to step inside an Orthodox Church, he looked around very slowly, carefully, cautiously. “It’s pretty,” he said, “but doesn’t the Bible warn against graven images?”
His reference, of course, was to the icons, painted images of Jesus Christ and His followers who, through the centuries of our history as the Church, have been portrayed for all to see. Was he right in his concern?
That particular Church, like most Orthodox Churches, was very beautiful. And the Bible, specifically the Old Testament law, does say, “Thou shalt have no graven images” (Exodus 20:4, KJV). So, the question is, do those icons, those paintings portraying Christ, His Mother, the saints, and special biblical events, come under the category of graven images?
The history of icons and of their use in the Orthodox Church is not only fascinating but instructive. They are no new thing. Nor were they invented by an apostate medieval Church. The use of representations for instruction and as aids to piety goes back to the earliest centuries of the Church, and likely they were there in some form from the very beginning. Certainly we know that even in legal-minded Israel, paintings and other artistic representations used to help the people remember spiritual truth were not at all unknown.
In both the tabernacle and the later temples there were images used, especially of the cherubim. And a recently unearthed synagogue of the last few centuries before Christ has paintings of biblical scenes on its walls."