An interesting event occurred last month without receiving much attention. An Arizona state representative was caught on video swiping Bibles in a House-members-only lounge and hiding them, presumably so that others could not read them.
A local TV reporter approached her and asked her why she had been taking the Bibles. But she walked away with no response.
She did this on more than one occasion, hiding the Scriptures under seats and in a refrigerator. An irony to this story is that the thieving legislator is supposedly an ordained Presbyterian minister – obviously with a very liberal branch of Presbyterians.
Through the centuries, to our present time, efforts have been made to slam the Bible shut, barring potential exposure. This is the book Communists won’t let their people read.
But if the thieving lawmaker knew more about our nation’s heritage, perhaps she would not want to see that book hidden.
Many of our greatest presidents, including Washington and Lincoln, were regular readers of the Bible. In a book I co-wrote with Dr. Peter Lillback, “George Washington’s Sacred Fire,” we document how our first president used biblical phraseology and allusions over and over. It is as if had you cut the man, he would have bled Scripture.
As to our 16th president, on Sept. 7, 1864, he received a gift – a beautiful copy of the Holy Bible. At last check, it is on display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.
Lincoln said upon receiving it: “In regard to this great book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to men. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong.”
While Thomas Jefferson had some privately held unorthodox views about Christianity, he nonetheless had a high view of the morality of Jesus.
Our third president said that Jesus gave humanity “the most sublime and benevolent code of morals which has been offered to man.”
But many on the left today gnash their teeth at the Bible – like the woman who hid it to prevent it from being read.
A few decades ago, two of our then-most prominent magazines, Time and Newsweek, recognized the positive impact of the Bible on our nation’s history.
For example, on the eve of the International Year of the Bible in 1983, Newsweek did a cover story on the role of the Bible and the founding of America.
Newsweek noted, “For centuries [the Bible] has exerted an unrivaled influence on American culture, politics and social life. Now historians are discovering that the Bible, perhaps even more than the Constitution, is our founding document: the source of the powerful myth of the United States as a special, sacred nation, a people called by God to establish a model society, a beacon to the world.”
A few years later, Time had an article entitled “Looking to Its Roots,” which said this: “Ours is the only country deliberately founded on a good idea. That good idea combines a commitment to man’s inalienable rights with the Calvinist belief in an ultimate moral right and sinful man’s obligation to do good. These articles of faith, embodied in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution, literally govern our lives today.”
In the mid-19th century, Robert C. Winthrop served in Congress. At one point he was the speaker of the House of Representatives. Winthrop had a distinguished ancestral background. He was a direct descendant of Rev. John Winthrop, the founder of Boston in 1630, who famously said, “For we shall be as a city upon a hill.”
In 1852, Congressman Winthrop commented on the social impact of the Scriptures. He said, “Diffuse the knowledge of the Bible, and the hungry will be fed, and the naked clothed. Diffuse the knowledge of the Bible and the stranger will be sheltered and the prisoner visited and the sick ministered unto. Diffuse the knowledge of the Bible and temperance will rest upon a surer basis than any mere private pledge or public statute. Diffuse the knowledge of the Bible and the peace of the world will be secured.”
Dr. D. James Kennedy commented on that quote: “The Bible has done more to lift mankind than any other book. And it’s very interesting to note that throughout the world, wherever the knowledge of Scripture has gone, education has been lifted, and with education also the wealth of the nations has increased, the standard of living has gone up, and wherever knowledge of the Scripture is absent, there follows poverty, crime, immorality of every kind.”
The Bible is not a book to be stashed away under sofas or hidden in refrigerators. It is a book to be widely read for the good of all.
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