The Impact of the Bible
If you have been to Washington, D.C., you probably know about the many monuments, museums, and memorials there. The Washington Monument is a tall, pointy obelisk designed to help us remember George Washington. Memorials such as the World War 2 and the Vietnam Memorials were built to remind us of the sacrifice of United States soldiers during those wars. These buildings and shrines are tributes to people and events that had a major impact on history, and especially on the United States.
In 2017, a new museum opened in Washington, D.C. It was built to show what an awesome, worldwide impact the Bible has made. The museum does a great job of helping visitors understand that the Bible has a global impact on every important part of life. The Bible has been influential on the laws, lives, and people of hundreds of nations throughout history. In a brief issue of Discovery, there is no way to show all the ways God’s Word has made a difference in the world. We can, however, recognize some areas of life and history that bear an unmistakable imprint of Bible teaching.
Vincent van Gogh was a very famous Dutch artist who lived in the 1880s. Right now in Nashville, Tennessee there is a huge Immersive Van Gogh exhibit that is modeled after one that was presented in Paris. Van Gogh once wrote these words to a relative:
“I cannot tell you how much I sometimes long for the Bible. I read it daily, but I would really like to know it by heart and to see life in the light of the phrase, ‘Your word is a light for my path and a lamp to my feet.’”
Michelangelo stands as one of the most famous artists of all time. He painted and carved many of the leading works of art in history. His work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel has been viewed by millions of people. Many of the scenes he painted in the chapel are events from the Bible such as the Creation of Adam and the story of David and Goliath.
Brilliant men and women of science have used the teachings of the Bible as a place to start their study of the physical Universe.
German scientist Johannes Kepler lived from 1571 to 1630. He is most well-known for the laws he discovered regarding the motion of the planets. He once stated:
“Those laws [of nature] are within the grasp of the human mind; God wanted us to recognize them by creating us after his own image so that we could share in his own thoughts.”
Notice that Kepler references the Creation story in Genesis of humans being created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).
The scientific world recognizes Isaac Newton as one of the greatest minds to have ever lived. He has an entire branch of physics named after him. Furthermore, he was instrumental in coming up with the mathematical system we call Calculus. He once said,
“We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatever.”
It might come as a surprise to you that the Bible has even impacted the way buildings are built. Victor Hugo authored two of the most famous novels ever written: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Les Miserables. One has been adapted to be a long-running Broadway play and major movie. The other was adapted into an animated movie. In order to write The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Hugo did extensive research on the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. He stated:
“Humankind has two books, two registers, two testaments: architecture and printing; the Bible of stone and the Bible of paper.”
Many of the most famous buildings and cathedrals in the world are built in the shape of a cross to remind those who visit of the cross of Christ from the gospel accounts found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
United States History
Entire books could be written about how the Founding Fathers of the United States used the Bible to formulate laws and write documents such as the United States Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. When we look at the letters, speeches, and written documents of the Founders, we find that these leaders quoted the Bible more than any other book. The Founders believed the Bible to be so important that the Continental Congress in 1777 said the “use of the Bible is so universal, and its importance so great” that the U.S. government should order 20,000 copies. Patrick Henry is the Founder who is most famous for his statement, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” He was one of the early governors of Virginia. Henry said,
“The Bible is worth all the other books which have ever been printed.”
Not only did the original Founding Fathers look to the Bible to shape the United States, many of the leaders after them were greatly influenced by it as well.
the 28th U.S. President said:
“No study is more important to the child than the study of the Bible and the truths which it teaches.”
the 32nd President of the U.S., stated:
“We cannot read the history of our rise and development as a Nation, without reckoning with the place the Bible has occupied in shaping the advances of the Republic.”
the 40th U.S. President
from 1981-1989, declared:
“Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.”
So Much More
We could continue by noting how many of the best works of music such as Handel’s Messiah were based on the Bible. Even Elvis Presley said,
“I believe in the Bible. I believe that all good things come from God… I don’t believe I’d sing the way I do if God hadn’t wanted me to.”
It would be easy to show that human rights advocates such as Desmond Tutu from South Africa looked to the Bible for insight. He declared,
“There’s nothing more radical, nothing more revolutionary, nothing more subversive against injustice and oppression than the Bible.”
Most importantly for you, however, is the impact that you allow the Bible to have on your life. In the book of Ezra, we read one of the most important statements ever written about how a person should treat the Bible. Ezra 7:10 says,
“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel.”
We all should try to be like Ezra: To work hard to know God’s Word, to do what it says, and to teach others so they can know God as well.
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