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“I read my Bible to know what people ought to do, and my newspaper to know what they are doing.” (Cardinal John Henry Newman)


The Washington Post yesterday included an article entitled “A New Testament”, subtitled “Coming to the Mall in 2017: God”—reporting that “the Good Book is coming to town in a big way” in the form of the Museum of the Bible. The proximity of the museum to the Smithsonian and the Capitol has some people wondering how it will fit in among the institutions lining the Mall.


At the center of the Museum of the Bible will be fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a Gilgamesh tablet, Elvis Presley’s Bible, and about 850 manuscripts. A third of the material will be related to Judaism and the Old Testament, including torahs that survived the Spanish inquisition and the Nazis. The Israeli Antiquities Authority has agreed to include permanent exhibits of objects from their collection of 2 million artifacts.


Considering that it is backed by the owners of Hobby Lobby, some see it as “an oversize piece of evangelical claptrap.” Museum overseer David Trobisch will try to convince critics that it won’t be an evangelical propaganda machine, saying visitors will be encouraged to engage with the Bible and choose their own interpretation of the Word.


Though Christians love the Bible, we do not worship it. Bibliolatry distorts the heartbeat of Christianity—Jesus Christ, not Scripture, is our Savior. To the Pharisees, who memorized the Old Testament, Jesus addressed these words:  “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” [John 5:39 NLT]  Dactylology calls the Bible “The Jesus Book”.


Though believers do not worship the Bible, we submit our lives to its Author. It is clear from a careful reading of the Bible that practical application of its principles to “the common light of day” is imperative. To neglect obedience is hypocrisy—preaching one way, living another. Jesus severely condemned the disconnect between creed and conduct as He observed it in prominent religious leaders [Matthew 23:23-26]. To be a sincere follower of Christ demands that we live by the Book.


The Book from Heaven gives us a map for the maze of down-to-earth living [Psalm 119:105], a source of comfort for the troubled soul [Psalm 94:19], an ethical compass for those who yearn to live purely [Psalm 119:11], and a guarantee of eternal salvation [John 3:16].  


Artifacts showcased in an imposing structure of steel and glass will probably not convince crowds on the Mall of the Bible’s timeless truths. The Spirit of Christ showcased in lives transformed by surrender to His sovereignty have a better chance of doing that.  


“The Bible rose to the place it now occupies because it deserved to rise to that place, and not because God sent anybody with a box of tricks to prove its divine authority.” (Bruce Barton, The Man and The Book Nobody Knows)


“The Bible grows more beautiful, as we grow in our understanding of it.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)


“There is a Book worth all other books which were ever printed.” (Patrick Henry)


“A single line in the Bible has consoled me more than all the books I ever read besides.” (Immanuel Kant)


“Read this book for what on reason you can accept and take the rest on faith, and you will live and die a better man.” (Abraham Lincoln)


“Sin will keep you from this Book. This Book will keep you from sin.” (Dwight L. Moody)


“We search the world for truth; we cull / The good, the pure, the beautiful, / From all old flower fields of the soul; /And, weary seekers of the best, / We come back laden from our quest, / To find that all the sages said / Is in the Book our mothers read.” (John Greenleaf Whittier)

Johnny R. Almond

Author, Gentle Whispers from Eternity

Interim Pastor, Nomini Baptist Church; Montross, Virginia


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